Update: This Zoup location has closed.
There’s nothing better to warm you up on a cold fall day than a bowl of soup. Piping hot and enticing, it is a bowl of heaven to those of us who are in need of nourishment and comfort. Caressing aromas fill up the air, great flavor expectations fuel up the appetites – all in all, it is the perfect setting for gourmands and gourmets alike. I am not a fan of soup in the summer, but during the cold season, soup becomes my usual go-to-lunch and dinner option. Give me a delicious soup and a glass of milk, and they’ll keep me warm and thankful forever 🙂
As a big fan of fall soup flavors, I couldn’t be happier when I was contacted by Zoup! recently to taste some of their soups and bread boules and to host a giveaway. Zoup! is a chain of fast-casual eateries that offers twelve fresh soups daily as well as salads and sandwiches. Customer top soup picks include chicken potpie, lobster bisque and vegetarian split pea, but you can find your own favorite by sampling the soups before you order. You can have your soup served in a bowl or in a bread boule – as a matter of fact, Zoup! is renowned for their sourdough boules, which are brushed with extra virgin olive oil, topped with savory seasonings, and then toasted. To celebrate the arrival of the cold season, Zoup! is offering three special bread boules: Italian herb, olive oil & sea salt and parmesan garlic.
My friend Marina and I visited the Zoup! restaurant on Washington & Wells (one of the two Zoup! locations in downtown Chicago) on a chilly October afternoon. The light was poor and the weather was unfriendly outside, but once we stepped inside the restaurant, we felt at ease. The space was well compartmentalized and the cosy ambiance was charming.
A quick look at the menu and I realized things were getting serious: I was about to choose from among 12 soup varieties! Good range of options indeed:
These are just some of the soups they had available for us to try that day:
With so many options on the table, I thought it was great that Zoup! gave customers the chance to sample the soups before committing to any one in particular. After sampling several, I settled for the overstuffed bell pepper variety, and had it served in an Italian herb bread boule.
This soup was exactly as I had expected: loaded with bell peppers (one of my favorite veggies ever), carrots and celery, chock-full of ground meat, it provided spoonful after spoonful of consistently delicious and hearty goodness. As for the bread boule, the Italian herb seasoning was spot on – after all, I think you can never have enough oregano on your bread 😉
One look at this soup is all it takes to realize you’re in for a treat. Mmmmmmmm…
Soup #2 I sampled was Zoup!’s famous lobster bisque, served in a parmesan garlic bread boule. Meanwhile, my friend opted for macaroni&cheese served in an olive oil & sea salt boule.
Here’s manager Mariana bringing the dishes to our table:
Right off the bat, I fell in love with the cheesy richness of the parmesan garlic bread boule, whose decadent look made me look forward to the upcoming tasting experience:
Mellow, silky yet light like a dream, the bisque overflowed with big chunks of buttery lobster, which had good texture and was seasoned to perfection. As for the boule, it was gloriously thick, moist and satisfying, with just the right hint of garlicky flavor. It is advisable not to stay away from carbs during the cold season, and that’s exactly what I did: I devoured this bread slowly but surely, and my energy level picked up instantly – just in time to face the cold late afternoon outside.
It was raining heavily when my friend and I left Zoup!, and franchise owner Jim and manager Mariana kindly offered to host us for awhile longer. We really appreciated their gesture, but had to say goodbye regardless. With our bellies full of hearty food and our noses full of soup and bread aromas, we felt ready to conquer the unwavering city weather. We came, we sampled, we devoured – and we will definitely return to this location. After all, soup season has just started 😉
Zoup! is offering Chicago Loves Panini readers the chance to win one of five $25 Zoup! gift cards to try out delicious soups, bread boules and sandwiches this fall.
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and answer the following question: What’s your favorite soup?
Giveaway open to US residents only 18 years of age or older. One entry per person. Deadline for entries is 6PM central time on November 11, 2017. Five winners will be chosen on or around November 12, 2017 by using a random number generator and will have 72 hours to respond to the winner notification email. I reserve the right to pick alternative winners if the original winners do not contact me 72 hours after receipt of winner notification email.
*Disclaimer: Zoup! provided a complimentary tasting of their products to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.