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These Delaware Restaurants Do Soup Season Right

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It’s soup season, and these Delaware eateries are serving up the warming comfort food in cups, bowls and takeout containers.

Soup is part of nearly every cuisine around the world, inspiring cookbooks, fast-food restaurants and even famous Seinfeld characters (“No soup for you!”). Fortunately, there is no shortage of varieties in Delaware. Here, we dish on a few favorites to slurp up this season.

At Pizza by Elizabeths in Greenville, the cream of tomato soup is garnished with cream and croutons, and served with hot breadsticks fresh from the oven. Courtesy of Pizza by Elizabeths.

Cups of comfort

“Oh, boy, do I love soup season!” says Tom Alexander, owner of Lettie’s Kitchen in Hockessin. “Soups are my favorite thing to make!” Lettie’s is stocking up on ham and bean, turkey and wild rice, and split pea, “to name a few,” Alexander promises. Buy them by the quart, and while you’re there, try the fried chicken.

1318 Old Lancaster Pike, Hockessin; 239-7816; lettieskitchen.com

At Pizza by Elizabeths, cream of tomato is the culinary equivalent of a warm embrace. “I just had this today at lunch, and it was a comfort experience—smooth and velvety,” says loyal customer Sandi Waltz of Greenville. Secret ingredients include cloves and cayenne, an addictive combo. Owner Betsy Leroy says the restaurant goes through 15 gallons a day in the colder seasons.

3801 Kennett Pike, Wilmington; 654-4478; pizzabyelizabeths.com

Down in Lewes, Big Oyster Brewery serves tomato soup with gooey grilled cheese squares. Add a brew for a satisfying lunch.

1007 Kings Highway, Lewes; 644-2621; bigoysterbrewery.com

Meanwhile, matzo ball soup will cure what ails you. Warren Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld’s Delicatessen beefs up the recipe with carrots and chunks of chicken. He adds dill when the soup is still steaming. “The smell, color and flavor make it the secret ingredient,” he says. The Rehoboth location will go through five dozen matzo balls and 20 gallons of chicken soup on a busy day.

18949 Coastal Highway, Unit 101, Rehoboth Beach; 645-1700; crosenfeldsjewishdeli.com

Rosenfeld’s and Big Fish now share a market space in North Wilmington so New Castle residents can get their fix.

1843 Marsh Road, Wilmington; 375-6091; rosenfeldsbigfish.com/northwilmington

matzo ball soup

Who says comfort food has to be unhealthy? According to Warren Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld’s Delicatessen in Rehoboth Beach, matzo ball soup will cure what ails you—and warm you up this fall and winter. Adobe Stock.

Seasonal Soups

Butternut squash is a ubiquitous soup at this time of year. At Chelsea Tavern, the vegetarian bisque receives a splash of beer and a handful of pepitas.

821 N. Market St., Wilmington; 482-3333; chelseatavern.com

Big Fish Grill’s pumpkin crab bisque hit the restaurants in September, and you can find it now through January. “It’s so amazing I buy containers and freeze them,” says Jackie Blue of Rehoboth Beach. bigfishrestaurantgroup.com

Delmarva Delights

Meanwhile, the Back Burner’s velvety pumpkin-mushroom soup is on the menu all year. Recipes that produce similar flavors feature curry, honey, a dash of nutmeg and heavy cream.

425 Hockessin Corner, Hockessin; 239-2314; backburner.com

Creamy mushroom soup sans the gourd is a staple in northern Delaware. Credit the proximity to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Indeed, Longwood Gardens is renowned for its herby version, which you can buy in the café or the more formal 1906 restaurant.

1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square; 610-388-5290; longwoodgardens.org

Delawareans also love crab, and the Maryland crab soup at Woody’s Dewey Beach is often a prelude to its famous crab cakes. Owner and Baltimore native Jimmy O’Conor starts with a crab paste.

1904 Coastal Highway, Dewey Beach; 260-9945; deweybeachbar.com

Some like crabmeat with cream. At The Cultured Pearl in Rehoboth Beach, crab soup with Old Bay shares the menu with sushi. “It is one of our best sellers, and it has been on the menu since we opened,” says owner Susan Wood. “We won’t give out the recipe, though we are asked all the time.” Hint: It’s made to order.

301 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 227-8493; culturedpearl.us

Seafood isn’t just for summer. At Bluecoast Seafood Grill in Bethany, oyster stew is a cold-weather staple. Courtesy of Bluecoast Seafood Grill.

Oyster stew is also a hit at Bluecoast Seafood Grill in Bethany Beach, part of SoDel Concepts. The company’s three Matt Fish Camp locations are known for an equally rich white clam chowder. Sodelconcepts.com

Some establishments’ soups are so loved that you can buy flights. Dorcea in Wilmington is an example. “It’s hugely popular,” says owner Anthony Bomba of the trio. “It accounts for about a third of all our soup sales.” Most people include the restaurant’s vegetarian Jamaican carrot soup, a special that impressed guests to the point that it’s now a staple.

1314 Washington St., Wilmington; 691-7447; dorcea.com

Ethnic Influences

Global cuisines often include a famous soup. At Mrs. Robino’s, for instance, pasta fagioli pairs beans and pasta in a tasty tomato broth.

520 N. Union St., Wilmington; 652-9223; mrsrobinos.com

The Little Italy eatery makes its Italian wedding soup with spinach. Taverna, located in Newark and North Wilmington, uses escarole for the hearty potage, which includes tiny meatballs and Parmesan. tavernapdg.com

Thailand has no shortage of soups, including tom kha, a coconut broth with bell peppers, onions, carrots and mushrooms that’s available at Ubon Thai Kitchen & Bar on the Wilmington Riverfront.

Owner Wit Milburn also has Kapow Kitchen, a food truck and restaurant in Booths Corner Market. The bestselling soup is Thai noodle pho, a chicken broth with scallions, cilantro, bean sprouts and rice noodles. “We like to use the fat ho fun rice noodles versus thin rice noodles,” Milburn explains.

936 Justison St., Wilmington; 656-1706; ubonthaicuisine.com; 1362 Naamans Creek Road, Booths Corner Farmers Market Lower Level, Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania; 484-480-8442; kapowkitchen.com

Pho originated in Vietnam, where it’s often made with beef and a beef broth. You can also order it with shrimp or tofu at Minh’s Bistro.

18949 Coastal Highway #103, Rehoboth Beach; 703-6626; minhsbistro.com

Ramen is more of a noodle dish than a soup, but you’ll need a spoon at some point—unless you want to bring the bowl to your mouth. Miyagi Ramen Bar in Rehoboth Beach has several flavors, including ones with Thai and Korean (curry and bulgogi) influences.

Safeway Shopping Complex, 19266 Coastal Highway #6, Rehoboth Beach; 567-2385; miyagiramenbar.com

 

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To get a taste of the popular Japanese comfort food in Upstate Delaware, try Ramen Kumamoto in Newark. Their ramen broth is simmered over a two-day period, giving it a complex flavor profile that originated from the Kumamoto region of Japan, and they offer a variety of flavors and toppings to complement it.

165 East Main Street, Newark; 733-0888; ramenkumamoto.com

Make a Meal of It

It’s debatable as to whether gumbo is a soup—the amount of rice and the thickness of the roux are deciding factors. At Cajun Kate’s, Don Applebaum uses recipes developed from days working at Nola, a New Orleans restaurant. His roux—made with oil and flour—takes more than an hour to make, and he must stir the entire time or it will burn. On any given day, Applebaum might add brisket, greens, roast pork, chicken, shrimp or alligator.

722 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington; 416-5108; cajunkates.com
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At Po’ Boys Creole Restaurant, the gumbo has a lighter roux, chicken and andouille sausage.

900 Palmer St., Milton; 684-0890; poboyscreole.com

Who does it best? Pack your spoon and take a slurp test. There’s plenty of soup to go around.

Related: 23 Delaware Restaurants With Outdoor Dining in the Fall

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