Old Man Winter needs some warm, rosy cheeks. These five local soup emporiums can help make that happen.

If you’re looking to try a new food trend or a beloved Milwaukee favorite at a new establishment, we’ve got you covered. We provide the recs, you decide the rankings. Next time someone says “I wonder where to get…” direct them to Milwaukee Magazine.

Soup Brothers

This place has made fire-roasted red pepper bisque such a (dynamite) staple, it’s well-nigh impossible to look at anything else. But you should.

Scan the chalkboard menu for the rich, cheesy cheddar-Bermuda onion, the wild rice and duck and, on occasion, the belly-soothing, stewy yet creamy pork-based Mario’s Barrio.

Bowls are served with a hearty scoop of rice and (often) topped with crème fraîche. And the Bros’ warm, crusty sourdough bread? So good.

Two soup sizes, $5-$8.

Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri-Sat 11a.m.-3 p.m.

209 W. Florida St.


Amaranth Bakery

Flavors globe-trot, with a couple offered each day. Examples: Turkish lentil, borscht, shrimp vegetable curry and a thick, creamy peanut sweet potato. And a super potato-kale with Italian sausage in a silky-rich broth.

Three sizes, $4.90- $12.90.

Tues-Sat 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

3329 W. Lisbon Ave.


The Soup Otzie’s

There’s a retro diner vibe here. The old L-shaped lunch counter is a comfy spot to rub elbows with the Mom’s-pot-roast-loving crowd. That soup is one of a few offered daily.

Be sure to eyeball the daily specials board: Creamy corn chipotle, beef barley and especially Thai curry are worthy ones.

$3.95 and up.

Mon-Thurs 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

3950 S. Howell Ave.


Benji’s Deli

This classic Jewish diner excels at timeless, grandma soups, and by that I mean matzo ball and sweet-sour cabbage borscht. The “mish mosh” is starch heaven: chicken broth with matzo ball, noodles, rice and kreplach (meat-filled dumplings).

Three sizes, $4.25-$8.75.

Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat-Sun 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

4156 N. Oakland Ave.; 8683 N. Port Washington Rd, Fox Point.


The Soup House

Get here by noon as best-sellers like buffalo chicken disappear fast. Behind the register is a table topped with soup warmers. Six types are offered each day, from chicken soup to seafood gumbo.

Choose jasmine rice or noodles for a base and co-owner Ruby Erickson ladles the goodness on top. Tikka masala, a creamy tomato-based curry, is delish.

Three sizes, $6-$8. Cash only!

Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

324 E. Michigan St.


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The man behind the bisque

Richard Regner

When Soup Brothers brought Walker’s Point to a rolling boil back in 1998, that meant long lines and the colorful personality of owner Richard Regner. And the soups were entirely soul-satisfying.

Regner credits his red pepper bisque, a two-decade constant. “We are the House of Bisque,” as he puts it. Ladling out hearty bowls and wedges of warm, poppyseeded sourdough is one of Regner’s talents. Building a dining area decorated with objects arty or obsolete is another.

Next to the counter, where Regner commands a cash register and mobile payment system (the dark age of cash-only is over!), is a shelving unit displaying an iPod “graveyard.” Apple technology is an easy way to engage Regner in conversation. So is music. The soup shack’s playlist swings from flamenco to ragtime to a recording of a space shuttle landing. Here, the humble soup steps out of the shadows.


“The Last Drop” appears in the February 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop or find the issue on newsstands, starting Jan. 28.

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