Zoup! – Portage
Friday’s are quickly becoming a day both L and I look forward to. A few weeks ago, I got the idea to check out Skyzone’s Toddler Time. From 10-noon on Tuesday and Friday’s, Skyzone is only open to kids under 5. L loves it. She asks me pretty much every day when we’re going back to the “jump place.”
Last Friday, we went and jumped for about an hour. L was ready to go, so we grabbed an Icee from the concession stand but that wasn’t going to be enough for lunch for her let alone me.
I texted J that L and I were going to pick up lunch and sent her a menu for the new Zoup! restaurant in Portage. Within a couple of minutes, I had her order, so L and I hopped back in my truck and headed for Portage Crossings.
Kalamazoo has been lacking a good soup place since Soup’R Heros went out of business a few years ago. It’s actually kind of amazing how many times J has said to me she wanted soup and the only place to really go to get something quick is Panera.
The story of Zoup begins in the late 90’s on the east side of the state. About 17 years later, there are 75+ stores in 18 states and one Canadian province.
There are several Zoups in the Grand Rapids area, but up until December, the Kalamazoo area was being left out. The first Zoup opened in the Portage Crossings Shopping Center on South Westnedge across from the Crossroads Mall in the middle of December….and that opening was very quiet. If you’re familiar with the area, the restaurant is in the same shopping center as Target and it’s really not visible from Westnedge. I had no idea that a Zoup had opened up until last month when I needed to make a stop at the nearby UPS Store. If it hadn’t been for that task, I probably still wouldn’t know there was a Zoup there.
I’ve only eaten at Zoup once before. Last summer, I stopped at the Cascade Road store near I-94 in Grand Rapids. It was the middle of summer so I didn’t order any soup, but I did..in a move totally unlike me, order a salad and half a sandwich.
The soup selection changes pretty often, so you always need to check the website before getting your heart set on a certain soup, but there’s always a selection of a dozen or so soups, Greenz!, and Sandwichz!
I ordered for L first because I had her order right in front of me on the phone. She wanted a cup of Chicken Pot Pie soup and half of a Pesto 3-Cheese Sandwich. The soup, which is filled right to the top of the cup, is a creamy chicken soup mixed with vegetables and and garnished with crumbled pie crust. The sandwich is pepper jack, mild cheddar, and provolone cheeses with tomatoes, and pesto served on country fresh bread. J said the soup was delicious and is really excited about a soup place in town. She’s much more into soup as a meal than I am. As for the sandwich, she said it was alright, but the sandwiches on their own aren’t enough to bring her back. There more of an accompaniment to the soup.
My order was a cup of Steakhouse Chile and a whole Roasted Beef sandwich. This fairly typical chili was a mix of veggies, diced steak and black beans. As with most restaurant chili’s, there were more beans than meat, but it was still very hearty and very delicious. The sandwich was sliced roast beef, romaine, tomato, and horseradish mayo on country fresh bread. Like J, I thought the sandwich was ok, but there was nothing really special about it. It was a cold meat sandwich on delicious bread. I would order it again, but probably wouldn’t go out of my way just to get a sandwich from there.
For L, we ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. They do kids meals where she could have also gotten a small thing of soup, but she’s not eating soup yet, so I figured that would have just been a waste. I got the sandwich by itself which worked out fine as L only ate half of it anyway. Some days she just gets distracted and doesn’t eat. This was one of those days. I finished off the second half of her sandwich after she walked away.
The bill was just under $30 and that didn’t include drinks for any of us since we did carry out. I’m not really sure how this restaurant has sort of snuck into the very heavily trafficked Portage commercial area, but they are a welcome addition. They’re offering is just enough different from some of their competitors and who doesn’t want a delicious soup every now and then?