This cute cafe uses locally sourced ingredients for soups such as this one, made with red pepper, carrot, and paprika. Photographs by Kyle Gustafson and Rivka Friedman.
After three years running a soup delivery service called Soupergirl, Sara Polon and her mother Marilyn have settled into a brick-and-mortar store with the same name. The airy eatery across from the Takoma Park Metro serves whole-grain-based salads, hot and cold soups, and other health-conscious fare.
For those not familiar with the duo, here’s a little background: After reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Sara, a former comedian, was inspired to enlist her mother, an expert home cook, to help create a line of flavor-packed vegan soups made with local ingredients.
"It's all fresh, real food," says Marilyn, who raised Sara on a Kosher diet and has Kashrut certification for the operation. "We didn't start a business to start a business. We have a mission, and we're trying to do a good thing."
Though the store and its kitchen have allowed the Polons to expand their offerings—they have three daily "chunky" and "smooth" soups set out in kettles plus more options in the fridge—they're doing many things the way they always have. Ingredients come from local growers like Tuscarora Organic Growers, Toigo Orchards, and the Farm at Sunnyside, and the offerings change based on season and weather. When tomatoes are ripe you may find the papa al pomodoro, packed with the sweet fruit, basil, and garlic and thickened with bread. Fall brings bowls of pureed butternut-squash/ginger soup, and one wintery selection is the West African peanut/sweet-potato stew. You can round out your meal with a lightly dressed grain salad such as wheatberry with red lentils, carrots, and rice. There are also canisters of salt on the table and seasoned croutons on offer in case the low-sodium offerings need a saline kick.
For those who don’t feel like visiting the shop, Soupergirl offers the same delivery service—both to pickup spots and to individual residences in certain locations—and is hoping to expand its service area.
Soupergirl, 314 Carroll St., NW; 202-609-7177. Open Monday through Thursday, 11 AM to 8 PM; Friday, 11 to 3; Sunday, 11 to 3. Closed Saturday.
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