There is nothing better to warm you up on a cold winter’s day than a steaming hot bowl of soup. It’s comfort food at its best: delicious, nourishing, warming and often creamy. We have compiled a list of eight of our favorite soups in town. While each is unique, every one is guaranteed to warm your body and your soul.
8 of Memphis’ Best Soups: From Spicy to Savory to Soul-Nourishing
Chicken Tortilla Soup at Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana
Most Memphians know that if you are looking for Mexican food just like you would find in Mexico, Las Tortugas is the place to go, and their chicken tortilla soup is as authentic as it gets. “Our broth is homemade every day,” says owner Jonathan Magallanes of their popular soup. Rich and full of flavor from the tomatoes and chiles, you can taste the care that goes into preparing this complex soup. And the best part is all the toppings! Crunchy tortilla strips, avocado, cilantro, cojita cheese and fresh lime make this soup a satisfying meal.
Homemade Potato Soup at Huey’s
Nine locations throughout Memphis; store hours vary at each location.
Huey’s may be most well-known for their world-famous burgers, but insiders know that they also have one of the best soups in town. Their secret-recipe homemade potato soup topped with grated cheddar cheese, bacon and scallions has been a customer favorite for decades. “Our homemade potato soup has a buttery taste to it, and the texture is very thick and creamy and doesn’t have big chunks of potato in it,” explains Ashley Griffin, Huey’s marketing and events coordinator. “Our customers love it. It is definitely one of those beloved Southern comfort foods.”
Tan Tan Ramen at Lucky Cat Ramen
247 Cooper St., Memphis, TN 38104 • (901) 633-0300
Hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
If you love ramen, then Lucky Cat is the place to go for the real deal! Owners Zach Nicholson and Sarah Pardee offer several ramen bowls nightly, as well as vegetarian and pork buns at this space that used to be the bar of Café 1912. We love all their offerings, but their tan tan ramen is our go-to order. “The tan tan has an interesting mix of complex depth and heat that people really enjoy. The fish sauce, curry and toasted sesame seeds make the broth savory, nutty, a little funky and spicy all at once. Roasted peanuts add a nice texture change, and cilantro brightens it up to finish,” says Sarah.
French Onion Soup at Café Keough
12 S. Main St., Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 509-2469
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Café Keough serves a French onion soup that will have you thinking you are in France, not downtown Memphis. Made the classic way, with caramelized onions, red wine, a splash of sherry and a generous topping of nutty Gruyère cheese, this soup is hearty and satisfying. The inspiration to put it on the menu came from owner Kevin Keough’s nostalgic memories of his dad. “My father was stationed in Orleans, France, in the early ’50s and spent about every weekend in Paris. He enjoyed telling me about his experiences in the Latin Quarter and surviving on an enlisted man’s pay. One of his stories was about a café where he could buy a massive bowl of onion soup for a dollar! He and his pals frequented it most every chance they got,” Kevin says of the popular menu item.
Memphis Chowder at Paradise Café
6150 Poplar Ave., #120, Memphis, TN 38119 • (901) 821-9600
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Closed Sundays
Bob Sternburgh, owner of Paradise Café in East Memphis, serves up some of the most delicious and interesting soups we have ever had. “I take old classic recipes, like beef stroganoff, chicken tetrazzini, chicken Kiev and lasagna, and I’ll turn them into a soup,” he explains. Bob has even come up with a signature soup for our hometown: Memphis chowder. Made with white beans, black-eyed peas, turnip greens, smoked sausage, carrots, celery and onions, topped with cornbread, it includes all the great vegetables and flavors of Southern cooking. It’s a bowl of Southern soul food!
Tomato Soup at The Liquor Store
2655 Broad Ave., Memphis, TN 38112 • (901) 405-5477
Hours: Monday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The tomato soup at The Liquor Store is a classic done right. “Our tomato soup uses simple ingredients and preparation. We wanted to keep it classic and on the healthier side,” explains owner Lisa Toro. “We use Roma tomatoes, onion, salt and pepper — nothing more.” And an added bonus: It’s also vegan! We recommend ordering it with their grilled cheese sandwich — a blend of white cheddar, Swiss and American cheese on your choice of white or wheat bread. It’s one of the best grilled cheeses in town and pairs perfectly with their tomato soup.
Hot and Sour Soup at Mosa Asian Bistro
850 S. White Station Road, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 683-8889
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Closed Mondays
Mosa Asian Bistro’s hot and sour soup is a recipe that was developed more than 40 years ago. “Our dad acquired the original recipe from his future mother-in-law, our grandmother, in Taipei, Taiwan,” explain owners Michelle Pao Levine and Alex Pao. “The proper Chinese meal always started with soup, no matter the temperature outside. Dad spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen learning to cook and took particular note of the traditions and techniques of authentic Asian dining.” This vegetarian soup offers just the right amount of hot, sour and sweet in every spoonful.
Black Bean Soup at Tsunami
928 South Cooper St., Memphis, TN 38104 • (901) 274-2556
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Closed Sundays
The black bean soup has been on the menu at Tsunami since day one, and the customer favorite is so beloved that it has earned a permanent spot on the soup list. “Unlike most black bean soups, ours is a smooth puree,” explains owner and Chef Ben Smith. “It still packs a lot of spicy punch, though, thanks to what we refer to as the ‘four Cs’ — cumin, cayenne pepper, ground coriander and chili powder.” And if it wasn’t already deliciously full of flavor, Ben garnishes each bowl with a drizzle of chipotle-laced sour cream for a little extra wallop to the palate.
Now head out in this chilly weather for a warming and soul-nourishing bowl of one of Memphis’ best soups!
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