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It's soup season! Grab your spoon and try out these Kansas City restaurants

Sausage & Clam Chowder in a white bowl with a spoon on a blue and white checked napkin.
Courtesy of Rye
Rye serves up a steamy bowl of sausage and clam chowder.

From ramen to pho to bisque, soup is the ultimate comfort food. Here are some of the most craveable and inspiring soup dishes across the Kansas City area.

This story was first published in KCUR's Adventure! newsletter. You can sign up to receive stories like this in your inbox every Tuesday.

It’s soup season for sure right now.

Soup is the ultimate comfort food, inspiring nostalgia, providing relief from the elements, and even consoling us during difficult moments. Soups can also serve as the center of family or cultural traditions, returning diners to their roots and offering an opportunity for sharing with others.

Take a journey with us to find craveable and inspiring soups across the Kansas City area.

Around the world in 80 bowls

Kimchi jigae in an iron bowl.
Alyssa Broadus
Boxer & Mutt
Kimchi jigae is a Korean staple, made at Chingu in Westport.

Chingu in Westport serves kimchi jjigae, a staple of Korean households. The homestyle dish features a hefty amount of gochugaru (Korean chile pepper flakes) and cabbage kimchi. Other ingredients vary depending on the cook’s preference. Chingu’s hearty stew is balanced by tofu and a choice of pork belly or mushrooms.

At Wah Gwan (meaning “What’s up?”), chef-founder Tanyech “Tan” Yarbrough offers traditional Nigerian dishes such as bitter leaf soup, okra soup, and egusi (ground melon seeds) soup with a side of fufu -- a prepared starchy root vegetable such as cassava used for dipping. Order Nigerian jollof rice or Jamaican rice and peas to round out the meal.

Brookside-based Sayachi is owned and operated by Sayaka Falcon, a native of Okinawa, Japan, and her husband and chef Carlos Falcon. Sayachi not only specializes in Omakase-style Japanese dining and sushi, but also less-flashy staples such as miso soup and ramen. The latter features egg noodles, Tokyo-style soy broth, vegetables and pork belly.

Vietnam Cafe in Columbus Park has six types of pho, including Pho Bo topped with thin-sliced eye of round beef and rice noodles. Their soups are served with fresh bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and limes. North of the river, Bun Mee Phan serves pho with steak, chicken and shrimp options as well as pho dau hu (tofu) and pho xa xiu (Chinese barbecue pork). Don’t miss My Xuyen Vietnamese Cafe for another Northland pho destination.

Well-known Thai soups such as tom yum and coconut milk-based tom kha are soothing staples at Overland Park’s Pad Thai, Lemongrass Thai Cuisine and Hot Basil. In North Kansas City, Spices Asian Restaurant features Thai-style roasted duck noodle soup and Lasak curry seafood noodle soup.

Enzo Bistro and Wine Bar in the River Market serves avgolemono prepared with roasted chicken, pearl couscous, lemon, and yogurt. This creamy soup’s ancient roots trace to Sephardic Jewish, Greek and other cuisines throughout Southern Europe.

Twist on comforting classics

A bowl of butternut squash and miso soup from Torn Label Brewing Public House + Kitchen.
Alyssa Broadus
Boxer & Mutt
In the butternut squash soup from Torn Label Brewing Public House + Kitchen, umami from the miso complements the sweetness of squash.

He may be cooking at a brewery, but Chef Vince Brink at Torn Label Brewing Public House + Kitchen in the Crossroads includes on his menu a butternut squash and miso soup. The umami from the miso complements the sweetness of squash brilliantly.

Chef Cherven Desauguste, co-owner of Mesob in Midtown, tops his smoked butternut squash bisque with ayeb, a traditional Ethiopian cheese, plus pumpkin seeds.

“Our house-made ayeb is lighter than feta cheese or goat cheese,” says Desauguste. “It’s subtle without adding additional flavors to the soup."

At Acre in Parkville, chef-owner Andre Longres counters winter’s cool temperatures by gracing his smoked potato soup with puffed hominy, bacon lardons, whipped crème fraiche, chives and white cheddar.

“For everything there is a season, and at Acre our soups change to reflect the seasonal produce most abundant,” said Longres. “Our potato soup is the perfect comfort food in winter because it is warm, rich and velvety, with a hit of smokiness from the hearth.”

Bradley Gilmore, chef and owner of Lula Southern Cookhouse in the Crossroads, goes all out on allium for his Vidalia onion bisque. Gilmore’s bisque uses caramelized Vidalia onion, bourbon cream, crispy shallots, melted leek, garlic chive oil, and smoked paprika. (By the way, did you know that Vidalia onions must be grown in one of 20 South Georgia counties, by federal order?)

Land and sea

Mushroom bisque in a white bowl.
Annie Lynch
Story makes a roasted mushroom bowl, sage and herbed bread crumbs.

Sometimes a specific ingredient or flavor pairing unlocks memories or suggests comfort. Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen at Story presents a bisque of roasted mushrooms, sage and herbed bread crumbs that evokes thoughts of holiday traditions and rustic flavors suitable for winter sustenance.

Rye’s chef Ryan Williams has developed a rustic smoked sausage and clam chowder with a tomato base and fregola sarda, a nutty-flavored Sardinian semolina pasta that’s both comforting and a bit intrepid, a departure from New England and Manhattan styles of chowder.

Beans and ham soup with a side of cornbread muffins at Niecie’s Restaurant draws on a time-tested combination of sweet, salty and savory flavors.

The roasted carrot soup at The Campground in the Stockyards is “inspired from my love of mole with a balance of sweet, bitter, savory and spicy,” says chef Jeff Workman. “Carrots are also an ingredient that can shine in many ways. Here we have roasted purée, grilled and lightly salted.”

Legend has it that soupe à l’oignon gratinée was invented in 18th century France. Here and now, Le Fou Frog in River Market prepares classic French onion soup with rich meat stock and onions, topping each serving with a toasted crouton and melted cheese. They also serve a creamy lobster bisque.

Chef Carlos Falcon’s Jarocho is known for seafood dishes inspired by Veracruz, Mexico. Caldo de mariscos, or seafood soup, at its Kansas City, Kansas, location comes with an option of shrimp, fish, or a medley of frutas del mar, fruits of the sea. Diners at Jarocho’s South Kansas City location may opt for lobster bisque as well.

For meat lovers, Chappell’s Restaurant + Sports Museum in North Kansas City rustles up steak soup. This menu staple is loaded with chunks of tender beef, veggies, spices and a splash of Burgundy wine.

Pete Dulin is a Kansas City-based writer and author of four books, including Expedition of Thirst and Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland.
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