5 spots to get a hearty bowl of soup

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Marylanders are spoiled when it comes to culinary ways to stay warm in the winter months. From crab soup to chili, local restaurants ladle hearty versions of wintry fare into bowls every day.

One of Suzanne Sullivan's favorite cold weather meals is a big bowl of jalapeno crab corn chowder from Lures in Crownsville.

"It's a different spin on the typical crab soup and definitely has some kick, which I like," says the Severna Park resident, noting that the Lures kitchen isn't afraid to add serious heat to the soup.

Whether you are, like Sullivan, an adventurous heat-seeker, or you're a traditionalist who wants nothing more than a classic bowl of French onion soup, you'll find a lot to love in local kitchens this winter. Next time you're in the mood for a bowl of something steaming, try one of these great local options.

Jalapeno Crab Corn Chowder at Lures

Suzanne Sullivan's favorite chowder has been on Lure's menu since opening day – nearly eight years – says chef and owner Chuck Soja.

"It was a recipe my dad made," he explains. "We tweaked it a little and put it on the menu and people love it."

Made with fresh jumbo lump crab, the soup is chunky and thick. A combination of sweet and hot flavors keep it lively. Fans of traditional crab soup will find something new to love in this bowl.

Lures Bar and Grille, 1397 Generals Highway, Crownsville
410-923-1606, luresbarandgrille.com

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Oyster Stew at Fisherman's Inn

Fisherman's Inn's oyster stew is only on the restaurant's menu during cold weather months, and its fans anxiously await its appearance.

"Before we put it on every fall, people are always asking when it's coming back," says manager Rebecca Mobley.

The soup's allure isn't mysterious. "Our oyster stew is chock-full of oysters from the Chesapeake Bay," she explains. "We use high quality cream and butter, and every single order is made fresh."

Many soups are better the day after being made, but this stew is best enjoyed just after cooking, when the oysters are plump and the broth is rich and full of great bay flavor.

Fisherman's Inn, 3116 Main Street, Grasonville
410-827-8807, fishermansinn.com

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Mixed-Up Crab Soup at Island View Waterfront Cafe

Eight years ago, a waitress at Island View Waterfront Café made a truly fortuitous mistake. While in the middle of spooning crab soup into a bowl, she was called away. When she returned, she lost track of the type of crab soup she was dishing out. The end result was a "mixed-up" bowl full of half cream of crab and half Maryland crab soup.

The combination was an instant hit.

"A lot of times, people have a hard time making a decision because both are so delicious," says Island View owner Brian Liang. "This is a different texture and flavor. It's velvety, but the cream of crab thins a little and you get the vegetables and spice from the Maryland crab."

The result is creamy, spicy and positively irresistible.

Island View Waterfront Café, 2542 Island View Road, Essex
410-687-9799, islandviewwaterfrontcafe.com

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Onion Soup at Park Tavern

The soup selection at Park Tavern changes daily, with a set menu during the week so diners know what to expect each day between Monday and Friday. (Weekend soups change each week.) On Wednesdays, the chef turns out a luscious French onion soup that gets a big response.

"People love it," says Greg Keating, managing partner. "It's perfect for this season and includes everything people love about French onion soup — lots of melted Swiss cheese and a big piece of crusty sourdough bread."

Park Tavern, 580 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park
410-793-5930, parktavernsp.com

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Chili at Iron Rooster

Certain winter days cry out for chili, and Iron Rooster is ready to answer that call. The downtown Annapolis restaurant makes its chili with brisket and without beans, relying on the power of slow cooking to coax flavor from the ingredients.

"We slow cook the brisket all day long, which breaks down the connective tissue, so it's just a chunk of meat," says owner Kyle Algaze. "Then there's just a little heat, but nothing overpowering. We cook the chili basically all day and all night."

The recipe is a popular one. Algaze says the kitchen sells about 20 gallons of chili every weekend.
If you want to try the chili but love Iron Rooster's breakfast foods, which are available all day, don't fret; this chili comes with breakfast, too. Every bowl is served with a wedge of cornbread waffle topped with cheddar and green onion sour cream.

Algaze suggests pairing the chili with the restaurant's spicy Sriracha-rita, a margarita blended with Sriracha to give it a spicy kick. Sounds like something that will warm you right up.

Iron Rooster, 12 Market Space, Annapolis
410-990-1600, ironroosterallday.com

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By Kit Waskom Pollard

Click next below for a couple of the amazing soup recipes so you can make them at home.

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