Talk Soup at UR
Lead Cook Campbell puts the day's first batch of Chicken Noodle soup on the HDC lunch line.

Talk Soup

February 24, 2023
Despite unseasonably warm temps, Spiders are embracing soup season at the University of Richmond!

Spiders are embracing soup season at the University of Richmond! Whether you are looking for a comforting bowl on a cold day or a healthy and flavorful meal, there are many soup options across campus.

One of the go-to spots for good soup is the Heilman Dining Center (HDC). The HDC has a rotating soup menu between fall and spring breaks, with two different soups offered every day, and each one made from scratch. From the classic Chicken Noodle to more intricate flavors like Coconut Cauliflower Curry or Moroccan Chickpea, there is something for everyone in the soup rotation: sixteen gluten-free recipes, sixteen vegan soups, and nineteen vegetarian options.

HDC Chef de Cuisine Andy Kerscher and Senior Catering Chef Adam Schumm share an appetite for the art of soup making. Schumm is the former co-owner of Zuppa, a soup restaurant in downtown Richmond, an experience he says was a “wild and whimsical idea that grew my passion for soup creation.” As a trained saucier, he has introduced techniques to the HDC kitchen which help keep the integrity of each soup offered.

Kerscher said that each year the HDC chefs scrap about 30% of the soup menu from the previous year and have fun adding new flavors. This year, fresh options include White Chicken Chili, Loaded Baked Potato, Tomato Artichoke, Tortellini, and more. This approach keeps the soup menu fresh, and popular. To keep up with demand, HDC chefs produce from 300-400 portions of each soup every day.

One of the standout offerings is at the Pho station at Daily Bite. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup and it is made entirely from scratch by HDC chefs. Each week that Pho is offered, 600 pounds of beef bones and 80 gallons of water are used to create a rich and deeply flavorful broth, left to cook overnight with mirepoix (a combination of onions, carrots, and celery). In addition to the beef Pho broth, there is also a savory vegetable broth option, ensuring that all students can enjoy this soup regardless of dietary restrictions.

Once the Pho station and the Soup bar are rotated off the HDC menu, there are still plenty of year-round options for soup on campus. You can always find classic canned soup at ETC, but Lou’s Café, located in Queally Hall inside the Robins School of Business, has been the go-to campus soup spot since opening in February of 2011. Originally predicted to serve 200-300 people per day, before Covid-19, that number was closer to 700-800.

Typically, two soups are offered at Lou’s daily: the Soup of the Day and, of course, the beloved Red Pepper Gouda. For the soup specials, staff like to have some fun with the toppings, adding cheddar to the Broccoli Cheddar and Baked Potato soups, serving mini cornbread for chili days, and topping the Chicken Tortilla soup with some tortilla chip crunch.

While all the soups at Lou’s are popular, the main attraction remains the Red Pepper Gouda. Employees at Lou’s noticed that no matter how warm it is outside, students will come to Lou’s for their weekly (or daily) cup. They believe that the Red Pepper Gouda is comforting to students because it is reminiscent of eating tomato soup during childhood. Last semester, “RPG for LIFE” stickers were handed out at Lou’s with every Red Pepper Gouda order, and they did not last long. As Lou’s Café Chef Manager Amanda Boyd puts it, “The Soup of the Day brings people in, but the Red Pepper Gouda keeps them coming.”

Keep an eye out for Matzah Ball Soup to be served at Lou’s, Tyler’s, and HDC during Passover this semester.