The message from a reader sent me into a mini panic. Melodramatic me, I must have gasped or something when I opened the email because fellow reporters asked what was wrong. I read the email out loud, "Do you have any information about what happened to Infinite Soups on Tacoma Avenue? They seem to be gone, but their homepage is still active. What a terrible loss. Thank you."
It was their turn to gasp. Not only is Infinite Soups a popular niche cafe serving soup - and only soup - but the owners previously ran the cafe in the News Tribune building. They fed us every day for years. What had happened? A trip down to the soup shop that afternoon told me what happened - nothing. They're still in that little spot tucked into a building with Malarkey's Billiards. The problem? Infinite Soups is just hard to see unless you know where to look.
The reader was pretty elated when I reported to her that the business was still operating. Wrote the reader back, "Drove by and got thrown off by lack of outside sign that day, and all those (Malarkey's) and Grit City signs." I can see how that can happen.
For my third restaurant in my hidden gems series this week, I can't think of a better cafe to feature than Infinite Soups. Like the other two hidden restaurants I wrote about this week, Infinite Soups is a small cafe with not much of a storefront sign (at least not in comparison to their neighbors). Instead, I tell people to look for the sandwich board out front or look for Malarkey's, then look directly to the right. That's the best way to find it.
Infinite Soups is the perfect name for this restaurant – a seemingly infinite number of soups, and only soup, is what they sell. A revolving menu offers well over a dozen daily choices. The soups here run the gamut in ingredients and textures. Vegetarian soups, vegan soups and lots of meat soups. Thin soups, chunky soups, chili and even soups that almost could qualify as stew. A voice mail every day tells diners what’s simmering, or find the day's soups on their Facebook page.
Infinite Soups is a family operation run by Wendy Clapp, husband Todd DeShazo and Clapp’s daughter Laura Adams. The trio started their business selling soup at the Tacoma Farmers Market (but News Tribune employees were their first tasters). They opened their shop on Tacoma Avenue in 2007. In all that time, they've kept the same concept and continue to offer one of the cheapest (and healthiest) lunches in town - cups of soup are $2.75 (bowls, pints and quarts are $3.75, $4.75 and $8.50). Although they only make and sell soup, they do offer biscuits, cornbread, rolls and baguettes (priced from 85 cents to $2.75).
Infinite SoupsWhere: 445 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma Info: 253-274-0232 or Facebook Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday (Summer hours in July and August, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday)