December 22, 2011

For Great Gluten-Free Soups, San Francisco Soup Company of Boulder is Your Place

By Evan Sandsmark -  

If you’ve ever wondered if it’s awesome to review gluten-free restaurants in Boulder, we can assure you it is, especially when we come across a gem like San Francisco Soup Company, which offers a wide array of delicious, healthy gluten-free soups. What’s more, different “Soups of the Day” are inserted on the menu on a rotating basis, so the soup selection, including those soups that are gluten-free, is ever changing. We had an excellent experience at the San Francisco Soup Company when we recently visited, enjoying both the soup we tried and the superb service with which it was served.

San Francisco Soup Company is located in the 29th Street Mall, which is quickly becoming a sort of haven for gluten-free eating options. Directly next to the Soup Company is Modmarket, and in the same block of restaurants and stores is Z Pizza and Smiling Moose Deli, all of which are places we have positively reviewed. (Technically, we reviewed the Smiling Moose Deli in Louisville, but having visited the 29th Street Mall location, we can vouch that it is very similar.) We can now confidently recommend the Soup Kitchen as another place to get great gluten-free food in this area.

The Soup Company’s Boulder location is new, and the freshly decorated interior suggests as much. The rest of the 17 locations are in San Francisco, save one, which is at UC Berkeley. The inside of the Boulder location is large and blanketed with earthy tones, with green, brown, and tan hues playing the leading role, and plenty of wood paneling to boot. There is a long row of booths on one side of the restaurant, and an area with a dozen or so additional tables on the opposite side. You place your order at a counter, where you can taste any of the soups available that day, and the staff is happy to accommodate your requests for samples as you search for the perfect soup. Capitalizing on this opportunity, we tried the Turkey Chili and Mexican Chicken Tortilla soup. Both were great, so we knew a difficult decision was in store for us. The Turkey Chili, made with ground turkey, red bell peppers, kidney beans, ancho chile, and garlic, was a tasty and healthy (thanks in part to turkey taking the place of beef) rendering of traditional chili. The Mexican Chicken Tortilla was equally delicious. Yet we had to pick one, so we went with the latter.

The Mexican Chicken Tortilla soup that we selected was served in a 16-ounce container – the large size, which is twice the size of the small, and four ounces larger than the medium, to the put the portions in relative arithmetical terms. It was topped with corn chips, cilantro, and cheese, the last of which quickly melted into the piping hot soup, as cheese can’t help but do. The chips provided a nice texture and the sprinkling of cilantro added a subtle taste that complemented the soup’s multiple flavors. The soup was rather thick, having the consistency of, say, a rich tomato soup, which is an apt comparison because tomatoes (or, more precisely, oven-roasted tomatoes) played a fairly large role in the overall taste of the soup. With the exception of chunks of chicken, the flavor of which suggested they were grilled, the soup consisted of a mix of several ingredients (blended to liquid consistency), including red bell peppers, garlic, jalapenos, and, as we mentioned, oven-roasted tomatoes. In other words, the only solid ingredients in the soup were the pieces of chicken and corn chips, which were submerged in the thick blend with an assortment of delicious flavors (we especially like the mild spice supplied by the jalapenos).

On any given trip to the Soup Company, the gluten-free eater will have several soups to choose from. The gluten-free “signature soups” – consisting of Organic Smoky Split Pea, Organic Tomato Bisque, and the soups we sampled – are always on the menu, and there are a number of gluten-free “specialty soups” (the “Soups of the Day” referenced above) that rotate on and off the menu. During our visit, there were several gluten-free specialty soups, such as Black Bean Chili, Burgundy Chicken, Chicken with Wild Rice and Mushrooms, and Cream of Exotic Mushrooms. Conveniently, all of these soups are clearly marked as gluten-free on the menu, and whether or not they are vegetarian, dairy-free, low fat, and/or spicy is also indicated. If you don’t feel like soup, there are several salads on the menu as well, and, naturally, many of these are gluten-free. The one limitation of the Soup Company’s menu is that there is no gluten-free bread available, which not only means that there are no gluten-free sandwiches, but also that you don’t get bread with your soup (normally, a “hunk of sourdough” is served with every soup order). However, we were told during our visit that the Soup Company is hoping to remedy this limitation as soon as possible, and the person we were speaking with seemed genuinely distressed that he couldn’t offer us gluten-free bread with our soup. The Soup Company is great, and from what we heard it is only getting better.

If you like soup at all, we can’t recommend the Soup Company enough. Both the soups we tried were fantastic, and the same adjective can safely be applied the service we received. In the interest of full disclosure, we’re natural soup enthusiasts, but even if we weren’t, we can’t imagine having anything other than a positive impression of this place. The San Francisco way of life has long been embedded in Boulder, and now one of their excellent restaurants is too.

The restaurant’s menu can be found here.

San Francisco Soup Company Menu

(Keep in mind that the menu only lists the “signature soups” – i.e., the soups that are a permanent fixture on the menu – so if you visit the Boulder location, there will also be a number of “specialty soups,” or “Soups of the Day,” available. Theoretically, you can find out which specialty soups the Boulder location is offering on a particular day here , but we’ve noticed that this isn’t always updated. Again, the Boulder location is new, so perhaps they are working on this feature.)

To see the full list of soups made by the Soup Company, signature and specialty both, check out the link below. This list also indicates which soups are gluten-free:

List of Soups Offered by San Francisco Soup Company

And finally, the San Francisco Soup Company’s Boulder location can be found here:

1600 28th Street #1216
29th Street Mall
Boulder, CO 80301

Note: Many of the places we visit merely offer gluten-free options, and hence are not necessarily 100% gluten-free facilities, so if proximal cross-contamination is an issue, call ahead. If you would like us to review a particular restaurant with gluten-free options, send an email to We’ll try our best to check it out!

Read Next Article » Julia’s Kitchen and Cafe in Boulder – 100% Gluten Free, Vegan, Organic and Delicious!
Previous Article « Superb Gluten-Free Pizzas Available at Boulder’s Z Pizza

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