Soup brings a touch of home to city

Soup brings a touch of home to city

By Carleton Atwater

Soup is a classic meal during the colder months, and with autumn officially here, it’s the perfect time to try out some new liquid meals. Fortunately, some of the best soup in New England is available just a few bus stops away from campus at The New England Soup Factory in Brookline Village.

The store is nestled at the end of a strip of stores across from the Brookline Village T Station on Green Line. Inside, a cozy arrangement of wooden tables and bright pink walls decorated with the various awards and citations the store has garnered over the years dot the landscape. Behind the counter a friendly staff welcomes you with free samples.

Each day the store sells more than 80 gallons of Druker’s soup. The selection varies with the season and includes everything from classics like beef stew and chicken noodle to new creations like African peanut, which Druker says is quite flavorful.

“We use a lot of spice in our food,” Druker said. “I think that’s something that sets us apart from the typical bland yankee pallet.”

Druker’s chicken soup is a far cry from Campbell’s. It’s full of big, meaty chunks of chicken, and tender carrots with a broth that’s made from scratch.

The store’s slight size makes it ideal for a quick bite, and during lunch hour the store swells with employees from nearby businesses. Druker notes the store is popular with students as well.

“We can be a home away from home for college kids,” she said. Our soups are a nice break from nachos and pizza.”

In addition to soups and stews, the store offers a wide selection of sandwiches, pastries and salads.

“Everything we sell is homemade, from the soups to the condiments,” Druker said, who has developed over 100 different recipes for soups and stews.

“I’m an artist,” he said. “Making soup is a joy. I look forward to it every day.”

Druker said she enjoys highlighting the different flavors of the season.

“Autumn soups mean a lot of pumpkin and mushrooms,”she said.

Druker dismisses the idea that soup is only a meal for the fall or winter. “Soup is great all year long; I have some every single day,” she said, while noting in the summer she likes to offer a selection of different gazpachos, a Spanish soup served cold.

Regardless of the season, Druker said her most popular soups with college students remain perennial classics like Beef Stew and Chicken Pot Pie.

“Everyone comes back to soups; it’s comfort food at its best,”she said.

The soup at the store is available in a variety of sizes from a cup to a full gallon. This makes it perfect for take-out, something very popular with students, Druker said.

The restaurant was opened 12 years ago by the husband and wife team of Paul Brophy and Marjorie Druker. Since then the store has flourished.

Druker has received numerous awards over the years, including being placed in Boston Magazine’s Best Of Boston Hall of Fame. The store has also been featured on the Phantom Gourmet, the Food Network, The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald.

Druker and her husband met while studying at Johnson ‘ Wales University College of Culinary Arts in Providence. The program has launched the careers of several celebrity chefs, most notably Emeril Lagasse.

Before starting the New England Soup Factory, Druker was the original chef for the Boston Market fast food chain, creating the original recipes the restaurant still uses today.

“Regardless of how much we expand, our goal will always remain on making the soup possible,” Druker said.

The New England Soup factory maintains two locations in Boston: 2-4 Brookline Place in Brookline (Phone: 617-739-1899) and 244 Needham Street in Newton. (Phone: 617-558-9988). To get to the Brookline location, take the Green Line’s D train.

In addition to the original location in Brookline, Druker and Brophy have opened additional franchises in Newton and New Jersey.

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