Warm up with 6 of the Northside’s Best Bowls of Soup

This Soup’s for You

written by JENNI SMITH WILLIAMS | photography courtesy of ROBIN HARRISON

Never Enough Thyme’s Cream of Mushroom

Unleashed with that wispy change in temperature comes the urge for something to sip on. Something warm and steaming to hold between two wooly-clad hands, something piping hot that satisfies a growling tummy and something that, by cliché and simple fact, soothes the soul.

You need soup.

An “Mmmm,” beyond a Campbell’s commercial and an “Mmm Mmm” past The Soup Nazi, the flavor peaks in Alpharetta. While flavorful bowls of goodness have always been an active part of my own list of food favorites, you just have no idea what kind of gems are out there in our own neighborhood. So much so, that I’m sharing them with you — one delicious spoonful at a time.

Never Enough Thyme

You might not notice this diamond in the rough of a restaurant. It’s tucked deep into the McGinnis Ferry Road row of shopping centers, hidden by generic Subways and corporate grocery chains. But, if you can skip the McDonalds drive-through and give your stomach a break from Pub-subs, you’re in for the thyme (I couldn’t help it) of your appetite’s life.

Cream of Mushroom
The phrase, “just like Mom used to make,” was born here. Or at least it’s edified in the steaming bowl of Cream of Mushroom soup. Bold, rich and good enough to qualify as dessert, this spoonful is almost sinful. Almost. And this spot serves up to-go containers that let you. 

SECOND BEST BOWL: Texas Sirloin Chili
Not to be outdone, for the pants-wearing appetites, this is a bowl of seriously mighty meat. Spicy, top-notch cuts and actually not leaving any room for dessert (I know, blasphemy!), it welcomes fall with an adult-sized utensil requirement, and maybe a cowboy hat. 5354 McGinnis Ferry Road, Alpharetta, neverenoughthyme.net


Roaster’s Homemade Black Bean Soup

It’s no secret that this hot spot, an Atlanta classic staying true to its reputation even way out in the ‘burbs, boasts some of the city’s most mouth-watering dishes on a menu, anywhere. You’re lucky to even get a table during the office district’s lunch-hour rush. But bring your endurance, your patience and, of course, your appetite, because you’ll never be disappointed. And you’ll never, ever, leave hungry.

Homemade Black Bean Soup
While slow Rotisserie-style chicken and your favorite fresh (heck, or fried) veggies make it hard to look at anything else, you gotta get down with the soup section. I tried them ALL, and I will tell you right now, the Black Bean is out of this world. Protein-packed, flavor-frenzied and with a little south-of-the-border zest on top, it’s pretty much the answer to the lunch or dinner bell for me. Ask for a dollop of sour cream to make this bowl of beans extra memorable.

If you’re still hungry after you order the inevitable second bowl, continue your food fiesta with the Santa Fe Grill, a slow-roasted chicken breast served over rice and topped with homemade barbeque sauce, pico de gallo and both Jack and cheddar cheese. 12850 Highway 9, Alpharetta, roastersfresh.com 

The Patio Cafe

The Patio Cafe’s Chili

Attention all Mom and Pop shops: you’ve got serious competition. A friend recommended this place for a quick, easy lunch. She failed to mention that I’d leave needing to unbutton my pants. It’s got a menu that serves all of my favorite things, service that makes you want to get to know your waiter over a cup of coffee and a nostalgic atmosphere of those places your grandparents used to take you when you spent the weekend at their house. I had to remind myself that I was here for the soup.

Chili or Chicken Vegetable
It’s a tie! The Patio serves up duos of Soup de Jour that just about knock your taste bud’s socks off. Whether it’s the homemade, slow-cooked Chili or the fresh, zesty, tastes-like-it’s-right-from-Grandma’s-garden Chicken Vegetable, you’ve got a bowl full of beautiful flavor bliss, perfect for lunch, dinner, a snack or, let’s be honest, simply because your mouth is watering. Want a bigger meal? Swap your spoon for a forkful of creamy, dreamy chicken salad and fresh fruit. It’s scooped to order and made to please. So, we’ll have some more. Please. 5950G State Bridge Road, Duluth, patiocafebakery.com 

Roux on Canton

Gumbo File at Roux on Canton

Historic Roswell is famous for its culinary catwalk. There’s something for everyone, a flavor from every corner of the world and an ambiance unlike any other zip code on the Northside. Owner and culinary jetsetter Zachary Bramblett brings his experience into a spin-off of both hearty, Southern-style cooking and the Bayou’s best flavors that end with a twist of fresh, locally produced recipes.

Gumbo File
Get your fish on … without leaving the mainland. Southern-style, Cajun-twisted and Intercoastal by definition, this heaping helping of spicy stew is just about the craziest thing to hit your palate since Pop Rocks. Tender pieces of shredded chicken and Andouille sausage swim amongst seasoned celery, onion, bell peppers and a Canton Street secret spice blend. Add shrimp and a cheese beignet to take it up another notch. 

Bet you don’t stop there. Roux’s eclectic, unique menu includes as many promising meals as its Friday night entertainment line-up including karaoke, live music, craft beer pours and more. Finish off your spoon-fed supper with an Over-Stuffed Shrimp Po’Boy and I guarantee you’ll be over-stuffed yourself. But it’ll be worth it. 946 Canton Street, Roswell, rouxoncanton.com