When the pandemic hit, bouchon server Lucas Bird, like many food industry professionals, faced the emotional and financial challenges of months without work. Bird’s girlfriend, Grace Slansky, who works at the Wildcat Lounge, suggested starting a pop-up out of Little Kitchen next door when the restaurant is closed on Mondays.
When the couple realized that some of their favorite quarantine meals were, unsurprisingly, comfort food — specifically soups and sandwiches — Soup Herb was born. Slansky stepped in to help with marketing, and Bird’s restaurant industry friends David Fainberg and Vicken Tavitian jumped into the kitchen.
“I couldn’t ask for a better team,” Bird said. “What started as a group of out-of-work food service workers has grown into an opportunity to lift up other people in the industry and give our friends an outlet to cook and make a little cash.”
Every other week, they come out with a new menu, featuring several selections of creative soups and sides, advertised primarily through Instagram. Customers pre-order through direct message and come by on Mondays to pick up their meals.
I sampled a decadent cream of broccoli soup, topped with bacon and served with cheddar grilled cheese “dippers.” These clever accompaniments round out the soup for a full meal, and past pairings have included roasted red pepper quesadillas with chicken tortilla soup, goat cheese egg rolls with carrot ginger soup, and mozzarella-filled pizza sticks with tomato soup. I also enjoyed the Lebanese-style red lentil soup with bulgur wheat and wild rice, a hearty vegan soup that tantalized with bright flavors and worked well with the house-made pita chips.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is that we’ve been able to incorporate flavors from so many different cultures, and that definitely drives our menu,” said Bird, who strives to use fresh produce and support small businesses such as Shalhoob’s, European Deli Market, and Indo-China Market.
Bird has worked in the kitchen of Petit Valentin and Elements, for catering companies, and as a private chef. When he speaks of his time at bouchon, his eyes light up with palpable passion.
“This is really a business born out of necessity for the restaurant industry,” explained Bird. “We pride ourselves on camaraderie. At the end of the day, we just want to bring people together over comfort food.”
Order Soup Herb via Instagram at @soupherbsb