- The Soupbox Cookbook - over 10,000 copies sold!
History of Soupbox
Long before the vegetables were being chopped and soups were being cooked, there was a young man named Jamie Taerbaum who was paying his way through college at the University of Illinois in Chicago studying business management. One of his few indulgences was enjoying homemade Italian ice at Mario’s Italian ice in Chicago’s Little Italy. Wanting to pursue an entrepreneurial path he decided to learn how to make his own version of homemade Italian ice with just fresh fruit and juices calling it “Icyfruit”.
His Icyfruit recipe was so good that he decided to max out 6 credit cards to open a storefront named “Icebox” on the north side of Chicago at 2943 N. Broadway in 1995 making 20 flavors of his Icyfruit. Little did he know that serving his homemade icy concoction made right in the back of the storefront would cause such a fuss, with lines reaching out the door. He discovered folks loved his simple comfort food served with a genuine smile and a friendly thank you. So, as the fall cool weather approached, he decided to take his hand at learning to make another comfort food - fresh gourmet soups - continuing the business all year long.
In October 1995, Jamie started making 70+ gourmet soups serving a variety of 12 each day with fresh baked bread, a genuine smile and the friendly thank you his customers had become accustomed to. He decided to call this seasonal side of the business “Soupbox”. Although it took some time for folks to learn “these aren’t your grocery store canned type soups”, the Soupbox business gradually started taking off; and the Seinfeld’s “soup nazi” episode airing in November of 1995 helped too!
In 1996, Dru Melton joined Soupbox as a frontline soup server hoping to utilize his culinary education while he pursued his dream of being a rock star. Melton soon learned, however, that his true passion was utilizing his culinary skills to develop the Soupbox business. Today, the magic continues with Dru as General Manager at the original East Lakeview 2943 N. Broadway location where they still make the original Icyfruit (from Memorial Day through Labor Day) together with Dru’s homemade grilled cheese sandwiches, and at the new Gold Coast 50 E. Chicago Ave location where they make custom ordered salads together with Dru’s homemade grilled cheese sandwiches.
Dru's inspiration: "My inspirations are a continuous and ongoing thing, but I'm built on a foundation established by the women of my youth. My mother Carol was a fabulous cook, as was my grandmother Bernadine and my great grandmother Pearl, the namesake for my own daughter. Those women taught me how to balance spices and flavors, as well as what to look for when buying ingredients. Their lessons have served me well.
Jamie's inspiration: "I'm inspired to this day by my single Mother who raised five children on her own which taught me how to "think outside the box" by using every last ingredient in the house to make real good soup (and occasionally a real bad soup!) via good ole trial and error. My personal philosophy about soup is just like in life, we all just want to feel good, so we add and subtract things from our life to align with that feeling until we get it just right. That's how I live my life, and that's how I try to make our soup!"
Jamie continuously looks for new ingredients and unique foods traveling the world to places like Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Sweden, Serbia, France, Italy, Spain, Aruba, Netherlands, Thailand and almost all the Virgin Islands (yup some unique soups there!).
Soupbox now features soup recipes that have been voted best in Chicago. With 12 fresh soups every day with varieties including low-fat, vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and spicy options. Soupbox has been recognized by a myriad of media including Rachel Ray’s Tasty Travels, Best Soup in Chicago, Best Comfort Food in Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, WGN TV, ABC News, MetroMix, Chicago Magazine, the TV series "ER", and Paula Deen named Soupbox in her "10 Best Spots for Soups Across the Country". Plus many others.
Come in for a Soupbox sample!
- Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels on the Food Network
- Voted best soup in Chicago by Citysearch & on MetroMix CLTV
- Soupbox Owner Jamie Taerbaum: Celebrating 20 years on WGN Radio
- Something You Should Eat: Soup from the Soupbox | WBEZ
- Best of Citysearch 2005: Best Chicago Comfort Food
- Soupbox on Centerstage Chicago
- 190 North
- VirtualTourist.com - Chicago Soupbox - Pictures, Tips and Reviews
- Soupbox (Icebox), Chicago via Planet99 Guide to Chicago
- Yelp - Real People. Real Reviews: Broadway Soupbox
- Yelp - Real People. Real Reviews: Chicago Ave. Soupbox
- Today's Feature: Chow
- Why Chicago Isn't All That Bad - Chicago Business - Perspectives
- Menupages.com - Soupbox Reviews
- Calorielab.com - Soupbox Nutritional Information
- Manta.com - Soupbox Company Profile
- Eatingbender.com - Soupbox Review
- Sortuv.com - Soupbox Review
- Danielgood.net - Soupbox Review
- Myspace.com - Soupbox on Myspace
- Thedailyplate.com - Soupbox Nutritional Information
- Tripadvisor.com - Soupbox Reviews
- Chowhound.com - Soupbox Blogged
- Insiderpages.com - Soupbox
- Foursquare.com - Broadway Soupbox
- Livestrong.com - Soupbox Reviews
- Menuism.com - Soupbox Review
- Facebook.com - I love Soupbox Fan Club
- Whatsthesoup.net - Soupbox Story
- Uptake.com - Soupbox Reviews
- Myfitnesspal.com - Nutritional Information
- Disney Family Travel - Soupbox Review
- Conciergepreferred.com - Soupbox Write Up
- Mojo.com - Soupbox Reviews
- TheChicagoist.com Delivery and Carry out: The Soupbox Lakeview
- EverydayHealth - Soupbox Nutritional Information
- Madison Ave Soupbox on Yellowbot.com
- Examiner.com - Soupbox for Ash Wednesday
- Kgb.com - Soupbox Locations
- Grubhub.com - Soupbox
- Twitter.com - Soupbox Tweets Coming Soon
- Foodieview.com - Soupbox Reviews
- Chow.com - Soupbox Review
- Soupbox Franchise Information
- Chewonthatblog.com - Soupbox Review
- Soupbox Franchise Information
- Metromix.com - Lakeview Soupbox/Icebox
- Metromix.com - River North Soupbox
- ChiGirlLife.com - Local Restaurant Blogger
- Food That Tastes Good, Soupbox Potato & Leek
- Chicago Suntimes Italian Ice Reviews
- The Blogging Grandmother - Soupbox
- TimeOut Chicago
- Rachel Ray on the FoodNetwork
- Style Forum Lobster Bisque Blog
- Chicago Magazine - Where to eat when near Chicago's 15 top theaters
- 10 under 10 in Lakeview
- The Lakeview East Giftcard
- Chicago Tribune Article - May Weather in Chicago - Soupbox/Icebox
- Wine in Clam Chowder Discussion - Soupbox
- Grand Plaza Hotel Directory
- Making Chicago Home - September 2009 Review
- Fan of our Company Logo
- 10 reasons to love Chicago summers
- NBCChicago - Soupbox Listing
- Book: A Native's Guide to Chicago - Lakeview Soupbox