Monday, April 11, 2016

Soup Up cuts back hours in Bethesda (Photos)

Soup Up Bethesda will now be closed on weekends. The restaurant opened last fall in the Peripoint Building at 5001 Wilson Lane. Normal hours will still be in effect on weekdays.

43 comments:

Poppy said...

We have never had their food before, but this seems like a wise move. By being open during the week they position themselves towards a more working class sort of customer. Traditionally, those are the people who are the most enthusiastic about patronizing a soup kitchen and having to stand in line to do so.

Anonymous said...

If we had lured Boeing here, this wouldn't be happening.

Anonymous said...

@ Poppy: Maybe Dyer could do a comparison test between the soup here and the soup at Christ Lutheran Church.

Andrea Li said...

Sad but this place never stood a chance. That building is difficult - bounded by a big intersection with heavy traffic roads, no parkinf, odd layout, high rent...

Anonymous said...

Hopefully we won't see some "creative adaptation" to the Steamer's site as we saw with this site and the former homeless shelter.

Andrew said...

This sounds like it would have been an ideal business for a small space on the first floor of an office building, not where it is.

Anonymous said...

Duh.

Anonymous said...

It's not the building or the location -- it's the poorly-run business. There are two other restaurants on the very same block (the Chinese restaurant and Aden pizza). Both have been around for years. You don't see them cutting back on their hours.

If a restaurant cuts back on hours like that, it means they can't earn enough to cover the marginal costs of the labor for those additional hours (rent is a fixed cost whether you're open or not). That's pitiful.

I've been predicting this place's demise since they opened. The soup idea is fine and unique in Bethesda, but it's so poorly executed. Look at their menu for the week:
http://www.soupup.us/

Only 5 different soups on offer! Look at their description for the lentil soup: " A sassy dish that is amazing with basmati or jasmine rice, baked potato, or by itself."

So their soup goes well with rice or a baked potato, but they don't sell either! Why mention a good pairing if you don't even sell it? Would a typical restaurant mention their entree goes well with Wine X, then not sell that wine?

Then the menu itself. They should offer typical comfort soups people are used to: MD crab soup, clam chowder, gazpacho, french onion. Do the typical soups and do them well... but they aren't.

I gave them a try more than once, each time hoping they'd improve, but it was failure every time. Once I went and the soup had full springs of rosemary still in the soup. I'm no chef, but even I know you're supposed to remove those before you server to the customer. I was crunching away on twigs!

Anonymous said...

With your negative review, how'd they get the Bethesda Magazine Editor's Choice Award that's in their window above?

Or is the Award simply given to top advertisers in the Mag?

Anonymous said...

7:13 AM - Why don't you go over there and ask them, Dyer-relative?

Anonymous said...

Another one bites the dust. This place didn't have a chance.

Anonymous said...

@7:13 My wife was commenting on that when we walked by, as we ate there and neither of us liked it. They use those awards to drum up business for the magazine. It was probably in some super-narrow category like "Best soup restaurant in Bethesda" or "Best restaurant in Peripoint building". Then, they charge businesses for a nice plaque and stickers to show off the award, and they also have a big awards dinner you have to pay to attend, and they also encourage you to buy advertising in their magazine.

It's $60/ticket to get a ticket for the awards party. Hurry up before they're all sold out! Get your hand ready to pat some backs too!

Anonymous said...

"There are two other restaurants on the very same block (the Chinese restaurant and Aden pizza). Both have been around for years."

It's not that simple. There have been restaurants in those locations for decades, but there has been turnover in ownership/type of restaurant for both. The name of the North China restaurant goes back a couple of decades, but the owner, corporate name, and cuisine changed about 9 years ago to Taiwanese cuisine. And the restaurant itself shrunk to half its original size and changed format to carryout/delivery only last year.

Anonymous said...

@7:32 I'm not sure your point. Those restaurants have been around for a while, and they are still open, including on weekends. That to me is a sign of success. Why can't Soup Up that is mere feet away, make enough revenue to also stay open on weekends?

In my experience, it's due to a limited menu, poor quality product, and pricing that is too high.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:51 AM - 7:32 AM here. I'm not challenging your analysis, just saying that those other businesses have changed through the years. Though, as you point out, they have generally done well.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but what kind of an idiot would open a business in a building where every business has quickly tanked? Listen up everyone...it's a HORRIBLE location, stay away.

Anonymous said...

That space is haunted or hexed or cursed or something. The ghosts of vacuum cleaners past?

I'm a soup person. Have it several times a week. This place doesn't cut it. With a little tweaking they could have a chance, but as others have said, it needs more---1/2 sandwiches, baked potatoes, 1/2 salads. Panera, Zoe's, even Don Pollo make a good soup (cilantro-heavy though.)

Anonymous said...

7:51, North China shrinking to the point of not having a dining room and only being a window for carry out/delivery doesn't mean it's successful. I think it will be completely gone within a year. And the other one you cite is on it's 2nd or 3rd restaurant within the past 2 years. So 2 failures with the 3rd a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

North China probably has a much lower rent too.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to disagree folks, but I've been to Soup Up about four times, three of those with one of my kids, and we've been very satisfied each time. Unfortunately, the place has always been nearly empty when I'm there in the evenings and there do seem to be some management issues. But a soup restaurant is a hard sell, since most people don't see it as a meal, and the corner gets very little foot traffic. This place deserves more success and I hope it finds it.

And no, I'm not related to the owner, the landlord, or anyone else connected to this establishment.

Anonymous said...

@10:01 I think if they offered heartier soups (beef stew, clam chowder, etc) it would be seen more like a meal. The problem is they have a commitment to no dairy products, butter, or oil in their soups. That means a lot of popular soups are a no-go, like any chowder, cream of X, and french onion.

So they're trying to be vegan (I realize they have a few meat soups though, but mostly vegan) and offer soups which is a hard sell to begin with. Bad product mix.

There are soup places at food courts in the mall and those do perfectly fine. They also offer better soups.

I drove by at 12:30pm today -- prime lunch time, and weather is not bad today -- and there were 3 customers in the place from what I could see.

Anonymous said...

They should add some varieties of ramen to their menu. I went to a ramen chain (Wagamama) and there were lines out the door.

Anonymous said...

Where is there a Wagamama around here? Been to one in MA, and it's way more than just a ramen place. :)

Poppy said...

I believe Wagamama is only in Boston. It is wonderful and so delicious for a quick lunch though. A lot of great progressive things are formed in Massachusetts and make their way down to DC. Boloco, Vineyard Vines and the Kennedy family are just three examples.

Anonymous said...

Wagamana formed in Boston? It's a London-based chain. There are hundreds of them.

Poppy said...

@12:38 So it looks like you are correct. I am blushing. Although two things in my defense:

It is not the type of cuisine I would normally be seeking out when I am in London.

Technically you could make a case for the Kennedy Family being a product or Ireland, but I am taking a little poetic license in my post in calling them and Wagamama Bostonian products.

But either way thank you for the correction.

Anonymous said...

That's code for out of business. Told you so here and elsewhere. Dead on arrival. Horrible concept and worse location.

Anonymous said...

It's a fashionable, organic soup kitchen, with delicious bone broth (protein) and salads. Should be up the alley of fashionable people such as yourself (or your online persona,)

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I've tried and the food was delicious, but pricey for what it was.

Anonymous said...

The Dyer-relative line is already past its sell-by date. Not happening. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Ok so we know this restaurant will be bankrupt by the end of the year. Who's next? My money is on Gusto Italian Grill.

Anonymous said...

Wagamama was supposed to open a D.C. location about five or six years ago. Had the space, hung signs, and started the build-out, and it all came to a screeching halt before being abandoned. No reason was ever given. But it would have been a fabulous addition to the local restaurant scene.

Anonymous said...

Gusto among a dozen other crappy places. When are people going to realize that restaurants in the downtown district are pretty universally terrible and many more will fail? Shouldn't happen but it is.

Anonymous said...

Once this place vacates I want to open a vacuum shop!

Anonymous said...

5:17 - Thanks. Was pretty sure I hadn't missed one opening locally. Wonder why they bailed. Shame. It would be a good fit for the area.

Anonymous said...

Now that's funny

Anonymous said...

That building would be perfect for a vacuum cleaner store.

Poppy said...

Our domestic will be pleased if a new local vacuum boutique opens in this space. If the shopping experience is stylish enough, I could see myself buying her a new vacuum for every floor of the house!

Anonymous said...

Poppy, please go back to your own fiction. You are the antithesis of progressive.

Anonymous said...

I love this little building and have ever since it was redone. Talk about great use of color, space and light. It's a little jewel sitting on it's perch on that corner...I don't know just something about it is interesting and calming at the same time, it has all these doo dads jutting off of it, but it works. Kudos to the builder for not doing a tear down and for the LEED status. The proportionality is key here it actually fits in to the space perfectly.

And, no, I don't know the builder or anyone associated with the building. Gonna have to try the soup now though after everyone here was discussing it!

Anonymous said...

Better get the soup while you can. They'll be a lease sign on that door before summer ends.

Anonymous said...

4:56: Why do you care whether there's a lease there or not?

Anonymous said...

Lease sign on the door means Soup Up is Soup Out. I'm I missing something?