The best soup in the Indy loop 

click to enlarge Ralph's Great Divide's "Hot Pot Aug"
  • Ralph's Great Divide's "Hot Pot Aug"
Circle City Soups
We kick our list off with a City Market resident, the savory other half of Circle City Sweets. The lovely folks at Circle City Soups call their establishment a "twelve month celebration of seasonal soups, salads, and sandwiches made with seasonal and local ingredients whenever available." Serving the downtown lunch crowd mostly, CCS tends to stick to the federal holiday calendar (for example, they were closed on the MLK holiday). Even better, the restaurant has expanded their selection to include breakfast - and it's quite a spread on offer. The morning menu includes croissant breakfast sandwiches - one featuring The Smoking Goose's City Ham - steel cut oats, omelettes, pull-apart French Toast and a whole bunch more. You can also ask (nicely) breakfast chef Angela Osborn to make you something special. Look them up on Facebook to get an updated daily list of the soups on the menu. 956-2395

Northside Kitchenette
Another yin-and-yang establishment, Northside Kitchenette is the daywear version of the fancier Northside Social of the evening (under the same ownership as Delicia). In a charming and warm interior, the Kitchenette is the quick meal extension of the sophisticated fare at Northside Social, with daily soups, salads, or brunch food. Just like Circle City Soups, Northside Kitchenette keeps their hungry customers current on the menu through social media. If you're too chilled to wear anything but three layers of sweatpants, worry not: NK will box up any of their offerings for you to enjoy from within a cocoon of microfleece at home. If you're trapped indoors with a larger group of people, they've got that too, with catering for large and small groups. Check their Facebook for menu updates.

Ripple Bagel & Deli
Just around the corner from the Northside Kitchenette is Broad Ripple favorite Ripple Bagel & Deli. If you have trouble finding the place, just look for the giant bagel clock on top of the building. Generally, the Ripple is known for the nearly infinite combinations of bagels and toppings available on their jam-packed chalk menu (and their damn-near-perfect Chicago dog.) But they also serve some of the best hot soups in town, with selections like homemade Santa Fe chili and chicken and noodle soup. It's cold enough outside, we won't judge if you get a sandwich and bedwetter of soup (Ripple's name for it's large-size styrofoam cups). The fridge is full of Ripple's famous sides to take home, but there's something to be said for sitting at the window and watching the snow fall on the Broad Ripple Strip.

John's Famous Stew
John's Famous Stew is one of those places that's been around forever, but they never advertise because the place is always full of regulars. The recipe for the stews of note is passed down, like so many good things in Indiana, from a Macedonian grandmother, and also bears the Hoosier signature of fanfare-free eating, with names like "Mild Stew," "Medium Stew" and the favorite, the "Hot Stew" which is described as simply "very highly spiced." The restaurant also serves some true Hoosier cooking, like tenderloins and fresh pie and anything else that would look at home on a farmhouse table.

Ralph's Great Divide
If you know it, you love it. Ralph's is a local steakhouse that simply screams "local steakhouse," which means great meat on the menu with all the sides and karaoke in the back. You can choose between "Hot Pot Aug" (potato soup au gratin) or "Hot Pot Pig" (potato soup with bacon and hot pepper cheese), or any of the other soups on the menu - Ralph's is also famous for their chili. One note of interest to both parents and patrons: Ralph's asks that customers leave the kids at home, so whether you're kid-avoidant or a parent who needs a friggin' break, this is one place where you can warm up with hot soup and chill out with a cold beer and toddler-free atmosphere.

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