“Soup and sociability for a worthy cause.” (New York Times)
“Chicago’s most laid-back, nutritious party.” (Grub Street Chicago)
“Kind of like the Iron Chef of soup.” (Centerstage Chicago)
“Hot, tasty philanthropy.” (Village Voice)
Soup & Bread is a free weekly community meal based at the Hideout, a bar and music venue in Chicago.
Each week we round up a handful of chefs, caterers, musicians, writers, artists, and home cooks of every persuasion to donate pots of soup. We serve them up to all comers — along with fresh bread donated by Publican Quality Meats — until the pots run dry or the late-night jazz guys kick us out. It was designed to be an easy, low-key way to get folks out of the house and socializing in the dead of a dark Chicago winter — not to mention, when we started this up in 2009 our friends were losing their jobs left and right. At times these past few years it’s seemed the entire city could use a nice hot bowl of soup.
Toward that end, while the meal is free, we solicit pay-what-you-can donations each week that are donated in turn to a wide range of neighborhood food pantries and hunger relief agencies. Over the last six years, through events at the Hideout and out of town in Madison, New York City, Seattle, and beyond, we have raised more than $50,000 for Chicago-area food pantries as well as the Greater Chicago Food Depository (the central food bank serving the Chicago region), the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, and Western Washington’s Food Lifeline.
In November 2011 Agate Publishing released founder Martha Bayne’s Soup & Bread Cookbook: Building Community One Pot at a Time, a compilation of recipes from Soup & Bread paired with stories of the ways groups around the country use soup to both bring people together and reach out to others. There’s a whole lot more info on that here.
A portion of the proceeds from all sales of the Soup & Bread Cookbook and related Soup & Bread merchandise is donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Soup & Bread 2014 starts January 8 and runs Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, through mid-April. There’s never a cover charge, and kids are welcome if accompanied by an adult. Come on by and say hi!