Soup and Bread

Soup & Bread FAQ


What is Soup & Bread?

Launched in 2009 at the Hideout bar, Soup & Bread ran as a weekly event every January through March until Chicago’s stay at home order was implemented on March 17, 2020. It returned to the Hideout as a monthly event in January 2023. While the meal is free, we solicit pay-what-you-can donations at each event that are given in turn to a wide range of neighborhood food pantries, mutual aid funds, and hunger relief agencies. Since 2009, through events at the Hideout, other sites in Chicago, and out of town in Madison, New York City, Seattle, and beyond, we have raised more than $100,000 for Chicago-area food pantries, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Western Washington’s Food Lifeline, among other organizations.

Soup & Bread project has been covered in regional and national media and has spawned events around the world, including long-running Soup & Bread projects in Cleveland, Oh., Madison, Wi,, Lexington, Ky., Grand Rapids, Mi., and Oslo, Norway. Our 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, is available on Bookshop. There’s more info on that here.

What is Soup & Bread: Chicago?

Soup & Bread is based at the Hideout, a bar and music club in Chicago. There is a sister Soup & Bread in the Western suburb of Forest Park, started by some regulars at the Hideout event who wanted to do some good closer to home.

Where’s the Hideout? Is there parking?

1354 W. Wabansia, just east of Elston Avenue and two blocks north of North Avenue.  There is free street parking.

Is there a cover?

There is no set cover. We ask for a pay-what-you-can donation for the food, but we don’t monitor your contribution, and won’t judge you if you’re skint. For each event we partner with a different neighborhood food pantry, mutual aid fund, or hunger-relief organization, and pass along your donations to them.

So wait, this is at a bar? Can I bring my kids?

Yes, you can bring your kids, as long as they are supervised by a parent or guardian.

Can I bring my dog? 


Do I need to show up with soup?

No — in fact, we’d rather you didn’t. For each event we schedule six to eight soup cooks ahead of time — both culinary professionals and enthusiastic amateurs — to cook and serve soup for you. The soup service area is small and our electrical system is a bit dodgy. We can’t handle more soup than that.

OK. But I make a mean soup. What do I have to do to get on this “schedule”? 

If you’d like to cook for Soup & Bread: Chicago email Martha at soupnbread10 [at] gmail [dot] com and let her know what date(s) you are available. She will get back to you and get you on the list. We ask cooks to prepare 2-3 gallons of soup — any kind of soup! — and to bring it hot (or close enough). We provide crock pots, ladles, bowls, and spoons.

Can I bring bread? Or brownies?

That would be swell. Currently our bread is donated by the fine people at Middlebrow Bread and  Publican Quality Bread, but we’ll always take more. And desserts? Bring ’em on.

Are you on social media?

Yes. We’re on Instagram as @soupbreadchi and on Facebook as a both a group (called Soup & Bread) and a page (called Soup & Bread: Chicago).

Are you a soup kitchen? I mean, who comes to eat your soup?

We get a diverse crowd each week: old and young, regulars and newbies. But while we don’t quiz people on why they’re here, we are not directly serving those in need of supplemental food assistance. Our events are at a bar, and a very small one at that. We don’t really have the physical infrastructure or the social service capacity to effectively serve a truly needy population. What we are doing is raising money for those who do and can.

Are you a registered 501 C-3 nonprofit?

We are not, buy you can still donate to Soup & Bread via our PayPal account if you are so moved.

Can my band play at Soup & Bread?


This is all super cool. Can I get involved somehow?

Thank you so much for saying that. We don’t have a huge need for volunteers at the event right now, but we do need soup cooks. Email soupnbread10 [at] gmail to get on the list.

What if I want to do my own Soup & Bread?

Go for it! It’s easy — we have helped others stage pop-up Soup & Bread events in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Nashville, Milwaukee, Detroit, Seattle, and elsewhere. If you decide to start one of your own, please get in touch. Here’s how to begin. We’re happy to advise/help at whatever level appropriate.