Three Door County Restaurants with Unique Soups for Cold Days

Soup isn’t just for when it’s cold outside. Just ask the folks who run some of Door County’s soup joints.

“We also sell a lot on hot summer days,” said Sarah Gibson, co-owner and general manager of Jackson Harbor Soup & Sandwiches on Washington Island.

“Even in the summer it’s surprising how much soup we sell,” said Susan Guthrie, co-owner of the Bluefront Cafe in Sturgeon Bay. “I’m like, ‘Really? It’s 90 degrees in there!'”

That said, this is the time of year when temperatures drop and winds blow coldly in Wisconsin. Not to mention the autumn rains, with sleet and snow probably not far behind.

And when that happens, people who are out in this weather – like holiday shopping, enjoying fall or winter recreation, attending a tree-lighting ceremony – and are ready for lunch. are often looking for something warm and filling to warm their icy bones. Like the soup.

Most Door County restaurants have soup on their menu, but many make a point of creating and serving unique soups made from scratch that diners are unlikely to find in other restaurants, let alone. in a box at the grocery store. One of those locations, The Summer Kitchen in Ephraim, is not open during the colder seasons, typically closing on the weekends after Halloween.

Here’s a quick look at three restaurants on the Peninsula that currently have a steaming cup or bowl of something special for lunch on a cold day.

Bluefront Cafe, Sturgeon Bay

The Bluefront only has one soup of the day on its menu (although now that it is November it also has an Asian noodle bowl which is truly an everyday soup), but it won’t be like a soup that you will find in most places. How about moqueca (a Brazilian fish stew), butternut squash with maple curry or a Tex-Mex corn chowder?

The Asian Noodle Bowl at Bluefront Cafe in Sturgeon Bay.

Guthrie said she, chef and co-owner Patrick Barbercheck and their kitchen staff have suggestions and are free to experiment. Chef Adriana Zumpeno-Stack from Brazil created the moqueca that ended up on the menu, for example, and sometimes a soup is made from what is normally a main course, like Indian soup chicken tikka masala with coriander and lime rice.

“(The different soups) are more interesting to us, and we’re interested in different ethnic flavors,” Guthrie said. “And, we have talented cooks in the kitchen who like to do different things … do different things. We prefer to make just one good soup a day.”

Guthrie said that of the 10 to 12 different soups the Bluefront serves each month, the Thai-style and curry-based soups have proven popular with customers, as have the chowder and chili varieties in the cafe, such as a chili made from butternut squash. . One of his favorites, besides the various curry and coconut soups, is the Chicken and Meatball Soup that Zumpeno-Stack makes from scratch, right down to the meatballs.

Adriana Zumpeno-Stack of Bluefront Cafe in Sturgeon Bay makes dumplings for what cafe owner Susan Guthrie calls the "best chicken meatball soup ever."

Local produce is used wherever possible – you won’t find coconuts in Door County for curry – and can influence the menu as well. Guthrie said that when corn is plentiful in the summer at Sully’s Produce, for example, many corn chowders are made.

Besides the homemade taste, she said she thinks diners appreciate the variety and effort involved in creating and making such soups.

“(The variety) is very well received,” Guthrie said. “You can go to a lot of places to get the usual. A lot of places are just bagged porridge.”

The Bluefront Cafe is located at 86 W. Maple St. Soups are served by the cup, bowl or pint and in combination with half sandwiches. Open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday (closed in January). For soup of the day and specials, visit; for more information call 920-743-9218 or visit

Czarnuska Soup Bar, Ephraim

Named after a black seed popular in Polish cuisine, Czarnuska is one of Ephraim’s most popular establishments, offering a rotating menu of four soups and two sandwiches each day. The soups are made from scratch much like soups in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Central America and West Africa, according to its Facebook page.

Bohemian potato chowder is an everyday item, but the rotation includes soups like khao soi (a Thai curry noodle soup with beef and pickled mustard greens), sesame kielbasa, Spicy ginger, black-eyed peas and andouille, cheddar bratwurst and kraut, and miso roasted parsnip, to name a few. More familiar soups like rustic beans and ham are also on the menu.

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Czarnuska Soup Bar is located at 9922 Water St. Hours of operation are 11 am to 3 pm Thursday through Monday. Soups are served by the cup or bowl. For the daily menu or more information, visit the Facebook page “Czarnuska Soup Bar”.

Jackson Harbor Soup and Sandwiches, Washington Island

This restaurant just off the Rock Island Ferry dock on the northeast side of the island offers three soups each day – baked French onion, beer and cheddar, and Gibson’s favorite, Grammy’s Creamy Potato – as well as two to four more soups of the day made by Gibson’s sister, Becca Gibson.

Gibson said their location is one of the keys to the restaurant’s success, giving people traveling to and from Rock Island the chance to grab a soup and a sandwich or a salad. The other is the food itself, of course.

“There are a lot of places for burgers,” she said. “There aren’t many places for a soup with a sandwich.”

Bisques are popular soups among customers, like the recently served shrimp bisque, and the pumpkin black bean and Thai coconut shrimp soups have also gone really well this year, Gibson said.

Other unique soups that have recently appeared on the menu are whitefish or salmon chowders, chorizo ​​hominy, chili corn chowder and ginger carrot, as well as a borscht prepared in recognition of the Russian employee. of the establishment. These soups join old school favorites like creamy chicken and rice, Italian marriage, and split peas and ham.

Jackson Harbor Soup & Sandwiches can be found at 1904 Indian Point Road. Fall hours are 11 am to 3 pm Thursday to Monday; the restaurant closes for the season on november 27 and reopens in april. Soups are served by the cup, bowl (bread bowls available), and pint with half sandwich combos available. For daily soups and daily specials, visit; for more information call 920-847-2589 or visit

Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected]

Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement