In Sugar House, there is an old, established neighborhood business that is chiefly prized for its familiarity. Locally-owned and operated, the Soup Kitchen is a community treasure. Its setting is warm and comfortable, unpretentious, and thankfully, still quiet enough to hold a conversation while you enjoy your food.
The building that was constructed in 1912, and once housed the Eleventh East Furniture Co. When Jim Hefferon bought the building in 1975 for his cherished collection of antiques, there was already a restaurant in the north section of the building. The Soup Kitchen opened there a year later, and soon became a local landmark.
Generations of patrons have occupied the wooden bench in the linoleum-tiled lunch room, admiring the eclectic vintage posters and photographs that decorate the walls. A wooden sign hangs there in homage to the mysterious Antique Shoppe next door, which has been closed since 2004.
A white Detroit Jewel stove serves as a room divider, and servers walk back and forth from the kitchen past an eye-catching green coffee grinder and a wondrous Japanese Nishijin Pachinko pinball machine that may have come from a bar that once operated on the west side of the building.
Three generations of loyal customers appreciate more than the Soup Kitchen’s intriguing décor. It’s the traditional pairings of genuine comfort foods – such as creamy tomato soup and melted cheese sandwiches- that keep loyal patrons coming back. Weekday specials add variety to the menu, but the favorite soups and breads never lose their appeal. Shauna DeBoe has managed this Sugar House café for nearly three decades, and said that one gentleman comes in every day of the week for his SKS (Soup Kitchen Special) Club Sandwich.
For the hundreds of people that pour through the doors on Eleventh East for their favorite lunch-time fare, there is nothing like a bowl of hot clam chowder and a couple of chewy breadsticks on a red plastic tray to satisfy their craving for comforting home-style food.