A small but cozy restaurant on North College Avenue, Darn Good Soup, is often buzzing with college students and Bloomington residents alike. They are all there for one dish: soup.
According to some visitors, however, it is not just any ordinary soup. In fact, its name might express their opinions: Darn Good Soup.
“It’s good, healthy food, and it’s fast,” said Nels Boerner, the owner of Darn Good Soup.
Boerner has worked most of his life in the restaurant industry. He said he always had a talent for making soups, which fit in well with his desire to open a simple and no-fuss restaurant. These two factors, he said, seemed to go hand in hand.
“It became clear that I was good at making soups," he said. "And I really liked it.”
Darn Good Soup opened in March 2011, and Boerner said it has been successful ever since. It may be particularly busy in the fall and winter, but customers can appreciate the restaurant's soup all year round.
With vegetarian and vegan options, fresh ingredients from Piazza Produce in Indianapolis and dessert from Hartzell's Ice Cream, Darn Good Soup appeals to countless palates.
The restaurant’s menu changes daily, so customers can be surprised at every visit. Its stated mission is “to provide delicious, healthy food — FAST.”
It is listed as no. 8 out of 270 restaurants in Bloomington on the travel website TripAdvisor, and is ranked first on its “cheap eats” list.
The restaurant has about 70 recipes in use with a few of the most popular staying on the menu throughout the year, including flavors like lentil spinach and chicken tortilla.
Boerner picked up many of his recipes during his restaurant career, but he also created some of his own to accommodate customers’ requests. Boerner said he enjoys the restaurant’s most popular recipes.
Darn Good Soup’s plans for the future are uncertain, but it will be changing locations within the next year. Boerner also mentioned the possibility of opening a second location in Bloomington if he can maintain his no-fuss and simple business model.
In the meantime, however, he said the restaurant simply plans to continue what it has been emphasizing all along: making good soup.
Many IU students can testify to Darn Good Soup’s popular ratings. Jacob Jacquay, a freshman, said he enjoys the convenience and service of the restaurant, as well as its food.
“They have good portion sizes for their prices, and they have really good flavors as well,” he said. “Darn Good Soup is darn good.”
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