Anne Galante and Patrick Edwards were busy building a following for their new soup restaurant, The Stockpot, well before they opened this fall in the ViBe Creative District at the Oceanfront.
Each spent a year working in separate restaurants, hunting for the right space and trying their recipes on visitors to the Old Beach Farmer’s Market. Terrapin, the restaurant where Galante worked at the time, had a booth at the market, and Rodney Einhorn, the lead chef and restaurant owner, let them share his tent and test their creations, she said.
They also built a website, developed a logo and gathered a following while they searched for their own permanent location.
“Create a label, create a brand that people would become familiar with and see if they were into the idea of just soups and broths and the health components of it,” Galante said.
In July, they found their spot in a mini-strip mall at the corner of 19th Street and Cypress Avenue in the middle of the ViBe district. Edwards thanked the owners of Wareing’s Gym next door for helping them secure the location.
“We lucked into this place,” he said.
“It’s like it belongs here (in the district),” Galante added, “which is really cool.”
Edwards said they gutted the entire place and put in new walls, ceilings, benches, counters, seating areas, lighting fixtures and decor. They had their soft opening on Sept. 25 and a public opening on Sept. 28.
Their menu features a soup — or two — of the day. They haven’t repeated one soup yet, Edwards, said.
“I’m a little fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants,” Galante said about her creations.
They pride themselves on featuring a menu based primarily on soups, stews and broths. The also serve salads, light sandwiches, breads and pastries.
“I worked in a cafe-style restaurant before for a couple years, so I really kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do,” Galante said. “I didn’t want to get into the whole cuts and deli, because already a lot of other places do that so I wanted to really offer people healthy comfort food, something familiar, but not run of the mill.”
She said they try to shop locally and make foods that are seasonal — lighter, broth-based soups in warm months, and heartier, thicker soups in the winter. Her goal is to always produce “healthy, comfort food” with ingredients that people recognize. If she thinks of something too sophisticated or too complicated to understand, she throws out the idea.
“We are looking to have stuff that you might not be able to find anywhere else in the area,” she said.
Galante said she spends about 95 percent of her day as a chef and creator, while Edwards manages everything else from the servers to the books to even the occasional dish washing shift. The two are responsible for everything that goes in the restaurant, with the help of their 11 employees.
“It’s a dream come true,” Galante said.