Soups and sandwiches — it’s a combination that rivals some of the greats — salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, and cheese and crackers. In Southern Indiana, we embrace this pairing at our many local and chain restaurants that transform this staple comfort food into a must-have delicacy. Here’s where we head when we think of soups and sandwiches.
Founded in 1998 in Southfield, Michigan, Zoup! has become a frontrunner in the latest restaurant concept of fast-casual soups. Today, the restaurant has more than 60 locations in 15 states and Canada. Evansville’s first Zoup! opened on the East Side in 2009 and was the chain’s first Indiana restaurant. Zoup! offers a rotating selection of a dozen daily soups like the chicken potpie, a creamy chicken soup made with mixed vegetables and garnished with pie dough, and several delicious sandwich options such as the 4 Cheese Melt, which has pepper jack, smoked Gouda, provolone, and mild cheddar and toasted on country French bread.
6240 E. Virginia St., 812-477-2664; 4660 N. First Ave., 812-423-1800
The Hornet’s Nest has been in Evansville longer than most. A remnant from the 1800s, the Hornet’s Nest keeps the feel of a tavern with the food of a steakhouse. The Earle Philly (named for the restaurant’s location in what is called, Earle, Indiana) is legendary with the Nest’s mouth-watering roast beef thinly sliced, grilled peppers and onions, and mushrooms all buried under melted Swiss. For more roast beef love, the French Dip also is a crowd pleaser with Swiss cheese and au jus on the side. You can’t go wrong pairing either of these sumptuous sandwiches with the chili.
11845 Petersburg Road, 812-867-2386
Silver Bell Restaurant
More than two decades ago, Sean Powers, of Poseyville, Indiana, was a student at Purdue University without a real plan. He became inspired by his mother and father’s former restaurant, the Country Cottage Restaurant in New Harmony, Indiana, and purchased The Silver Bell from the previous owners in 1991. The Saint Wendel, Indiana, restaurant offers chili and a vegetable beef soup daily. The Silver Bell also serves several classic sandwiches with some twists like the Bell Burger, a half-pound burger with American and mozzarella cheese, grilled mushrooms, onions, roasted peppers, bacon, and barbecue sauce.
4424 Saint Wendel Road, Wadesville, IN, 812-963-0944
Jeanne’s Gelato and More
Just a single bite of the creamy, frozen gelato transports your mind to sitting outside of a café in Italy. Taste all the flavors of Italy by trying Jeanne’s grilled sandwiches or Panini, which is Italian for bread roll. Try the Tuscan Chicken Panini with seasoned grilled chicken strips, provolone cheese, and sundried tomato pesto on sourdough bread, or go for the Venetian with ham, Genoa salami, pepperoni, Swiss cheese, and Dijon mayonnaise on sourdough bread. Three soups are served daily with 15 options rotated — nearly all of which are homemade. Panini are served with chips and soups come with a bread roll.
2003 Lincoln Ave., 812-479-8272
Emge’s Deli and Ice Cream
Victor Emge, who served mostly to barge workers, created this Downtown Main Street staple in 1932 in an alley off Main Street as a wholesale meat shop. In 1974, Jan Howell and her late husband Tom, owners of Potato Processors on Virginia Street, purchased the meat shop and moved it to Main Street 20 years ago. The New Yorker is one of Emge’s signature sandwiches with grilled corned beef, pepper jack cheese, and creamy coleslaw between two pieces of grilled rye bread. The restaurant varies its soups each week and posts the daily offerings to Facebook to let its customers know. The many soup options range from chicken tortilla to cream of mushroom.
206 Main St., 812-422-3026
Pair a soup and a sandwich perfectly together with the “You Pick 2” option at the popular chain Panera Bread. The restaurant offers 12 varieties of hot soups ranging from New England Clam Chowder to Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup and more than 15 Panini and sandwich options from the Tomato & Mozzarella Panini to the Asiago Steak Sandwich. Combine the best of both worlds in a single bread bowl, letting your baked potato soup coat the sides of your bowl. Give your spoon a rest and break off the sides of your bowl to dip into the creamy and cheesy goodness.
220 N. Burkhardt Road, 812-476-7477
Bits & Bytes Deli
While technology has upgraded to CDs and removable flash drives, the sandwich served at Bits & Bytes Deli will never go out of style. The Floppy Disk is considered its specialty with your choice of deli meat, topped with Colby Jack cheese, alfalfa sprouts, and its “special sauce” on pita bread. The restaurant, which was opened in 1986, also offers many other sandwich options from the Rueben to a B.L.T., or order a bowl of the hearty chili.
216 N.W. Fourth St., 812-423-5113
Pita Pit introduced Evansville to a new type of sandwich in 2012 when it opened in the former location of Briar & Bean Coffee Shop on the East Side. The restaurant began in Canada in 1997, and within two years it had crossed the border to the U.S. Pita sandwiches are fresh-to-order and can be enjoyed on either a white or wheat pita, or served as a salad, which is referred to as fork-style. Each pita can be customized to an individual’s tastes. Make it a combo by adding a soup as a side!
1211 Tutor Lane, 812-402-6205
Lic’s Deli & Ice Cream
Since the 1950s, Lic’s Deli & Ice Cream has been an Evansville tradition. Now with nine stores in the local area, all the ice cream and bread is made from scratch. The chicken noodle and dumpling soup is a must have with a velvety chicken broth, juicy pieces of white and dark meat chicken, and a generous helping of homemade dumplings. Try it coupled with their grilled cheese with thick sliced bread and the choice of three different cheeses: American, Swiss, or pepper jack. Their tasty grilled chicken salad sandwich also comes highly recommended.