For the seventh spoon-lickin’ year, downtown restaurants will by vying for the title in the Souper Soup contest this Saturday as part of the Savour The Chill event.
Initially started as a component of the Downtown Winterfest celebration, the contest has remained a popular attraction even though Winterfest has since fallen by the wayside.
“It’s a friendly competition,” said Brenda Foran, owner of Bren’s Bake Shop. Foran, who came up with the idea back in 2003, has competed in the contest every year.
Beginning at 12 noon on Saturday the public can visit each of the 13 participating restaurants and pay $1 to sample the restaurant’s soup. Customers choose their top three favourites on provided ballots which must be delivered to the Belleville Downtown Improvement Area office at 267 Front Street by 4 p.m. Winners will be announced next week.
In years past, Foran said, the participation in the contest has been “amazing” with hundreds of residents coming out to sample and judge.
“It’s February and everybody needs a jump somehow,” Foran said. “This is a way to get people downtown and the public is the judge so the restaurants want to pull out all the stops.”
The contest is part of the BDIA’s bid to bring more people into the downtown core during the cooler winter weather. Dianne Shipley, administrator for the BDIA, said the event has always proven to be popular and with the free family skate at the Memorial Arena this year organizers are expecting the same results.
“It is exciting. It’s going to be a fun, fun day,” Shipley said. “We’re going to be hanging balloons outside the participating restaurants so people can walk from site to site and do their taste testing.”
Due to the contest’s popularity in years past Foran said residents should show up early because restaurants tend to run out of their product before the 3 p.m. deadline.
“Hopefully, the restaurants will make more,” she said. “I don’t care about winning, I just like to have the energy downtown.”
The free skate will begin Saturday evening at 7 p.m. and continues until 9 p.m. Anyone who wears a hockey jersey to the skate will also receive a free gourmet hot chocolate from Foran.
Restaurants participating in the contest this year are: Bren’s Bake Shop, Café E, Capers, China Gate, Dinkels/Paulo’s, Earl and Angelo’s, L’Auberge de France, Lou’s Cozy Grill, Modern Café, Organic Underground, Urban Herb Catering Service, Sweet Escape and Y’Wanna Hav’a Café.
W. BRICE MCVICAR, THE INTELLIGENCER