Few people were sadder to say goodbye to Crescent Market last year than Terry Sinclair.
The closing of the red-carpeted grocer after more than a century of service was met with much mourning, but for Sinclair it was a jolt to the business she's maintained more than 20 years, Soup Soup.
She found homes for her line of prepared foods at Whole Foods and Bill Kamp's Meat Market, but it didn't completely fill the void, so in April she opened a retail space at 7606 N Western Ave., where she sells her signature soups, salads, desserts and casseroles with a few new twists, six days a week.
These days, you can arrange to drop an empty casserole dish by in the morning with a recipe or a request, and pick it up that afternoon ready to feed the family. Or you can drop by during lunch for a hot sandwich and soup or a fresh salad and a slice of cake.
It's a long way from a project Sinclair agreed to when her youngest child began full-day schooling close to 25 years ago. Sinclair began with business partner and friend Nancy Rowntree, who was the primary cook.
“Nancy was a terrific cook, and I didn't do much cooking at the time, so she did most of the cooking, and I did the organizing.”
Sinclair's organizing included helping with the annual McGuinness auction and various other charity events throughout the years.
Soon, they were selling their goods at Crescent Market and developed a strong following and more demand.
About eight years into the venture, Rowntree decided to do something new, and it was time for Sinclair's developing cooking skills to come to maturity.
“I just kept working on it,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair carried on the business and expanded it to offer a wider selection of menu items and eventually catering. As business increased, Sinclair needed help, so she enlisted her sisters Susan Wade and Chris LeBoeuf.
“We do lots of catering now,” Sinclair said. “It's really picked up in the last five years.”
Sinclair said the desserts come mostly from family recipes, but said she loves to try to replicate the recipes of others. She said spring rolls are the newest product she's proud to serve.
“The spring rolls are really great,” she said. “I'm really proud of them, and I think people will be surprised at how much you can do with them.”
Salads are based in greens, pasta or grain.
“I've really enjoyed working with quinoa,” she said. “People are always surprised by how good it is.”
Soup Soup has recently started doing prepared dinners such as tilapia, pork loin and chicken, served with various sides. She said she also tries to offer at least one heart-smart entree on the menu.
But the bread and butter remains soup. Soup Soup offers seven different soups every week, with the recipes often changing.
“I do a different tomato, a different bean, a different vegetable and a different potato soup every week,” she said. “But I also do cold soups like gazpacho now, which are perfect for summer.”
Soup Soup is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The store is just north of Brown Bag Deli.