FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Having won the title of Best Soup in New Jersey from food website The Daily Meal, the Fanwood Grille has expanded the availability of its award-winning soups to the Scotch Plains Farmers Market this fall.
Among the soups that the eatery has sold at the market are its famed lobster bisque and New England clam chowder, the popular chicken noodle soup, and vegetarian options including butternut squash. Last week, the Fanwood Grille sampled its gazpacho at the annual Farm to Table Dinner event, sponsored by the Scotch Plains Farmers Market.
Now that September has hit and cooler weather prevails, soup sales have soared.
“Once the calendar flipped to September, people come in looking for soup again. It goes out by the bagful. Some people don’t buy just one; they take two or three at a time and stock up for week,” says executive chef Paul Watterson of the Fanwood Grille, who begins cooking most days at 5:00 a.m.
“People go crazy for the hearty soups once the weather gets cooler. A five-gallon pot of corn chowder usually sells out the same day,” Watterson adds. “We are getting requests already for our Thanksgiving soup (a cream-based soup with chunks of turkey with stuffing, potato, and fettuccine pasta.
Some of the soups are traditional and others are Grille exclusives, such as mango chicken habanero, a sweet-and-spicy soup invented last spring, Mexican chicken mole soup, and a new Maryland crab bisque that combines tender lump crab, Old Bay and other spices, vegetables and cream.
“There’s nothing else like it. The feedback we get from customers is incredible,” Watterson adds.
Selling at the market has widened the customer base outside of Fanwood and Scotch Plains since the Farmers Market attracts people from all across the area. Now that summer vacations are over, Watterson sees more customers coming off the train to pick up soups.
“You never know which soups you are going to find. It’s a convenient dinner on the way home. It’s real home cooking without cooking at home,” says Watterson, who is looking at distributing his award-winning soups at restaurants and retail locations outside of the immediate area.
Fanwood Grille Soup List (Fall 2018)
- Broccoli & Cheese
- Butternut Squash
- Chicken Mole
- Chicken Noodle
- Corn Chowder
- Crab Bisque
- Fish Chowder
- Grandma’s Spanish Chicken Soup
- Hearty Beef & Vegetable
- Italian Hot Dog Soup
- Lobster Bisque
- Mexican Chicken Tortilla
- Mango Chicken Habanero
- Manhattan Clam Chowder
- New England Clam Chowder
- New Orleans Chicken Gumbo
- Pea Soup
- Lentil Soup
- Thanksgiving (Turkey) Soup
- Tomato Bisque
- Vegan Butternut Squash
Editor's Note: TAPintoSPF publisher John Mooney is owner of The Fanwood Grille.