We’ll see you in there.
Connect to customize your food & drink discovery.
Soul Provisions, the home of Toronto Soup Co., has been a pillar in donating to Toronto's communities in need and has recently expanded into the downtown core. They will continue to donate and sell their delicious artisanal soups, popsicles and other homemade goods.
Owner and founder Sara Schwartz Geller started Toronto Soup Company to give back to the community and help feed people who are hungry.
"I've always had a need in my heart to feed people. Hunger is unfathomable and is totally unnecessary," Geller says.
Around five years ago, when Geller and her kids were driving down the Allen after Shabbat dinner on Friday night, they noticed how many people were standing on the street looking for food. They decided to start a tradition where after dinner, they would bring all the extra food and give it to those who were in need.
This turned into them making more soup and giving it out on Saturdays until one of her sons thought perhaps she should start selling soup, so they could gather some profits in order to make even more soup to donate! Geller loved the idea, and from it, came the origins of Toronto Soup Co.
Once a week, Geller would rent a commercial kitchen in Scarborough where she would make huge batches of soup. She then launched her website and began selling soup by delivery only, and for every litre sold, they would donate one away to someone in need.
When the pandemic hit, Geller had lost her international theatrical touring company, but had recently taken over a commercial space in Oakwood Village that became her first Soul Provisions brick and mortar location, where folks could come in and buy soup, along with other necessities.
Though Soul Provisions is home to Toronto Soup Co., Geller decided to dive into making artisanal popsicles as a way to diversify her goods for sale.
"I had to think of what the opposite of soup would be, and popsicles immediately came to mind. This way, we can warm you up when you're cold and cool you down when you're hot," Geller says.
By carrying a myriad of soulful products, Geller could represent herself and the neighbourhood that she is selling to. Coming from a Jewish family, she knew she wanted to carry challah bread, matzo ball soup and everything you would need to host a soulful Shabbat dinner.
"I noticed that all these younger families with kids who were used to going to their parents once a week for Friday night dinner, were having to fend for themselves. So I thought I could be the hub for Shabbat!"
There is also a sizeable Caribbean contingency in the Oakwood area, so Geller brought in a chef of Caribbean decent to create patties and other favourites that those in the area would appreciate.
The purpose of opening a second location on Queen Street West was to not only create an opportunity to give their staff more working hours but because after a rocky summer, the neighbourhood needed a little more heart and a little more soul.
"People don't realize that there are a lot of families that live in the West Queen West area, and there really isn't a lot of affordable food. We want to be able to provide prepared foods for those who live in the area, not just for tourists or people visiting for the day."
The soup menu is heavily inspired by Jewish-fare and rotates on the daily. Favourites include chicken noodle soup, matzo ball soup and beef barley. They are also known for their International-inspired soup options like the Chai Carrot Lentil, the Mulligatawny (an Indian lentil-based soup) and the Caribbean corn soup, which has become a Soul Provisions staple.
Geller says, "Our soup isn't restaurant-style. It's home-style, which means you are eating a lower sodium product. I try to make food that you could, and should, eat every day." Sticking with their soulful roots, each litre of soup purchased at either Soul Provisions location will result in one litre of soup being donated to a community member in need of a warm meal.
As for the popsicles, they are vegan, made in small batches, and are oh-so-creamy. The flavours are mostly fruit (or cocktail) based and also change daily. There's even an option to customize your own flavour box of 8 for a personalized culinary gift.
Past flavours have included Pink Sangria, Margarita, Baileys & Cream with Oreo, Yogurt with Berries & Honey, Café Latte, Blueberry Lemonade, Kiwi Ginger Lemon Mint and Pineapple Sour Strawberry.
Soul Provisions on Queen West is also home to an art gallery which gives local artists an opportunity to display their art, which can be sold as guests venture in to purchase goods. Geller also has a range of curated commercial paintings for sale for those who are looking for something to hang up in their home, without breaking the bank.
With vines hanging from the ceiling, and beautiful lighting, Geller says, "I want to give people a magical experience where they can come in, feel great, see something beautiful, and leave feeling fulfilled with soul."
Soul Provisions' (Home of Toronto Soup Co.) second location is now open at 847 Queen Street West, Tuesday through Sunday 12 p.m. - 7 p.m., and 6 p.m. on Sundays. Delivery is also available by visiting their website and placing your order online. For now, soup delivery is only offered on Fridays, but once soup season arrives on the first week of October, delivery will run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.