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Soup festivals currying on in Amsterdam, Schenectady

Soup festivals currying on in Amsterdam, Schenectady

In Amsterdam, try a soup enjoyed by Napolean; in Schenectady, bratwurst cheddar ale soup is one of 34 offerings
Soup festivals currying on in Amsterdam, Schenectady
Customers line up for the Nacho soup at Johnny’s Restaurant at last year’s Schenectady Soup Stroll.
Photographer: gazette file photo

Soup’s on in both Amsterdam and Schenectady this weekend. 

Schenectady’s Soup Stroll kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Amsterdam’s SoupFest starts at noon. 

While the Electric City event has been going on for the last five years, Amsterdam’s festival is relatively new. 

“It just fit into what our whole approach for the city was. We wanted to add events that brought people from out of town to Amsterdam to showcase all of our restaurants and attractions. We also wanted to give residents who live here something enjoyable to do,” said Rob Spagnola, Amsterdams’ director of tourism, marketing and recreation. 

The first SoupFest took place last year and drew a few thousand. Spagnola expects to draw just as many this year.

“There’s probably three or four new restaurants in town that weren’t even open last year so it’s great to go see the new restaurants and what they have to offer,” Spagnola said. 

That includes the Amsterdam Castle, which is serving up a soup with a story. Similar to a Spanish paella dish, the casa stew recipe was a favorite of Napolean Bonaparte, according to Nigel Ghotbi of the Castle. Ghotbi described it as a peasant soup mostly made of vegetables. 

“It won’t be another clam chowder,” Ghotbi said. 

The Amsterdam Castle is among 20 other restaurants offering three-ounce soup samples for $1 each during the festival. There will be 30 different soups to sample, with some locations offering more than one option. 

Attendees can vote for their favorite soups online. Last year, Herk’s Tavern and Sticker Mule won. 

In downtown Schenectady, the Soup Stroll will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a recording-breaking number of restaurants and soup options, with $1 three-ounce samples. 

“Last year we had 27, this year we’re at an all-time high of 34 participating locations which is awesome. We’ve got a lot of creativity going on with not only some of our tried and true restaurants that have done it all along, [but] we’ve got some retail businesses that are partnering with restaurants that have a location to try to give it a little more creative flair,” said Jim Salengo, the executive director of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp. 

The soon-to-open Bountiful Bread is teaming up with Frog Alley to offer up a bratwurst cheddar ale soup with pretzel croutons, while Healthy Gourmet Kitchen is serving a coconut curry chickpea stew at the Schenectady Trading Company.  

For the first time, the Stroll will include a dessert soup — chocolate s’more soup from Bittersweet Candy. 

Manhattan Exchange, which has undergone renovations since closing last spring, will open again during the Stroll. 

“In its fifth year, it’s just grown into this really signature winter event here now. I think people really look forward to it,” Salengo said.

In previous years, the event has brought out anywhere from 3-5,000 people and with added restaurants and programming, it might just draw out more this year. 

Attendees are encouraged to vote on their favorites by filling out a ballot that they can pick up at any participating establishment. There will also be three guest judges — Tim Walton of Tim’s Kitchen/518 Brews, Jess Sims of 518 Bites & Sites/WGNA and Kate Alois of Yelp Albany. They will determine the winners in the categories of Golden Tureen, Silver Spoon and Bronze Ladle. 

For more info visit downtownschenectady.org. 

Soup's on this Saturday

Amsterdam Soupfest participating establishments:

  • Amsterdam Castle
  • DomAdi’s Deli
  • Miss Blue’s Pet Boutique & Puppy Scoops Ice Cream
  • Russo’s Bar & Grill
  • The Polish American Veterans Inc.
  • Mary Jane’s Market
  • L’ultimo Osteria
  • Parillo’s Armory Grill
  • Shorty’s Southside Tavern
  • Sharpshooters Billiards & Sports Pub
  • The Irish American Club
  • Herk’s Tavern
  • The Rockton House
  • LaPiazza Social Club
  • G’s Famous Lemon Cookies
  • Creek Stone Amsterdam NY
  • Tuman’s Restaurant
  • Bosco’s Restaurant
  • Schotts Tavern
  • All American Diner
  • Mundos Cafe 

Schenectady’s Soup Stroll participating establishments:

  • 20 North Broadway Tavern – Pulled Pork Chili
  • 151 Bar & Restaurant – Thai Shrimp and Peanut Soup
  • The Backstage Pub – Grilled Kielbasa & Kraut Bisque
  • Bittersweet Candy – Chocolate S’more Soup
  • Bombers Burrito Bar – Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • Bountiful Bread @ Frog Alley Brewing Co. – Bratwurst Cheddar Ale Soup w/Pretzel Croutons
  • Centre Street Pub – Guinness Beef Stew
  • Civitello’s Italian Pastry Shoppe – Pasta e Fagioli
  • Cornells in Little Italy – Pasta Fagioli
  • The DillyBean – Spicy Maple Pickle Pumpkin Coconut Soup
  • Healthy Gourmet Kitchen @ Schenectady Trading Co. – Coconut Curry Chickpea Stew
  • The Horses Lounge @ Frog Alley Brewing Co. – Bacon N Blue Tomato Bisque with Cheesy Dunkers
  • Hunter’s On Jay – Chicken Enchilada Soup
  • Isopo’s Downtown Pizza – Pizza Soup
  • Jay Street Pub – Crab & Clam Corn Chowder
  • Johnny’s Restaurant – Street Corn Chowder
  • Katie O’Byrne’s – Katie’s Reuben Chowder
  • Katz Kafe – Coconut Chicken Soup
  • Mad Jack Brewing Co. @ The Van Dyck – Bacon Potato Corn Chowder Infused with Pinhead Pilsner
  • Mangino’s Gourmet Market @ Clinton Street Mercantile – Carrot Ginger Soup (Hot)
  • Manhattan Exchange – Smoked Tomato Soup w/Parmesan Pork Belly Grilled Cheese
  • Maria’s Cafe & Catering – Chicken & Dumpling Soup
  • Mexican Radio – Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
  • Nico’s Rooftop Tavern – Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • Pho Queen – Tom Kha Kai (Chicken Coconut Soup) or Tofu
  • Pinhead Susan’s – MaMa’s Cream of Turkey Soup
  • Raw Juice & Smoothie Bar – Carrot Ginger Soup
  • Rivers Casino & Resort @ Johnny’s Patio – Loaded Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
  • Ruggiero’s Pizza, Deli & Catering @ Frog Alley Brewing Co. – Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
  • Taj Mahal Restaurant – Indian Style Lentil Soup
  • Tara Kitchen – Ezogelin Soup with Red Lentils
  • The Union Inn – Steak & Cheese Soup
  • Wolff’s Biergarten – Spaten Optimator Infused Broccoli Cheese Soup
  • YaYa’s House of Southern Cuisine – Southern-Style Cream of Chicken Bow Tie Soup
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