When most people think of bread bowls and soup, the first option that may come to mind is Panera Bread. However, there are many other local venues that serve them as well. In the wintertime, the breadbowl provides the perfect combination of crusty bread and warm soup or chili for a hardy meal. Here are a few of the best in Detroit and its surrounding areas.
Detroit Beer Company
Price: $8.79, Detroit Beer Cheese Soup (entree-sized); $4.79/bowl; $3.29/cup
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Fri and Sat – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
The Detroit Beer Company is located on the first two floors of the Hartz Building downtown, close to Comerica Park and Ford Field. Here diners will find diverse American fare and the menu ranges from pizza to pasta to sandwiches. The Detroit Beer Cheese Soup is served in a bread bowl and features “creamy Muenster cheese soup made with Detroit Ale in a beer grain bread bowl.” This hardy meal is also served with a side salad, so come hungry. The bread bowl here have rave reviews on the web.
Cheli’s Chili Bar
Hours: Daily – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Open at 10:30 a.m. for Tigers day games
Hours: Mon – 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Tues and Wed – 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Thurs and Fri – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sat – 12 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Cheli’s Chili Bar is owned by former Red Wings player Chris Chelios and is located downtown. Chelios offers thirty-six flat screen TVs and a shuttle to Joe Louis Arena for Red Wings home games, as well as a great location close to Comerica Park. This venue can also be booked for private parties if you have a minimum of 50 or a maximum of 500 people for your event. You can order their Original Chili, Veggie Chili or Chicken Chili in a cup, crock or bread bowl and any combo of cheese, chopped onions, jalapeños, salsa and guacamole on top.
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Red Coat Tavern
Price: Varies from $6.50 (pint) to $11.50 (quart)
Hours: Mon to Sat – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
While the Red Coat Tavern is known for its burgers, it also offers its clam chowder in a bread bowl and it comes recommended by frequenters of this restaurant. The bread bowl is $2, but the bread makes the extra few bucks but worth it. The Tavern also has a varied menu and has entrees available if you aren’t a hamburger fan. The Royal Oak location is on Woodward near downtown, and the West Bloomfield location is on Orchard Lake Road between Maple Road and 14 Mile.
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Price: Varies from $3.79 to $5.49
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fri and Sat – 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
In addition to its bread bowls, Brady’s Tavern has lunch specials Monday through Thursday, which they claim are “the best recipes and bang for the buck since sliced bread, or since man walked on the moon.” Brady’s offers burgers, sandwiches and other entrees, and is located on Southfield Road near 13 Mile. You can get any of the soups in a bread bowl for an extra $1, which includes clam chowder, “The Award Winner” or the “All the Way” chili, and the soup of the day. The “All the Way” chili comes topped with cheddar cheese, onions and sour cream.
Tower Inn Cafe
Hours: Mon to Sat – 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
The Tower Inn Cafe is close to the Eastern Michigan University campus in Ypsilanti and offers a varied menu as well as a selection of bread bowls. You can choose from Cream of Broccoli, Greek Chicken Lemon Rice or Cream of Tomato and all of the soups are made fresh on site daily. The slogan here is “Making life a little easier, a little happier, and a lot more delicious,” and customers rave that the bread bowls fall into this category, too. Wine lovers can also find a decent wine list and happy hour specials in addition to the food menu.
The Blue Leprechaun
Hours: Mon to Sat – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.
If you want your bread bowl at odd hours of the night, The Blue Leprechaun is the place to go. This restaurant is open until 2 a.m. every day, most likely because it’s located steps away from the University of Michigan campus. The Blue Leprechaun also has a ton of drink specials every night of the week (again, most likely because it’s located steps away from the University of Michigan campus) and trivia every Tuesday at 8 p.m., hosted by mytrivialive.com. Being a pub, this venue offers Irish potato and leek soup to go in your bread bowl, and also has Highland Chili and a soup of the day.
Liz Parker is a freelance writer and a University of Michigan graduate with a degree in Creative Writing and Literature. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.