My past is going down like dominoes. Two months ago, I found burritos at Bell Street that are almost as wonderful as the ones at the dearly missed Mean Bean, my all-time favorite restaurant. Two weeks ago, I stopped by Souper Jenny in Buckhead and had the best bowl of gazpacho that I have ever had, anywhere. This was even better than the Mean Bean’s gazpacho, against which all others are judged.
The restaurant is quite difficult to find. It’s in a strip mall that’s technically on East Andrews Drive, the little cut-through that connects West Paces and Roswell Road, but it’s in a section of that center that I had never seen before, facing Cains Hill Place. Parking seems to always be at a premium, and the Friday lunch crush starts early and stays late. There was a line out the door when I arrived at two, and it was still eight guests deep forty minutes later.
The food is, to put it tactfully, Buckhead-priced. This certainly isn’t a place that I can justify for daily visits. Soup and a sandwich, with a drink (Unsweet tea?! Good Lord!) and a cookie, came to $13 even. I like that they take cash only, and I like that the quoted price includes tax, and I love that the menu rotates almost completely every day. The curious should check Jenny’s Facebook or web page or phone the restaurant to confirm the soups of the day to make sure that one of the seven or eight available each day is one they want.
That said, if the others are as great as this gazpacho, they are definitely worth trying. Other recent and popular flavors include turkey chili, Cajun black-eyed pea, tomato basil goat cheese, and Mulligatawney. I think that I find myself inordinately curious about what the restaurant is doing since I have taken a message printed on the bottom of my bowl to heart.
The turkey sandwich was not bad, but it had the unshakable feeling of “afterthought” about it. The sandwiches are made ahead of time, as the cafeteria line moves slowly enough ladling out soup and reminding guests that they don’t take plastic. I’m optimistic that the next visit will see a more interesting sandwich on the menu. My fellow hobbyist Iron Stef reported on a very curious pear and brie sandwich that I would like to try.
Actually, I note that Jenny has been seen to offer a pimento cheese and fried green tomato sandwich. Man alive, one of those on the same day as the gazpacho and they might just need to call an ambulance for me.
Overall, this is a very fun place, full of families who seem to schedule this as an integral part of their daily outings. I love the breezy and eclectic style and the wacky decoration, and the upbeat staff kicking things along. Frankly, I’m a little disappointed in myself for waiting so long before letting this great joint come across my radar. I’ll be back the next time that I am free and see gazpacho on the menu, definitely.
Other blog posts about Souper Jenny: