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The 5th Annual Manor Grove "Soups On" Cook-Off takes place this Sunday, Feb. 26, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kirkwood Community Center. In years past, the event has raised funds for Manor Grove, the century-old, Kirkwood-based long-term health care facility. This year it's more about giving back to the community, increasing exposure for the restaurants and leveraging business for their economic growth.
The first year 400 people attended; in recent years, the number fluctuated from 800-1000. And it's no wonder: "Soup's On" is the only major soup competition in the area. There are dozens of chili cook-offs throughout the year, big and small, but only one soup event.
As in past years. several dozen competitors (predominantly restaurants) will vie for the coveted Gold, Silver, or Bronze Ladle, in two divisions, Judge's Choice and People's Choice.
New this year: a "Just Desserts" division, which means more to taste (and for some of us, more to judge). Guests will also receive a directory that includes participating restaurants, soup recipes, past winners, and a brief history on why Manor Grove sponsors the event. Leftover soup will be donated to the New Life Evangelistic Center downtown.
Tickets are $8 in advance here and $10 at the door. Children's tickets are $4 and $5 respectively.
UPDATE: The judges have judged and the people have spoken. Here are the results of Sunday's competition:
Judge's Awards: Gold Ladle: Monty's Sandwich Company's Creamy Reuben Soup
Silver Ladle: Straubs' Vegetarian Charred Tomato Soup
Bronze Ladle: The Tavern's Whole Hog Green Chili
People's Choice Awards: Gold Ladle: Eclipse's Roasted Mushroom Soup with Bacon and Smoked Gouda
Silver Ladle: Monty's Sandwich Company's Creamy Reuben Soup
Bronze Ladle: Fandango's Bar & Grill's Chicken Corn Chowder
"Just Desserts" Competition:
Judge's Award: Eleven Mile House's New York Cheesecake
Peoples Choice Award: Frazers' Mini Key Lime Pie
1. This year, Canyon Cafe was encouraged not to bring its multi-multi award winning Poblano Corn Chowder and instead brought a Posole. Canyon's Posole did not place (although it placed second on this judge's ballot.
2. Monty's double-award winning Creamy Rueben Soup was created on a whim. Co-owner Steve May wasn't quite sure what to do with the scraps and ends of the corned beef used for Monty's sandwiches and challenged partner Joel Williams to "make some soup out of them." The result? Today's double-award winner.