The Souper Bowl is here! – Something good happened in Erie, 1/24/2020

Souper Bowl XX winners, Bistro 210, proudly hoisting their trophy as the greatest soup makers in all the land. | Photo via

Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:

You know that feeling when you come in from outside on a January day in Erie (maybe not this year, but just go along with me on this ride) and you didn’t realize your entire body went numb from the cold?

On a normal January day around here, you cant even tear down the Christmas lights without your entire body freezing to the point of near uselessness. By the time you waddle back inside hoping your toes are still somewhere toward the front of your boots, you know only one thing can get you back to neutral:

Soup. Maybe a hot shower, too, but definitely soup.

Potato, chicken noodle, French onion, vegetable, clam chowder, Chunky – hell, even Ramen – any kind will do. Winter and soup go together like beer and football, which brings us to the Super Bowl and the motivation behind this Sunday’s event.

This Sunday, Erie will host the 22nd annual “Souper Bowl” a week before the Super Bowl, and I’m not sure which one I like better. If you’re a living, breathing American, chances are you’ll hear plenty about the Super Bowl over the coming week, so allow me to focus on what I like about Erie’s event.

First of all, there are 10 soups to sample at this place (it’s at the Zem Zem Shrine Club on 2525 W. 38th St., by the way) and they’re all local fare – no Applebee’s slop here. The Skunk and Goat Tavern, which, if I’m being honest sounds more like a backwoods petting zoo than a tavern or a restaurant, will defend their 2019 title among other local favorites such as La Bella’s, Underdog BBQ, two different entrants from Mercyhurst University, and more.

The best part of this whole thing is undoubtedly the cause it goes to benefit, though. You might not realize the Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center has been operating since 1871, and if you haven’t, that’s probably good for you. It’s one of those places you’d rather not need to know.

They specialize in treating traumatized and at-risk children with a wide variety of services like behavioral health, partial hospitalization, residential treatment, and school-based and alternative educational programs. If your kid or your family has any kind of need, chances are Sarah Reed can help your situation just like that aforementioned bowl of soup.

So if you’re free this Sunday, check out the Zem Zem Shrine Club and fork over $12 at the door. Bring your kid and three more dollars if you want. It’s money well spent, and for 22 straight years, it’s been something good to happen in Erie at a time of year when most of us are in need of some warmth.

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