I have long been a fan of restaurants that serve soup and salad either as a buffet or a menu item combination. When I lived in Southern California, these restaurants were just coming on the scene in the late 80’s early 90’s. Places like Fresh Choice and Soup Exchange were wonderful additions to the vast amount of gastronomical choices that one had in the area. When I lived in Jacksonville, FL I was equally spoiled with the addition of the Sweet Tomatoes chain in the area. They have some of the best soups and salads around for a reasonable price.
When I left Jacksonville in 2002 to move to the Twin Cities, I figured (erroneously) that they would have something similar to Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantation in the large metro area. I was quite disappointed that the chain had not found its way North. I had inquired around and several people told me about two places in the area: Eddingtons and Q-Cumbers
I found Eddingtons to be expensive and not very convenient. The soups were good, but very expensive for the quantity received. They are only open until 8:00 pm and closed on Sundays.
QCumbers was good at one time, but seems to have gone through some quality issues. The salad bar is great. The hot bar leaves a lot to be desired. Our family has visited a couple of times recently and we have been disappointed. Most recently we were there on the oriental night. The fried rice was nothing more than Spanish rice with some oriental seasoning. The beef in the beef and broccoli dish was tough and hard to chew. The soups will change rapidly, so if you see something you like, grab it or it might be gone. Soups seem to rotate often.
For what you pay, QCumbers is not a great deal anymore because of the degrading quality of the food on the hot bar. We used to enjoy it, but after this visit, we will not be returning.
I have emailed Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantation and asked why they are not in the Twin Cities. I have told them repeatedly that if they come to this market, they will succeed because there is not much competition in the first place and what competition does exist, is mediocre at best.
Maybe someone from SweetTomatoes/Souplantation will read this and respond.
If you build they will come….