Best Soup: The Fountain on Locust Dishes On its Soups and Plans for a New Distillery

In honor of our 2013 Best Of St. Louis issue, we're profiling some of the most fascinating winners from the Food & Drink section. The topic of this conversation: Best Soup. Read the entire Best of St. Louis issue here.

       Vegetable pesto soup and Polish dill pickle soup. | Mabel Suen
       Vegetable pesto soup and Polish dill pickle soup. | Mabel Suen

Soup and ice cream aren't two things that sound like they should go together, but the Fountain on Locust (3037 Locust Street; 314-535-7800) manages to convince us otherwise with its luscious desserts and rotating menu of 47 from-scratch soups. Dropping temperatures elicit the craving for warming comfort, and the Fountain has it covered in a variety of ways: piping-hot bowls of broth, hot-fudge-topped delights and even plans for its own handcrafted spirit distillery.

On any given day, visitors of the Fountain can look forward to a selection of three different soups. The signature Polish dill pickle soup holds a permanent place on the menu alongside two "soup of the day" options, including one vegetarian choice. Soup gets dished up in a cup ($3.79), bowl ($5.79) or duo option ($7.29), and the recipe repertoire includes everything from white chicken chili (available Saturdays) and roasted peanut soup to Cajun corn chowder (available Wednesdays), and chicken and dumplings.

       The Fountain's ice cream martini truck. | Courtesy of Joy Christensen
       The Fountain's ice cream martini truck. | Courtesy of Joy Christensen

When asked where its recipes come from, the Fountain's owner, Joy Christensen, replies, "I brought many of the recipes with me from decades past and others come from cookbooks. Sometimes, even customers bring in family recipes. We give out the recipes. It's not a big secret. The truth is that even if you give ten people the same recipe, you'll have ten different soups!"

Christensen says she works with her staff to tweak recipes until they come out just right. Recently, she's worked on a Moroccan pot pie (available Thursdays) and a spicy vegan carrot soup. On the sweet side of things, Christensen works on a chocolate-dipped macaroon and perfecting her traveling ice cream martini truck's selections for events.

       Warm pineapple upside-down cake in a mug for dessert. | Mabel Suen
       Warm pineapple upside-down cake in a mug for dessert. | Mabel Suen

The biggest task at hand, however, is developing a new distillery just down the street from the Fountain. With a building a block away already secured and construction that has yet to start, Christensen -- never one to sit still on an idea -- begins to dream up the DIY decor for her concept, Tempest Distilling and Spirits Company.

Gut Check looks forward to the day when it can cozy up with some of that. Till then, we're quite content warming up the other old-fashioned way, thanks to the Fountain's homestyle soups.

Click through to see some photos of some of the Fountain's other soups!

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