On the day before Super Bowl LII, hundreds of people will descend on Port Washington for a highly anticipated contest where competitors seek to win the ultimate title: best soup in Port.
SOUPer Bowl XI, the annual showdown between local restaurants for the best soup, on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church.
“It’s grown in size since the first SOUPer Bowl — we’re up to about 600 people attending,” said Bobbie Polay, the executive director of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event. “We’ve had to keep changing venues to accommodate the number of people and soups.”
Polay said the idea was inspired by a similarly named event in Massachusetts. Unlike Port’s version, the first SOUPer Bowl was held during the summer and featured soups submitted by local residents. Polay said the Chamber decided to limit entries to restaurants as a way to promote them and to hold it the day before the Super Bowl to take advantage of the wordplay.
“It’s very different than the one in Massachusetts but we just loved the name,” she said.
Admission is $10 for adults and $3 for children under the age of 12. Attendees will be allowed to sample two ounces of each of the 15 soups competing for the top prize. Bread and crackers will also be provided.
Soups range from the exotic, such as Turkish red lentil, to the more traditional, like chicken noodle. Each soup is provided by one of 15 Port Washington restaurants. The restaurant behind each soup will be revealed to guests but not the judges so as not to influence their votes.
Ayhan’s Mediterranean Market, f.i.s.h. on Main and Wild Goose are among the local restaurants competing.
Before any local resident picks up his or her spoon, a panel of judges will sample the soups and rate them. This year’s panel includes sportscaster Len Berman, news anchor/celebrity chef Julian Phillips, culinary consultant Christine Sanchez, associate real estate broker Anne Arter, contractor Joseph Canigiani and a deaf-blind client from the Helen Keller National Center, Donald Gore.
The winner, determined by the panel, will be given the Judge’s Choice Award.
As the goal is to promote local restaurants, Polay said, the event does not bring in a big profit. Most of the money goes to the Chamber for funding future events, although she said a portion is donated to Our Lady of Fatima Community Outreach.