This old guy Arnie would eat at the Souplantation 7 days a week in Porter Ranch, California. He would take the bus there every day and spend hours there eating and hanging out. I feel bad he lost his regular hangout. By the way, don’t forget some locations were called Sweet Tomatos!
RIP Souplantation. Every time I went to Souplantation I stuffed my face on delicious clam chowder, usually bland pasta, breads that resembled pizza, and the best blueberry muffin tops known to man, but I always left feeling good about myself because I started the gluttony with a plate of salad.
Hey Souplantation lovers!
Souplantation was the place I loved as a child. I once made my mom drive me there, but she ran out of gas on the way. I asked the tow truck driver to just drop us off at Souplantation.
As a child, it comforted me. As an adult, it was a place for socialization and fun. I laughed with my friends, I honestly cried with my friends. It was the place my best friend told me she was being cheated on and the place she told me she was finally moving on from him.
I will never forget Souplantation and its comforting, fun environment. It may seem trivial during times like these, but this closure truly hurts. I will miss this establishment dearly.
P.S. Low key still hoping someone will buy it.
Four nearly four years a Facebook and Meetup group walked a route of stairways in Santa Monica Canyon every Thursday evening, and a bunch of us would go to the Brentwood Souplantation afterward for something yummy and to socialize. There was always something for everyone, regardless of your dietary leanings or how hungry you were. And the staff there always made us feel welcome, even if we came in 5 minutes before the door was locked. We will miss the place and we all feel so bad for the employees who lost their jobs. We hope to resume our stairwalks and we hope to encounter some of those friendly folks somewhere else in the future. Thank you for many years and many memories, as some of us have been customers since the 1980s!
In Long Beach, Souplantation was the equalizer back in high school. 3 of us would ride around in my friends 4Runner while we tried to decide on somewhere to eat. Souplantation pleased everyone.
I’ll never forget the Saturday spent searching for their new location (before smartphones!) Efrain almost lost it and Tuyet and I discovered HANGRY.
RIP Chicken Pot Pie week
We took out twin toddlers to Souplantation every weekend! They called it The Restaurant and asked to go! We will miss it and all our good memories there. The staff was the sweetest.
I miss souplantation, where else could you get THICC clam chowder, “artisan” flats that were just pizza sliced up, and tasty lemonade?
other buffets don’t hold a candle bc Souplantation was CLEAN
When I had my first job, I worked in Beverly Hills and didn’t have money to eat where a lot of my co-workers went, so sometimes I splurged and went to SP alone.
Now, I also wasn’t comfortable with eating at restaurants alone, but it usually seemed ok to be there by myself with a book.
One time, though, I was heading back to my table with some soup in one hand and some corn bread in the other, when I needed to sneeze. This was a big sneeze, but there wasn’t any place to put down my stuff until I got through the dining area and back to my table, so I held it back.
And this was when I farted as loud as I ever have before. I put the stuff down and ran outside. I was so horrified that I had no idea how funny this was until I told a friend the story later that day.
Souplantation was family heaven. This was absolutely NOT an adult restaurant, but a kid paradise where almost every table had messy, noisy, laughing families. I was a single mom with two boys in the late 90s and early 00s and this was their favorite place to eat out. The youngest was a very picky eater, so to go to a restaurant where he could select exactly what he wanted — and ONLY what he wanted — was a dream. As a mom, I could just relax and enjoy a dinner out on a weeknight. I didn’t have to worry about how well-behaved my sons were, how much food they dropped on the floor or what was on the menu. I ate soups and salads. They ate pizza and muffins. (And of course they LOVED the softserve ice cream bar!) Every other table seemed to have families, so I didn’t even care if I had another adult to talk to. I could just smile at the family at the table next to us and they’d smile back in recognition. My sons are grown men now, gourmets with very good cooking skills. But I’m sad we’ll never get to eat at a Souplantation for “old time’s sake.” My sons aren’t even 30 yet. They’re too young to have to say goodbye to their childhood memories.
We were having dinner at Souplantation with my aunts, cousins, and grandma 4 years ago. And it was at this special dinner, at this special place, that we announced that we were expecting our first child. My grandma was over the moon to become a great grandma. I’m so sad that we won’t get to dine here anymore
When I was a kid I would always pick souplantation as my go to birthday dinner spot. Making salads consisting of a few shreds of lettuce, smothered in ranch and piled high with cheddar cheese, croutons, sunflower seeds and a few red onions for good measure. The unhealthy salad is still one of my favorite guilty pleasure foods.
You will be missed souplantation. 🥀
We always knew we were going to Soup P when dad grabbed his fanny pack and lined it with napkins. At the end of the meal, before leaving, we knew the kids responsibilities were to make rotating rounds to the muffin bar. Upon return, dad would then stuff them into his fanny pack (As a buffet, Soup P did not allow “to-go” items. Child me always feel like a successful thief pulling the concealed muffin from my pocket and stuffing it in your face as walked out the door? See you next Tyme suckers!). The muffins would be treats that were devoured once inside the movie theater or saved for a late night snack at home. We saw Soup P go through phases. Some that took hold and some that did not. Soup P brunch where trays of egg, bacon, yogurt and cereal never ceased to end. Fresh cookies brought to the table (now you can only get them to go), carpet removed, replaced by wooden flooring and the decision to allow a “to-go” option during lunch! We saw it all baby!
When I told people I LOVED Soup P, they always seemed surprised. As a child, teen, young adult, and now a 37 year old man I frequented the Soup hitting it hard between the mid 90’s – present day. It was a spot to meet up with friends. Its departure has been the topic of many Zoom calls during quarantine. We grieve, we share our memories. We saw each other grow from teens to adults now taking our own children. When my dad used to pick us up for his weekends following my parents divorce, we stopped at Soup P followed by a walk in the neighborhood. I grew to know the employees at locations throughout Southern California. Brea, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Rancho, Pasadena, Alhambra, Valencia, San Diego, this list goes on. Even when I moved away from home and was living in Chicago, I located a Sweet Tomato’s in Waukegan, IL. I got in my car and made the hour drive to see how the Midwest version fared. I was not disappointed
Thank you Soup P. for the many meals shared over the last 3 decades with my friends, family, and coworkers. Thank you to all the employees who we grew to know as the backbone of Soup P. My last meal there was Feb of this year. It was nearing closing time, 8:30 –ish and the gentle giant of a man at the Alhambra location raised his voice to get everyones attention. In my mind I thought he was announcing last call which seemed odd. Instead, he announced it was the birthday of one of the diners and requested every diner to join along in singing Happy Birthday. Without thinking twice, a count down and then in unison we all took a break from our baked potatoes, focaccia bread, soft serve, and strawberry lemonades and sang loudly! A great final memory for a legendary, iconic Southern California restaurant.
Tyme it was and what a tyme it was.
Once upon a time I hated Souplantation, mostly because of salad bars. I think salad bars are the yesterday’s Coronavirus. But I also hated them because I need warm vegetables and maybe a steak. But I met a guy who because my husband, and he loved Souplantation. We frequented the Porter Ranch location because we lived in Van Nuys for a bit. And then I just fell in love with everything about Souplantation but the food. And then fast forward to a few years later and it was the first restaurant we took our kiddo to. He was about 3 months old, asleep in his stroller as we sat in the far north corner. And we moved and the Alhambra location became our go to family spot. Our kid devoured the breads and ate first “ice cream” there. And he counted the cars in the parking lot when we left. I’ll miss you Souplantation.
The broccoli salad was the best. I wish I had one last visit.
I’m going to miss the broccoli with the raisins in it, and the clam chowder.
The Honey Butter was the bomb on sourdough!
I used to live in Simi, and that was probably the biggest and nicest SP I ever ate at. My oldest son would sit in his high chair eating cheese and kidney beans out of the little cups. He would have a 2 foot radius of spilled food all over the floor underneath him.
That’s when we started tipping at SP, and even once my kids stopped making a mess, we continued to tip after the meal. The employees was always really nice to us.
About 2 years ago we showed up as usual, and a lady at the door told us they were remodeling, and were closed for the day. Turns out they never reopened again. We were so bummed. We never considered the Porter Ranch location to be as good, so we stopped going until we re-started with the Camarillo location a couple of years ago.
I hope someone buys out whatever is left of SP and brings it back.
The Clairemont Mesa, San Diego location is where we, as UCSD students, would eat on the cheap, getting our weekly fiber and nutrition needs all in one sitting. A great location for birthday parties and Friday night get-together dinners, our visits were not limited to locals; it served as the go-to all-American diner for intrastate and international exchange students. The unlimited soup and pizza was an effective antidote to a handful of hangovers, but the norm was an even-cheaper-than-dinner Souplantation brunch. This filled in for breakfast and lunch for our undisciplined college-student lifestyle, and occasionally – somehow even dinner was skipped or very light after the engorgement from earlier in the day.
It may be a poor time during Pandemic 2020 to admit this, but many a bout of regular colds and flus were cured by the local food-as-medicine diner. Chicken soup + green onion amirite?
Intermission: California’s Bay Area had a similar establishment called “Fresh Choice” which also permanently closed about 10 years ago. It was a wonderful buffet, with slightly higher-quality foods, but ironically less fresh. Upon visiting it, I was surprised at how SMALL the buffet was… it was nearly half the variety. I think it closed around the time Souplantation opened “Sweet Tomatoes” up in the Bay Area. Family members called me raving about it; I could not muster much enthusiasm given that I visited the San Diego location so much I was nearly sick of it.
Later in life, we moved to the local suburb where another Souplantation graces the community within walking distance. To this day I say “we live down the street from the Souplantation.” I saw my college professor there!
Souplantation gave my unborn and then our newborn child nutrition. Kiddo learned to eat there. We rocked her to sleep in the patio. We just came up with a system where we can set up in the patio, then turns at the buffet line while the other parent plays with the kiddo.
It’s heartbreaking that she won’t have the Souplantation memories I carried for my entire adult life. My Ode To Souplantation is best captured in a group text lamenting the closure with my buffet trio – my ex-roommate and now-wife,: “It is saddening for me think of such a special location, warm and filling, to have its tables and chairs removed, lights turned off, becoming an empty shell of a building.” A place from where so much life came – often with a lengthy line out the door rivalling celebrity chef’s grand openings – has come to an end. So must all things, but none of them come with unlimited pizza.
The coupons were great. The whole family could eat lunch for about 25 bucks. With dessert and drink. Hard to beat.
My kids would eat grated cheddar cheese by the cup full. There was just no stopping them.