Baltimore Soup Co. is opening three locations in Greater Baltimore in late 2016 and early 2017.
The fast-casual restaurants are on track to open in downtown Baltimore at the Charles Plaza Food Court, at the 2 East Wells apartments in South Baltimore and in Timonium.
Owned by David and Lisa Redmond, Baltimore Soup Co. is a spin-off of other cafes the husband and wife have opened locally during the last 14 years. Since 2002 the Redmonds have owned and operated 15 cafes in the area under the Cafe Gourmet, Fresh Farms Cafe and Dillweeds Cafe brands. Although they have sold most of the restaurants, they still own and operate a Cafe Gourmet in Hollins Market and Fresh Farms Cafe in Lancaster, Pa.
Those cafes offer soups, salads, sandwiches, specialty drinks and desserts.
"What we found as I would do the numbers was at least 25 percent of our sales at every location came from soups," David Redmond said. "And it didn't matter whether it was the beginning of the summer or the middle of the winter."
Based on that trend, the Redmonds decided to concentrate on soups, made by Lisa, for their next eateries. She has about 250 soup recipes in her portfolio, Redmond estimated, and each cafe will open offering 50 rotating varieties.
The No. 1 seller is Maryland crab soup, which will be on the menu permanently along with chicken pot pie soup. Other rotating flavors will include mac and cheese soup, beef stew and lobster and crab bisque.
The cafes will also serve a smaller selection of sandwiches, salads and other light fare.
Redmond is still finalizing prices, but he expects lunches to cost $8 to $10.
The Charles Plaza location (222 N. Charles St.) is on track to open in the next 60 days, and the Timonium site will follow within the next 90 days. Redmond declined to disclose the Timonium location's address because he's still ironing out lease details. The cafe at 2 East Wells will open in early 2017.
Baltimore Soup Co. will look to grow after establishing the first three restaurants.
Part of what Redmond said he looks for in new locations is a "built-in audience." At 2 East Wells in particular, he's anticipating a strong daytime and nighttime customer base from the residential population and forthcoming Under Armour workers at nearby Port Covington.
"This really wasn't a short-term investment for us," he said. "We're looking toward the future."