On a recent visit to the Icebox-Soupbox website, I filled out a questionnaire that asked: What other products should we serve? Ice Cream? (no) Coffee? (no) Salad Bar? (no). My "no's" reflect that for the last ten years, this Lakeview staple has reached perfection in its simplicity.
Originally alternating between Italian ice in the summer and soup in the winter, Icebox-Soupbox now serves up soup year round, though it sticks with the summer months for Italian ice. For both, the place prides itself on its method: Everything is made fresh (and from scratch) daily and chock full of healthy, natural fruits and juices (the ice) and fresh vegetables, meat and spices (the soup).
This simple and to-the-point storefront does nothing to overwhelm the indecisive. Although there are 20 Italian ice flavors to choose from, the staff happily and patiently serves samples until you've found your favorite (or favorite mixture). After tasting lemon, raspberry, pineapple and mango, I went for my first choice of coconut, a sweet icy treat filled with endless chunks of real coconut (thankfully, you will not find things flavored with syrup here). If you only have a dollar in your pocket, try the Little for a mere 89 cents. The determined can work their way up to a Wow for $5.49.
As for the soup, it's the same deal. With 12 large pots steaming on a long table, taste away. The soup gurus will also offer suggestions for mixing if you just can't seem to decide. Lobster bisque mixes well with tomato basil bisque; chicken noodle with hearty vegetable. You'll also find broccoli and cheese, tomato florentine and cream of potato. Try the bread bowl for $6.25 or stick with a regular 12-ounce serving for $4.50, which I think is plenty for the average appetite. Soup is served in a paper bowl with a plastic spoon, and the complimentary Italian bread comes in a little plastic sandwich bag, just one more thing to find endearingly uncomplicated.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Heather Blaha