Melissa Elsmo

Community members have had more than 40 years to figure out few things go together better than a Starship sandwich and cold beer on a hot summer day, but things are still SOUPer at Starship in the winter months. Few sandwich shops can claim to offer a selection of 80 soups, but our local mainstay can claim that everyday of the year.

“This is my baby,” says Starship Restaurant co-owner, Henry Laskowski, as he gestures toward a duo of glass fronted freezers situated near the front of the Forest Park sub shop. In addition to offering a rotating menu of 5-6 hot soups daily, Laskowski’s freezer cases hold 80 varieties of grab-and-go soup at all times. While the soups are available in the summer months, they are especially popular when the weather turns cold.

“I taste every batch of soup that goes in here;” says Laskowski, “if it doesn’t get past me, it doesn’t go in the case.”

And Laskowski’s taste-buds are put to the test regularly. The kitchen crew at Starship cooks from an arsenal of more than 150 soup recipes. Some recipes were brought to the shop by customers and Laskowski keeps a live inventory online so soup-craving customers know exactly what they’ll find in the cooler when they stop by to stock up. A full 2-cups (16-ounces if you are technical) of any frozen Starship soup will set you back just over $5, but the shop offers a “buy five get the sixth soup free” deal making it especially easy and affordable to fill your freezer this winter.

“We cannot keep this cooler stocked,” says Laskowski as he counts the number of soups per shelf, “and look at that we are already low on resurrection chicken soup.”

A consistent favorite among savvy Starship soup consumers, resurrection chicken soup, is perfect for folks suffering from a cold. The soup isn’t spicy on the tongue, but does induce a good sweat making it suitable for making sick people feel alive again.

Laskowski started about by making his mother’s oxtail soup and makes it to this day, but his passion for soup has since morphed to include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. Traditional chicken noodle, split pea, and Manhattan clam chowder make frequent appearances in the case, but these common soups are flanked by a few unexpected soup varieties including cream of dill pickle, cheddar cheeseburger, and rabbit stew.

While goat based soups are not as common in these parts as good-old chicken soups, Laskowski claims Starship’s version of goat stew broke the Chicago Cub curse and helped them win the 2016 World Series! Like the goat stew, Starship’s northwoods lumberjack soup flies under radar. Hearty lumberjack soup is comprised of sausage, egg noodles, eggs, beans, and cheese.

On the morning I visited Starship, Laskowski had escarole, beef strogonoff, and mushroom barley soups simmering in the kitchen in an effort to keep his freezers fully stocked to meet the demands of our soup loving community.

Pop on by Starship to select soups that suit your personal tastes; you can also call the shop directly on their “soup line” (708.771.3016) to stay up-to-date on their offerings. Laskowski’s passion for soups and stews and his attention to detail when stocking his “baby” ensures there is always something available for everyone at Starship!

Starship Restaurant and Catering

  • 7618 Madison St
  • Forest Park, IL 60130

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