Sunday, July 21, 2024

A turkey cordon bleu pressed sandwich and chicken orzo soup combo at Souper Roll-Up Cafe in Cambridge. (Photo: Tom Meek)

A few weeks ago we lamented the dearth of old-school, bohemian cafes and were delighted to share the good news that the Circus Cooperative Cafe has popped up in place of Darwin’s on Putnam Avenue. There’s also much between Inman and Lechmere that can go under the radar, specifically in the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood. Gufo is a destination, but there are others, including Orale Mexican, 9Zaab Thai and Silk Road Uyghur Cuisine, which is high on my to-try list. Another recent surprise was the discovery of Souper Roll-Up Cafe, a cozy nook just doors down from the King Open School.

Souper Roll-Up, as you can imagine, specializes in soup and sandwiches. (Roll-ups, right?) The concept triggered my way-back machine, harkening to when no-frills Souper Salad eateries were everywhere in Boston. For fast casual it was them, the Magic Pan or Au Bon Pan, and you could even get a glass of wine. While those Boston classics are mostly gone, Souper Roll-Up persists, and it’s been here almost 30 years.

The cafe’s not big, maybe four or five tables and some bar seats in the window, but the menu offers a lot, speaking to many culinary yens and dietary restrictions. The soups are cooked up each day with a new and varied list. Recent selections included beef barley, chicken lemon orzo, carrot ginger and chorizo black bean. On any given day the soup slate has no less then five options, and always at least one vegetarian choice. As far as sandwiches and roll-ups go, it’s pretty much a similar slate with turkey and avocado; grilled avocado with provolone and cheddar cheese, onions, alfalfa sprouts and tomatoes; tarragon chicken; and so on. The hot, grilled sandwiches come on delicious Scali bread.

I tried the avocado sandwich as a wrap and grilled, and that Scali bread was the difference. (I’d ask for some spicy mustard next time.)

But the real reason you need to come to Souper Roll-Up is its turkey cordon bleu creation, replete with onions, Swiss cheese, tomatoes and honey mustard – easily the best hot pressed combo I’ve had in the recent past. And for less that $12 you can get that inspired sandwich with a hearty crock of soup such as the chicken orzo, wonderful on cold, raw days like the ones we’ve been having. You could opt for chips or a side of fruit, but would you really choose a bag of Utz over chicken orzo? 

Souper Roll-Up Cafe, 726 Cambridge St., Wellington-Harrington, Cambridge 

Tom Meek is a writer living in Cambridge. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in the WBUR ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.