LA Magazine wrote an entire article on how cool Souplantation is

Originally published at:


Oh, man. late 1970s/early 1980s in San Diego I loved going to that place. All you can eat. Soup. Salad. Wonderful.

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Called Sweet Tomatoes here in the midwest before they went bankrupt. I was sad when they closed, but not really.

I ate at the Orlando Sweet Tomatoes (a stone’s throw from WDW) about a dozen times and I would totally franchise the fuck out of it if money was no object.

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Just watched UHF not long ago and there was a throwaway crack about a restaurant’s salad bar. Had to explain to non-native USian companion why that cracked me up. How soon we forget that there was a time when America was obsessed with salad bars, and we should all look back and laugh.

Many words could describe Souplantation but “cheap” is not one I would include. Maybe I’m just prone to being old man yelling at inflation but over $10 is not cheap.


I ate at Sweet Tomatoes in Portland with my three youngest daughters yesterday. It was fine, but definitely not cheap. It cost $28 for the four of us, and we didn’t have beverages other than (free) water.

That sounds like 7 per person… how is that not cheap?

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I miss Lettuce Souprise You.

I have five kids and try to keep a meal for all six of us around $15. I usually succeed, but still consider it a win if I spend less than $22 for six. So $7 per person is quite a bit. It’s outside of my normal budget.


Are there restaurants where you can actually meet that goal? It seems a bit ambitious. I expect to be spending around $10 a person if I’m eating out.

Define “restaurant.” Lol

I can feed the whole crew pizza or Chinese food or Taco Bell and meet the budget easily. Or most fast food places like Sonic or Wendy’s are doable, so long as I don’t buy drinks and have them drink water. But you’re right that most actual restaurants cost more. I use a lot of coupons and loyalty programs to get free items.

I’m recently divorced, so my income was basically cut in half and I’ve learned to make ends meet.


The Sweet Tomatoes that I occasion on the road all seem to do a brisk business. It seems like a solid business model, and the food isn’t bad for the price; pity there aren’t more around.

One of my earlier jobs was at Souplantation. There were a fair amount of people who would be there before I started my shift and then I would have to politely shoo them out when we were closing.

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Yeah, as a person who’s lives/lived on a similar budget I have to tell you that by doing anything other than buying groceries and making meals at home you’re being very non-optimal with your food budget.

My dead lifting team has been kicked out of Soup Plantation / Sweet Tomatoes many a time, all you can eat my ass.


Up until the mid 2010s there was a place up here near Seattle call Zoopa. I visited it near the end and an older clean-up-duty gentleman stopped by and told us all about how the manager was all but miraculously healed by eating organic salads and soups.

(But organic produce couldn’t save their lease agreement.)

True. I pay for the convenience. It’s a known flaw of mine. :slight_smile:

There’s a Souplantation across the street from my apartment. It seems very popular, there are lines out the doors at times. I’ve eaten there a couple of times, but it grosses me out to have a constant stream of people coughing at and sneezing on the food. This particular Souplantation seems to not have the cash register situation figured out at all, no matter how many times I’ve gone, the payment and obtaining of drinks has been super confusing and required telling 3-4 people the same thing. The name of the place is pretty awful too. I will say, if you get a to-go container, for $10, you can eat salad for about a week… Definitely cheap food but it tastes cheap and is super unpleasant experience.

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I once worked with a black guy that I got along with, but I could tell he really wasn’t into white people. One day he asked me if I knew of any soup and salad buffets. Right away I said “Souplantation!”. His eyes narrowed and he asked “What do you mean?” Knowing what he was getting at, I asked him “Do you really think i’m going to take this opportunity to be racist?” I showed him the website and he cooled down.

Pretty ridiculous name! But I still miss going there…

souplantation is like getting your oil changed: thereis always a coupon and paying full price is for suckers

really adds to the weird kind of depressing bland americana vibe

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