Soup's On, located at 11 West Preston Street, is a great quick stop if you are in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore and require a fresh bowl of soup. They are located up a steep staircase, directly above OK Natural Food Store. It's a unique row house space with cool alcoves and artsy tables that have, you guessed it, soup themes painted on them. I visited recently for lunch and found the place packed with starving students and hungry office workers.
The restaurant's operating procedures are admiringly efficient and economical. You order at the front counter, from a small chalkboard menu that changes daily. Like the menu, their condiments are very streamlined: Old Bay and large canisters of sea salt are the only options. The sea salt comes in handy, as they make their soups extremely low-sodium. They also offer free water, which you need when you go overboard with the salt.
Soup's On always offers a vegan soup option. The day I visited, it was a creamy Mediterranean-spiced stew with chickpeas and brown rice (top). Excellent, seasoned crostini accompany the soup. I ordered the combo deal (above), which also comes with a sandwich. The vegan sandwich--featuring roasted eggplant, mushroom, and red pepper--was served open-faced with ample arugula.