I like to try regional chains that we don't have back in California. Maybe someday they will be the next McDonald's, but usually they are something unique and definitely worth giving a try. By a "regional chain" I mean more than just a couple of locations -- usually these have dozens or hundreds of locations. Some of the other regional chains I've tried on this trip are Blake's Lotaburger, Whataburger, and White Castle.
As I was driving through Grand Junction, Colorado on my circuitous return home from Philadelphia, I stopped in at Zoup! which also has locations in the Midwest in and East (check out their web site for locations).
One thing I noticed right off is how friendly the staff is. They ask if you've been there before, invite you to sample as many of the soups as you like, and explain the menu. (Why doesn't every place do that??)
With 10 soups to choose from, with most of them changing every day, I'm glad they offered me some samples. One in particular that was very good was the lobster bisque (in fact, that is offered every day).
One way to enjoy Zoup! is to get the combo, which is any two of: soup, half sandwich, and half salad. I had tried plenty of soup samples so I had the American Farm sandwich, and the Chicken Toscana salad.
The half salad is a very generous size, and I image the normal size must be very filling. The American Farm salad is romaine, spring mix, cucumbers, celery, mozzarella and tomatoes with Ranch dressing on the side. All of the greens were fresh and I liked it.
The Chicken Toscana is grilled chicken, provolone, roasted red peppers, marinated red onions and basil mayo. The sandwich is on a fresh, toasted baguette. The cheese is melted and I enjoyed this sandwich a lot.
Fresh, fast, and friendly -- that's a good combo!
Zoup! reminds me a lot of Soup Nation in Eugene, Oregon which was recently on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Both have many soups to choose from, and offer salads and soups to go along with them. And both are really good.