Posts Tagged ‘lunch time’

Jon Hammond’s San Francisco Lunch Time Blog Soup Music Chicken Noodle Lentil

November 17, 2011

Jon Hammond’s San Francisco Lunch Time Blog Soup Music Chicken Noodle Lentil Jazz Blues Chili in Tenderloin City Hall Zone

Down on O’Farrell St. near the Mitchell Theatre and The Great American Music Hall the Pope of Soups Richard Gaule created

beautiful soups with nothing but Crock Pots – photo by Jon Hammond

Half Sandwich and small bowl of soup $4.75 unlimited crackers, chopped onions and grated cheese on top

I didn’t know it at the time but Richard Soups was once a GE Executive, story by Todd Dayton

Zen and the Art of Slinging Soup / Ex-GE exec Richard Gaule on what he gets out of feeding and befriending the denizens of the Tenderloin
By Todd Dayton

A man with a graying beard and greasy long hair orders a Polish dog with chili and methodically arranges condiments on the counter, then buries the dog in mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, chopped onions, jalapenos and cheddar until the condiments are taken away. A cane-toting elderly man missing three front teeth hovers over a bowl of cereal, discussing the Yankees with a friend.

A homeless woman wearing a dark sweatshirt with its hood pulled over her head meekly asks for a chili cheese dog, no potato chips, and permission to use the restroom, please.

These are some of the regulars at Soups, a tiny Tenderloin eatery specializing in hot stuff that comes in a bowl, plus a few extras like sandwiches and hot dogs. Richard Gaule knows most of his customers by name Ð Garth with his Polish dog, the Yankees-hating Sylvester, and Charlene with the hooded sweatshirt – and greets them when they grab one of the 11 seats. The boxcar-shaped shop is basically just a long brown Formica counter, where 100 customers a day get a view of the restaurant’s tireless proprietor and a half- dozen stainless steel electric soup pots wearing crocheted lid holders. A couple hundred people stop in frequently – Gaule’s regulars, his friends – but he says he keeps track of a couple thousand names of the people he’s met over the years. He makes a mistake from time to time, but he doesn’t make many.

For nearly a decade, the lanky redheaded proprietor, whose youthful face and agility belie his 60 years, has served a slowly evolving customer base drawn mostly from the immediate neighborhood. They come from the residential hotels, and the apartment buildings, from the doorways that offer shelter and a home to those who don’t have one. Sandwiched in between a residential hotel and a cocktail lounge on a slightly seedy stretch of O’Farrell Street, Soups is the kind of place one might pass by for years without noticing it among the bars and auto body shops that line the street.

The sign above the door reads “Everyone Welcome,” and it’s true, but the folks he’s really here for are those most in need. Gaule opened Soups as a cheap and healthy eatery for the neighborhood’s financially challenged residents, a sort of for-profit soup kitchen for those a few bucks above broke.

“I really wanted something that would make me feel like life was worth living, ” he says..

and Sean Paul Forsha wrote:

Need Some Soup for the Soul? Get It Piping Hot in Tenderloin

Sean Paul Forsha


(06-24) 04:00 PST San Francisco — If Richard Gaule had his way, all the ills of the Tenderloin would be cured with a steaming bowl of soup.

Wedged in between two bars along a breezy strip of O’Farrell Street, Gaule’s restaurant carries a bright sign announcing “Soups — Good Food — Healthy — Everyone Welcome.” Its owner is a quirky fellow with an infectious smile who decided eight years ago he wanted to open a business that would help the community.

“I first thought about opening a video store or a fish and pet store,” said Gaule, who used to manage residential apartments in the neighborhood but now drives in five days a week from Novato, where he lives with his wife, Marilyn. “Then I thought, if people ate better, they could get healthy and eventually get themselves out of this neighborhood.”

Thus, Soups was born in August 1992. However, at the time, the singular would’ve been more appropriate. Gaule, who admits he never cooked a meal before he opened his restaurant, started with only one soup: potato.

“It took me two weeks to perfect that one,” Gaule laughed, as he prepared the restaurant for a recent lunch crush, stirring chunks of chicken and corn into one pot and tasting the seasoning on the chili in another. “But I’ve read a lot of recipes and taken comments from my customers, and I think the soups have gotten a lot better.”

Now, Gaule makes six soups daily and also offers hot dogs ($2.50) and very basic sandwiches ($2.75). Vegetable, chicken noodle and chili are the mainstays, but he also whips up a mean lima bean and ham and split pea. “I try to make all my soups as healthy as possible,” he said, insisting that he refuses to use cream in his recipes.

For $3.75, you get a well-filled bowl of soup, all the crackers you can manage and a choice of coffee, tea or milk. When the bowl runs down, Gaule ladles in another serving and pushes more crackers your way. He also supplies onions and cheese to add to the soup and jalapenos to “kick out the evil spirits.”

With this deal, it’s easy to see why the 11-seat counter — rescued from the old Woolworth’s store on Market Street — is always full. It’s an interesting group that frequents Soups. Gaule describes them as “people you’d see on the bus.”

Like Ralphie, a feisty old guy who ambles up to the counter telling Gaule and the others about his new practice of wearing two wrist watches.

“I’m right on time,” he says.

One day not long ago, Gaule said District Attorney Terence Hallinan was seated at the counter next to three drug dealers. When one of the dealers realized it was Hallinan, he took Gaule aside and asked him to take a picture of the scene.

“He (Hallinan) had no idea who he was having lunch with,” Gaule laughed.


Gaule, on the other hand, knows almost everyone who eats at his counter. He welcomes returnees by name and introduces himself to first-timers with a handshake and a smile.

He is devoted to his regular customers, as the mini-shrine in the back corner indicates. Arranged collage-style are more than 100 pictures of his favorite guests, with a small placard in the front that reads, “Friendship, Community, Support and Fun.” Placed in the middle is a photo of Gaule dressed as Superman with the words “Super-Friend” emblazoned on his chest.

Gaule admits that his years behind the counter are numbered. He allows himself two vacations a year but looks forward to spending more time hiking and tide-pooling with Marilyn. Until then, you’ll catch him manning the ladles and keeping the Tenderloin healthy.


784 O’Farrell St. (near Larkin St.), San Francisco (415) 775-6406 Open 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Closed weekends and holidays. What you’ll eat: Soup ’til you’re stuffed What you’ll see: Community in action What you’ll hear: Owner’s witty one-liners What you’ll think: “Visualize Whirled Peas” How you’ll get there: 38 Geary, 19 Polk


Presented by City Hall San Francisco & Local 6: JON HAMMOND Band on front lawn of the beautiful SF City Hall during lunch hour free concert. JON HAMMOND at the B3 Organ along with Harvey Wainapel tenor, Steve Campos flugel horn, Barry Finnerty gtr. & James Preston drms. of Sons of Champlin band playing JH Band original “Nu Funk” (Hip Hop Chitlins). *Note: Jon’s organ bench fell out of the truck on Polk St. (was recovered) One of Jon’s famous sayings: “It’s easier to find an Organ with no Bench than a Bench without an Organ” !

Happy Birthday today Bobbie Webb Blues Man saxophonist band leader broadcaster KPOO !

*WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: KPOO Bobbie Webb + Jon Hammond Trio

Christmas Broadcast at KPOO 89.5 FM in S.F. CA with Blues Man BOBBIE ‘Spider’ WEBB + JON HAMMOND Trio in-studio, Ronnie Smith Jr. drums, Alex Budman sax with special appearances by CHARLIE the movie star cat + CHET HELMS at S.F. City Hall plugging Matt Gonzales & Terence Hallinan San Francisco District Attorney, AFM Local 6 Musicians Union, Poster for Shanghai Ritz-Carlton Hotel gig with Danny Woody, LaDee Streeter & Band in Chinese, attended by Mayor Willie Brown in Sister City Shanghai China.

*WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: Jazzbo’s Famous Amazing Peanut Butter Cookies and Train Song

Al Jazzbo Collins giving his famous recipe for amazing Peanut Butter Cookies on the air on WNEW AM 1130 make sure to write it down folks!
*Note: My Mom made a batch of Jazzbo’s Peanut Butter Cookies today and they came out amazing, highly recommend! See photo in opening shot, actual cookies made by my Mom – Jon Hammond
Al Jazzbo Collins coast to coast in California with his Daughter Teal and on the air.
covered by Jon Hammond personally in 1987
Radio Hall of Fame
and Train Song by Jon Hammond Band in Indigo Blues Club 221 W.46th St. New York, NY by Jon Hammond and The Late Rent Session Men
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50 UN PLAZA S.F. CA JON HAMMOND Band *Larry Schneider gst. star

At High Noon on a hot San Francisco day we hit for the People with my organ quartet *spcl. guest star LARRY SCHNEIDER soprano sax, fellow Berklee Alum RUSS GOLD drms., BARRY FINNERTY gtr., JON HAMMOND leader/organ playing the funky JH composition ‘Pocket Funk’ through a 1965 Fender Twin Amp that once was onstage at FILLMORE with FLYING CIRCUS guitarist JOHN McFEE (Clover, Doobie Brothers). Catch Jon Hammond’s radio show 7 early mornings a week and various times on KYOU & KYCY 1550AM (CBS) HammondCast Show in San Francisco. *Special thanks: Maria Kozak Local 6 Union, CAMERA: Derek Tracy


Bob Cunningham, Bass, Bernard Purdie, Jon Hammond, Local 802, Musicians Union, NDR Jazz, Late Rent, Mikell’s, Jazz Foundation of America, Elmar Lemes, ASCAP Network, B3 organ, XK-3c, Blues, Funky, Rhonda Hamilton, WBGO

ASCAP Network Behind The Beat with Jon Hammond “LATE RENT”

Elmar Lemes photo of Jon Hammond playing XK-3 organ at Local 802 Monday Night Jazz Session sponsored by Jazz Foundation of America

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ASCAP Network Behind The Beat “NDR SESSIONS Projekt”

50 U.N. Plaza, San Francisco, Local 6 Musicians Union, Hammond Artist, Funk Soul Blues, Jon Hammond Band, Larry Schneider, Saxophone, Organ, KYOU Radio

Lydia’s Tune

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