Nothing warms the body and soul quite like a good, hearty soup. Despite being the ultimate comfort food, soup in the summer seems like a risky (sweaty) proposition. But when it’s for a worthy cause, people will come out in droves, as Minneapolis’ first ever Queer Soup Night proved last Sunday at Modist Brewing.
Originating in Brooklyn as a way to bring the LGBTQ community together for a party to eat soup, Queer Soup Night showcases the talents of local queer chefs and, most importantly, raises money for a different charity at each event. The Twin Cities’ first time organizers elected to donate their event’s proceeds to Transforming Families’ Minnesota chapter. This important and necessary organization aims to provide resources and a safer space for transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender questioning youth and their families, while providing a supportive community space. A few enthusiastic volunteers from their organization operated a table in the midst of the reverie.
In Modist’s event space behind the taproom, smiling faces welcomed attendees to a table with name tags and kindly advocated for providing pronouns. The suggested donation was $10-$20 per person, but it was stressed on the event page and in person that no one would be turned away for lack of funds—an intersectional socio-economic consideration that’s missing from many events in the dining scene, and beyond, which reiterated a friendly “come-as-you-are” vibe.
A table near the back wall was stacked with pre-sliced bread from Alma for dipping into various savory stocks. Local coffee heroes Peace Coffee provided some bean juice for jazzing up people to seize the dance floor. Shiny pink balloons drifted whimsically above the soup tables proudly displaying “QSN.” The featured chefs camped near their brothy creations, ready to enlighten tasters with information on what they’d thoughtfully imagined and lovingly prepared.
Tré Donte’ Hardy, chef for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, showed up with a lighter than anticipated lobster and sweet corn chowder that did not skimp on the seafood. The flavors in the chowder sang when topped with cooling smoked paprika crema and salty bacon.
Nico SanFilippo of Alma presented folks with a bright and refreshing Sicilian zucchini soup, featuring some of the best flavors of summer in a garlicky tomato broth. Al dente squash floated alongside root veggies, and handmade orecchiette added a personal touch to chef Nico’s homage to her family.
Leah Korger of the ingenuitive Blue Collar Supper club managed to pack all of the flavors of any self-respecting grill-out into a bowl… including the booze. Their Drunken Backyard Chicken Soup layered flavors of smoky chicken and beer beans, and was spiced with the perfect amount of charred peppers. Garnished with crispy tortillas and sweet and piquant pickled peppers, this soup had a delightful Tex-Mex flair, rounded out by lime and cilantro flavors.
The soup-slurping crowd was lively and mingled readily, facilitated by local act DJ Beefcake’s song choices that brought many folks to the dance floor… and quite honestly kept your author goofily busting a move for a majority of the evening. Dance hits pumped throughout the event and readied the crowd for two energetic burlesque performances. Del the Funky Homosexual seductively undulated with precision moves and wowed the crowd with near-acrobatic flips, before Emerald Eve slinkily disrobed from a Wonder Woman outfit, teasing out many whoops and cheers from the crowd while playfully cracking the comic book character’s signature golden whip.
The crowd was hyped from the performances’ vigor, which made way for even more dancing. It just goes to show that no one cares if you’re sweating from summer soup or swaying to Robyn in this squad. By night’s end, it was announced by organizers that attendees had raised over $1,300 for Transforming Families. This should surprise no one, as Twin Cities queers know how to throw a damn good party for a cause.
Queer Soup Night exemplifies the collective goodwill of our LGBTQ+ community in the Twin Cities, and underlines that bringing people together for a brothy bash is always a… souper good idea.