The Pennsylvania Soup and Seafood House is an unlikely name for a restaurant knitted into the miniature and upscale mall that is the Main Street Market Place at 22 South Main Street. That, at least, was my wrongheaded knee-jerk reaction when Lynne suggested we try it on a bitterly cold Monday lunchtime. Truth is, the Soup and Seafood House is warm, friendly, serving big bowls of soups that not only got the chill out of my bones – and believe me, the chill was deep that day – but is friendly and pleasant on top of it all.
Let’s get the Market Place issue out of the way: The Soup and Seafood House has the air of a restaurant that just happens to share space with the market’s boutiques. Many of its tables are well out the way of foot traffic, and the servers don’t get lost in the crowd. Ours paid us regular attention. Plus, the market’s not that busy at lunchtime, so this is a good place for a business lunch as well as a get-away-from-your-desk break.
And the food’s good. I had a broccoli and cheddar soup that was thick, hot, had plenty of fresh broccoli and a bit of pepper for extra flavor. Lynne had white fish and chips, which was fresh and not overfried, one of the things she looks out for.
Of course, we grabbed a menu so we can plot our next visit: Aside from 12 kinds of soup, it includes crab cakes, fried shrimp, fish and chips, char-broiled tuna steak, plus comfort food like chicken pot pie and meatloaf, burgers and sandwiches, salads and a kids menu. It’s a nice menu with a lot of variety.
Prices are reasonable: A potato-encrusted crab cake is $14.99, chicken pie is $7.99, soups range from $3.50 to $6 a cup and $6 to $8 a bowl. We thought the portions were just right – not too much and not too little.
When we were paying our bill, we got to talking with the owner, Keith Blalock, a friendly man who seems to thank every patron personally for coming out. The thing is, when he thanks you, he means it. He genuinely wants to hear what his customers have to say and is grateful for feedback.