Steven Wenhardt started Wisconsin Soup Co. with the hope of one day selling his small-batch creations from a storefront.
Ten years later, his idea is being realized with a new cafe and store called Loup, which stands for "soup with a local twist," said Wenhardt.
The concept has been proposed at 7505 Harwood Ave. in Wauwatosa. It will take over a 1,100-square-foot retail space, previously used by the adjacent Yo Mama frozen yogurt shop as a party room.
From its 1,500-square-foot facility at 62nd and State Streets, Wisconsin Soup Co. produces a line of 21 frozen soups that are sold at approximately 40 grocery stores in the Milwaukee and Madison areas and shipped across the country through the business' e-commerce site.
Its products are also distributed to a number local cafes and at farmers markets year round, which is how Wisconsin Soup Co. got its start back in 2010.
The addition of its own storefront will allow the business to sell its farm-to-table product fresh and ready-made, while also engaging with its customers, said Wenhardt.
"We want to have something where we can tell our story a little but and give people a place to hang and enjoy a cup of soup and get that experience of what we're all about in the first place," he said.
Loup is both a dine-in and carry-out concept. There will be a small seating area and counter where diners can order soup by the bowl or flight, paired with house-made sandwiches and bread. Quarts of hot soup and bread can also be ordered to go.
Ingredients will be sourced from local vendors, and Wenhardt said he's considering partnering with a local baker to provide bread for the restaurant.
"It's a great way to showcase what Wisconsin has," he said.
Wenhardt hopes to open Loup by May, but plans have yet to be approved by the city. The plan commission is scheduled to take the proposal up March 9.