SoupDive! in Southfield Serves Up Health and Flavor

Dive Into Taste: With a wide repertoire of soups, along with salads and sandwiches, SoupDive! emphasizes both health and flavor



If it weren’t for an aching back, Pamela Matthews’ Dive gumbo, salmon chowder, chicken Florentine, and carrot-ginger soups might not be available to a wider audience than her family and friends. Thankfully, though, when she consulted an acupuncturist in a little strip mall in Southfield, she found relief for her back pain — and a location for her restaurant, SoupDive!

As she was being treated, she told the doctor about her dream of opening a little restaurant. It just so happened that his friend was the landlord of the strip, and Baskin-Robbins had recently moved out of the space next door, leaving it vacant. Would she like it? Indeed. That was last April.

She hired two architects to repurpose the space, and it took about five months to complete the project. “We tore out the floors and ceiling, completely gutted the place, and started from scratch,” she says. “The architects — one extravagant, the other practical — gave me the delicate balance.” One put in the “bells and whistles” while the other kept costs in check.

Pamela Matthews, left, with her daughter and business partner, Nikki Nickerson.

SoupDive! is the culmination of a lifelong love of cooking. Matthews and her daughter, Nikki Nickerson, who is her business partner, have been in the kitchen together for years, not using cookbooks or printed recipes, but creating their own dishes as they went along.

“We would get in the kitchen and experiment, using our own taste buds and documenting recipes,” Matthews says. “We’re very finicky eaters.” Seafood, vegetables, and fruit have always been the staples of their kitchen.

Their brainstorming produced such concoctions as wild salmon chowder, carrot-ginger, and what turned out to be the star of the show: Dive gumbo, made with shrimp and lump crabmeat but no sausage, in keeping with the theme of fusing healthy and delicious and adhering to a low-sodium, low-fat standard.

That’s important to Matthews, and it was reinforced when she was in her former job as an insurance adjuster. Traveling throughout Michigan, she says, “I didn’t want to eat fast food, but there was one fast-food place after another. I thought there should be a healthy place where you can get something fast and delicious.”

Although six daily soups (including Dive gumbo, which is always available) are the focus at the 16-seat spot, SoupDive! also offers flatbreads topped with shrimp, grilled chicken, or spinach and mushrooms, as well as crab cake, salmon, and tuna-croquette sandwiches. A few salads round out the menu. And then there’s Dive sauce — a blend of cilantro, rosemary, dill, parsley, and garlic, among other fresh herbs, that may be used on just about anything, she says. “It makes everything jump off the plate.”

Baskin-Robbins may be gone, but its “31 flavors” have been replaced by a repertoire of 30 soups, and that number will expand.

“Everything was in divine order,” Matthews says of her little enterprise. “I was groomed for this all my life.”

SoupDive! 26051 W. 12 Mile Rd., Southfield; 248-262-7300, soupdive.com. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

If you enjoy the monthly content in Hour Detroit, "Like" us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates.

Archive »Related Content

Staying Power

Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italia restaurant group celebrates its 25th anniversary

Takashi, Take Two

Slurping Turtle offers hip takes on traditional Japanese dishes.

It's About Family

Downtown Plymouth’s Nico & Vali is a slice of Italiana — with some twists

Taking Root

Growth is slow but steady for family-owned, Michigan-centric The Granola Tree

Fresh Fare

Treetops Resort's Farm2Fork events tap the bounty of local producers.

Most Popular

  1. 2014 Best Dressed List
    They come from all walks of life — from automotive, hospitality, and health to politics and...
  2. Rockford Brewing Company Brewery Profile
    Embracing the outdoors and the creative spirit, Rockford Brewing Company works to promote a...
  3. Staying Power
    Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italia restaurant group celebrates its 25th anniversary
  4. Hour Detroit's Best Dressed Celebration 2014 Video Invitation
  5. Ludington Area Beer Scene
    Ludington, Michigan represents the Michigan Craft Beer Scene
  6. All That Jazz
    A full-swing resurgence is drawing on Detroit’s rich music culture
  7. Takashi, Take Two
    Slurping Turtle offers hip takes on traditional Japanese dishes.
  8. Taking Root
    Growth is slow but steady for family-owned, Michigan-centric The Granola Tree
  9. Portrait of a Collector
    Robert Hudson Tannahill’s bequest left the DIA a priceless visual legacy
  10. It's About Family
    Downtown Plymouth’s Nico & Vali is a slice of Italiana — with some twists