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

Honest and Well-Done

Royal Oak's Trattoria Da Luigi isn't glamorous — just rustic, lovable...and marvelous

2014 Restaurant of the Year

Marais' chef/owner David Gilbert has brought world-class, top-end dining to Detroit.

Good Taste

Trying to eat healthier? Campaign aims to help consumers combine taste with nutrition.

Untapped Potential

Michigan looks to sweeten its maple syrup output

In the Mix

Wolf Moon — with an assist from McClure's — launches line of all-natural, fresh-fruit cocktail concoctions

Most Popular

  1. Raising the Bar
    From metro Detroit hails an online fundraising platform that's been redefining philanthropy on a...
  2. If You Build It Right, Millions Will Come
    How an arms race architect named Dave Dombrowski has taken the Detroit Tigers from helpless to...
  3. Honest and Well-Done
    Royal Oak's Trattoria Da Luigi isn't glamorous — just rustic, lovable...and marvelous
  4. Scene Stealer
    Detroit-born Broadway star Elaine Stritch still attracts — and charms — a crowd
  5. Long Gone
    Tiger Stadium isn't the Detroit area's only bygone baseball venue
  6. Fashion Meets Furniture
    Nigel Barker left N.Y. Fashion Week early to team up with Art Van
  7. Into the Deep
    n an underwater world of mystery and intrigue, an enchanting creature reveals the season's most...
  8. Green is Good
    It's the time of the season for digging, pruning, and (maybe) planting
  9. Bastone Brewery Turns 10
    Bastone Brewery has reached a milestone of 10 years in business. To celebrate their anniversary,...