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, 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.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Clear Choices

Glass half empty or ...? Who cares? It’s the shape that matters

Oma Rules!

Since 1904, Jacoby's has been dishing out German comfort food to rival Grandma's

Drink Recipe: Improved Rattlesnake

Kind of a Big Deal

Dine Drink Detroit to showcase 25 restaurants each offering their finest food and drink combos for $15

Fresh Ideas for Fall

Café Cortina’s Ernesto Antopia chooses seasonal veggies for roasted beet salad
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Top Docs List 2015
  2. Life in the Cadaver Lab
    For future doctors, Wayne State University’s body bequest program isn’t all about death —...
  3. Hungry Like the Wolf
    Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant brings delightfully flavored fare to Northville
  4. Having ‘The Conversation’
    End-of-life-care issues are becoming part of the national dialogue
  5. From a Dark Place
    After losing his sight, an artist’s journey to reinvent his life is a lesson in overcoming...
  6. Running for Her Life
    Founder of Rock CF nonprofit fights back against genetic lung disease

  7. Life-Changing Decisions
    The list containing the winners and the accompanying medical stories featured in the 2015 Top...
  8. Erasing the Past
    In southwest Detroit, a tattoo removal program helps former gang members leave stigma behind
  9. Painting With a Twist
    With its unique creations, Black Light Visuals builds loyal following among music fans
  10. Extremely Personal Choices
    More women opt for a double mastectomy, but does it really prevent anything?