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DINING OUT: Spoons rule at Uncle Louie G’s

The heat is on at Uncle Louie G’s Bay Ridge location.

Although the shop is best known for its wide selection of summertime ices and ice cream, it’s the Hale and Hearty soup that keeps customers coming in throughout the colder months.

Co-owner Brian Braun lives in Staten Island, but his dad, Bill, who runs the business with him, is a native Ridgeite. He decided to serve soup last fall, not only to supplement sales, but because people “know the Hale and Hearty name.”

The soups are homemade every morning with all-natural ingredients and shipped to the Third Avenue store. Braun serves a selection of six soups daily, with 50 to 60 varieties of soup in circulation. Every day, there are vegetarian, low-fat and gluten free options.

“We have something for everybody,” Braun said, adding that he is able to keep prices lower than regular Hale and Hearty retailers because of his off-the-beaten-path location.

With oldies playing on the radio above and a wall of New York themed cultural memorabilia, Braun said that he aimed to marry the concept of “All-American ice cream parlor meets New York” and that he did.

Ridgeite Jessica eats at Uncle Louie G’s at least once a week. Her favorite soups are creamy tomato with chicken and orzo and beef barley. “It depends if I am in the mood for baked ziti in a cup,” she said of the former selection.

We thoroughly enjoyed our soup selections. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill chicken noodle soup; Hale and Hearty’s soups are hearty meals in a cup.

We sampled all of the day’s selections, starting with Sweet Corn Chowder ($5 for a small, $6 for a large), which was creamy and comforting, filled with corn kernels and a hint of bacon.

Next was Italian Wedding ($4.50 for a small, $5.50 for a large), which was not as salty as other varieties and brimming with orzo, spinach, carrots and crushed meatballs. Each mouthful was like biting into a pasta dish instead of a soup.

Then we tried Macaroni and Cheese ($5 for a small, $6 for a large) which was downright sinful, and one of our pair’s all-time favorites. Tender elbows of macaroni were wrapped in rich, creamy, sharp cheddar cheese, studded with parsley and bits of ground beef.

The Tomato Bisque ($4.50 for a small, $5.50 for a large) was creamy and elegant, made with basil. This option is also gluten-free.

The Chunky Beef Barley Soup ($5 for a small, $6 for a large) was more like a casserole than a soup. It was crammed with chunks of beef, winter vegetables and, of course, barley.

Last, but not least was the brightly spiced Fall Harvest Vegetable Soup ($4.50 for a small and $5.50 for a large). It had a tomato broth base, loaded with chunks of tomato, celery, zucchini and eggplant, and flavored with dill, parsley and ground black pepper.

Diners have the option of adding a soft pretzel and soda or water to their soup for $2 extra. The pretzels are warmed to order, chewy and doughy – the perfect match for soaking up that last bit of broth.

Customers can check the Bay Ridge Uncle Louie G’s Facebook page or call the store to find out daily specials. We bet you will want to try them all.

Uncle Louie G’s

8702 Third Avenue

718-833-4237

Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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