Fans of the soups served up at the defunct Sandstone Café in Kennewick can spoon up their favorites again at Atomic Bowl in Richland.
The bowling center recently paid for the rights to ladle them out, and its customers are delighted, said Max Faulkner, co-owner and managing partner at Atomic Bowl.
James Ortega, who used to own Sandstone Café, recently shared with Atomic Bowl food manager Stephanie Hall the recipes and techniques for six of his popular soups.
“They are fully consistent with the award-winning soups he offered at the Sandstone Café,” Faulkner said.
Hall plans to rotate the soups — reuben, cream of asparagus, Italian sausage and kale, clam chowder, potato and bacon, and cheddar broccoli — at Atomic Bowl throughout the week, offering one kind per day.
Faulkner said he always enjoyed Sandstone’s soups, so he contacted Ortega, hoping the soups would increase traffic at Atomic Bowl.
“My mom always thought that good soup was one of the most important things in a restaurant. Also one of my old partners thought that every restaurant should have at least one special item to try to become famous for. We already had great prime rib, but nobody else has Sandstone soups,” he said.
Ortega’s soups earned awards for several years at the Beggars’ Banquet, an annual fundraiser for Safe Harbor Crisis Nursery and My Friends Place.
Ortega, who now works as a cook at Jake’s Café in Kennewick, was the proprietor of Sandstone Café in Kennewick for 11 years. The downtown restaurant closed in 2013, and the Columbia Drive location shut down the following year amid financial difficulties.
Ortega said he’s pleased his soups are back in rotation.
“I get calls from my friends congratulating me on it. They’re excited, especially the customers who live in Richland who came all the way to Kennewick to get the soup,” he said.
Ortega doesn’t make the soups much anymore, only occasionally for large group gatherings.
“I made soup here the other day at the house for my roommates and it lasted all of about two hours. They devoured a gallon and half of soup,” he said.
Ortega was pleased Faulkner reached out to him. “It’s working out well. I will go in once a month to check on quality control, as per our contract, for the next year,” he said.
Atomic Bowl, at 624 Wellsian Way in Richland, features a full service snack bar and is open 10 a.m. until midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
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