Meet Karl Bader, Karl's Craft Soup


Karl’s Craft Soup is an artisan food business, specializing in high-flavor vegetarian and vegan soups made with local and seasonal ingredients.


What do you love about your business and industry?

It might sound weird, but I absolutely love making soup. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than melding different flavors and seasonal foods into pots, and bowls of deliciousness.And Chicago is a fantastic place to own a food business.

Tell us what inspires you. 

Flavor and making people happy with my soups.After all, soup is the ultimate comfort food.

What advice do you have for other creatives and entrepreneurs?

Do what you love and know that you have to do what you do all day every day. 

What is something surprising about you (secret talent, unexpected fact, fear, etc)? 

I used to be a record guy! The first half of my professional career was spent working for record labels and representing some amazing talents like Sting, Sheryl Crow and Steve Earle.

What is the most common question you get about you and your business?

People are really interested in the ingredients and spices I use.  They love the story behind the soup.

Tell us about your process for making and creating. 

It all starts with the ingredients. Inspired by what’s fresh and available locally, I put veggies & herbs together to capture the best flavors of every season.

Name three local makers and brands that you are inspired by and why.

1) Katherine Anne Confections: her flavors are wildly creative and her business model is very smart.

2) City Press Juices: they're fun, approachable, healthy & tasty..

3) Rare Bird Preserves: I have yet to meet anyone more dedicated to quality than Elizabeth Madden.

What is the best advice you've ever been given and how has it shaped your business?

To keep my business fluid. And not restrict myself to a storefront. I have an amazing team, and with their dedication and talent, I’m able to serve many needs with Karl’s Craft Soup – from my vibrant farmers’ market and artisan market presence, to having a really successful catering operation via Cater 2 Me, as well as to wholesale to some of the city’s top retail food businesses.

Making Waves

Karl’s Craft Soup has received a lot of incredible feedback to date. With a focus on our creative recipes like Golden Gazpacho, African Peanut, Thai Carrot & Corn, Roasted Tomato & White Cheddar, Lentil Veggie Vindaloo and Minty Spring Pea, we have been featured in Chicago Magazine, the Tribune, Edible Chicago, the Hungry Hound and many more of our city’s food critics. But most importantly, the accolades I personally love come from the people who enjoy my soup at Farmers’ Markets and artisan markets around Chicago – especially vegan and vegetarian customers who often find it hard to discover truly great food. I’m super proud of everything we have been able to build in such a short time.

Discover more about Karl's Craft Soup at

Jessica Cohen