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Hale & Hearty Soups is awful

I used to eat at the one in Rock Center a couple of times a week and then the one on 56th St. when my office moved. It was always good, even if a little pricey. Now, the soup is generally awful. Its no better than anywhere else in town and much more expensive. There are funky flavors in a few of my favorites like Shrimp Bisque or Tomato Cheddar and other are bland and flavorless. What happened here? I read somewhere that the founders and executive chef left. Perhaps the new people making the soup are just screwing it up. Its nothing like it used to be. I even think the new Soup Man stores have better soup, even though their's is pretty bad too. I miss the old Hale & Hearty.

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  1. I have always loved Hale and Hearty. But haven't been in at least a year. On a cold day like this I think I'll get me some of that soup for lunch today. I'll report back later.

    1. that's disappointing. i've always been a fan of their veggie split pea.

      1. Stick with the cheap to medium priced soups. I've never had a problem there. When they try to recreate fancy stews (Hungarian Goulash, etc.), that's when their cost cutting, chain-store mentality hurts the food.

        Black bean, 3 lentil chile, black lentil, etc. are all great soups.

        1. My company used to order from them through seamlessweb and stopped ordering because they had the slowest delivery system.
          Our lunch usually got around 1:30 eventhough we ordered them for 12:30..I was so fed up and wrote an email to the company and got a irresponsible response that said something like, it's because we are too busy and we can't do anything about it.
          We stopped ordering from them. Their soup was ok but I loved their flatbread sandwich.

          1. Can't disagree more. I eat there about four times a week and think the soups are great. Definitely better than Original Soupman (too few choices, too expensive) and generally better than the "fresh" soups at local delis, which I find tend to be too thin. While I generally prefer freshly made food over product out of a bag, I can't argue with the results.

            1. Although the soup does come out of a bag, it's because all the soup is freshly made at a central location and shipped to the individual stores in bags. If you go to Chelsea Market, you will see them making the soup fresh for distribution. To me, that's still fresh.

              2 Replies
              1. re: aunteejoy

                My original point had nothing to with whether it was fresh or not. You get lousy tasting food at some restaurants that prepare it order right there in front of you. My point was that the soup is not nearly as good as it used to be. In fact, some of it is down right inedible these days and I have had to throw it out on more than one occasion. I simply can't go there any more whereas it used to be my favorite.

                1. re: jstevens

                  I went to the H&H at 56th and 8th a couple of weeks ago. I got the small soup-half sandwich combo. The soup, while not bad(white bean) was very small and fairly bland. The 'greek wrap' or somesuch was two and a half bites of letuce with a taste of feta and an olive thrown in. I think it came to about seven or eight dollars with tax and all. I don't think I'll be going back.

              2. Most of the soups I've tried have been good, but definitely overpriced. I think awful is a definite stretch.

                1. Ok,as I said I went to Hale and Hearty Soups for lunch today. There's one right near my office on 42nd street. I'm not sure how long it's been for me,but I haven't been there in awhile. Really cold today so I got two soups. One was good old chicken noodle. I remember it being really good there. Well not today. Tasted like it was made with plain water with some chicken added to it. Also way too salty. I was not amused as it was not cheap. Then I tried some Russian Beef type of soup. It was a special and the girl behind the counter said it was good. As this post is titled an awful soup. The beef was shredded and overcooked. There was also one large burned piece of beef in my bowl that was hard as a rock. There was no flavor,and it was really expensive. All in all my experience today was very bad. I should have tasted the soups before I bought them. I would have left and gone elsewhere. Hale and Hearty is not what it used to be in my opinion.

                  1. FYI, you can ask to taste the soup before you order.

                    1. Some soups are good, some are bad.

                      The *real* improvement that H&H should make is to price things so that they round to $.25 amounts including tax (like, e.g., Shake Shack). Maybe the lines wouldn't be so long if the cashiers could make change more easily. You'd think that such a busy cash-only operation would have figured it out by now.

                      1. I could live on soup alone and have been very disappointed with H & H. Their specials all sound so good but generally very cornstarchy and salty and overprocessed. Their regular chicken vegetable and vegetable can be good but they are strangely inconsistent. Sometimes brothy, sometimes very little broth, often too salty, too sweet (veg) or too mushy. Original Soup is not good, more expensive, and they insist on the cookie, chips etc which I throw out, but resent the fact that the soup is priced to include them. Not a pricing policy of a serious soup purveyor, in my opinion.

                        I'm sorry Daily Soup went under but it's possible they weren't as good as I remember either. I keep meaning to try Fashion Soup.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: dbird

                          I don't necessarily agree with you anout the specials. I actually think they often sound ridiculous. Today they had swiss chard potato sausage - did they get a good deal on those 3 ingredients which have no rhyme or reason being together? Also, I find half their soups these days are curry based too which I personally hate. Also today - Winter Russian Beef - what the heck is that?

                          1. re: dbird

                            agree about the (over)use of cornstarch. I got the pozole one day and it was thickened. I can overlook the fact that it was made with chicken and not my preferred pork, but cornstarchy thick broth? why?

                          2. Maybe it depends on the location? I personally love the veggie split pea. And of course, the salads...

                            1. I never understood what people saw in Hale and Hearty. The price to quality ratio is totally out of wack there.
                              Good soup must be hard to do right on a large scale because so much crappy soup gets served up in this town these days it makes me grumpy.

                              1. Do any of you guys actually go to Hale and Hearty regularly?

                                My husband and I pick up soup there almost daily, and I find the vast majority of the soups to be absolutely delicious.

                                We also love their chicken caesar salad.

                                We've been customers for years and haven't noticed any change in the quality. This winter, I've seen a lot of new soups on the menu, and I think many of them have been excellent.

                                I agree it's not cheap, but nothing good is cheap in NYC!

                                1. Sorry... Im not paying 8 bucks for a cup of soup and i can easily afford it...Delicious Soup is the cheapest and easiest thing to make.
                                  Four Recipes under 5 minutes, each under $3.00 and you'll have a big pot of delicious, fresh homemade soup that will last you a week:

                                  1-Split Pea: Bag of split peas, H20, ham hock,season.

                                  2-Onion: 8 chopped onions,can of chicken stock, season.

                                  3-Tomato: Saute onion, carrot, 2 cans Tomato juice, season.

                                  4-Potato/Leek: Saute leeks and onions in butter, add 6 chopped pototoes season blend.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: DoctortedNYC

                                    I am with you--I make my own soup. Making soup tomorrow matter of fact...

                                  2. Sometimes I go to H&H and have always found the soups to be decent but nothing to write home about. Today I had a delicious minestrone at Cafe Gusto on John Street (the large was only $3.50!) and realized H&H really isn't very good. The Gusto soup wasn't over-seasoned as the H&H soups often are, the vegetables tasted fresh, and I think it was homemade. I've had their pasta fagiole a few times and it is the best I've ever had. The moral of the story: I think I'm done with H&H!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Nikki NYC

                                      I love Hale and Hearty, and am so glad that they opened in Carle Place on Glen Cove Road--go there whenever I'm out that way shopping..wish they would open in Queens somewhere---I don't go to many locations in Manhattan but have always found Chelsea Market to be fine. I certainly have my favorites and less favorites--I don't care for their everyday chicken soup way too much dill--but I really like their curry chicken, chicken and rice, chicken pot pie, chicken dumpling, tortellini and mushroom, their wedding soup is fabulous, --do not like their pasta fagiol, my son loves their tomato meatballs and o's (chef boyardee like)--and really like their rockport clam chowder--I think that's the name...their salads are a good portion, and you can have a decent size salad and bowl of soup for $10, so I think it's still reasonable compared to lots of other places. They are also very clean, and it's convenient to get the quarts to go to heat at home. So, I'm still a fan.