By Virginia Dean
Local resident Matt Buck had always dreamed of opening a soup eatery, and this past November, his wish came true. Soup Dog is now open for business and offers a wide selection of soups and a variety of hotdogs and toppings to go with them.
“I’ve been a big fan of soups and creating them for about 15 years now,” said Buck. “My grandfather was an excellent soup creator in addition to my mom. So, a lot of my passion for it comes from them.”
Located at 2822 Killington Road, the new eatery offers customers over 500 square feet of space primarily as a lunch spot from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Days of operation and times are subject to change while Soup Dog finds its niche, said Buck. Opening day was Sunday, Nov. 14, primarily, and it will be open Thursday-Sunday.
In addition to the soups and dogs, there is also a variety of artwork, photography, t-shirts, hats, stickers and even shot skis available. The photography is a collection of Buck’s work that showcases landscapes and wildlife and are housed in handmade frames that he makes during the summer months.
So far, he has seen great support from locals and diehard Killington weekenders. And no wonder. The restaurant features a constantly changing menu and some staples include chili and chicken soup, buffalo chicken soup, pot roast soup, broccoli cheddar, and ham corn chowder. A variety of hotdog toppings provides customers with a plethora of options in addition to a variety of mustards, ketchups, pickles, and raw onions.
Buck is also excited to add some vegan and veggie options for people. Soon, vegans will be able to enjoy vegan chili cheese dogs.
“The best part of this business is creating,” said Buck. “I try to craft my soups just like I would make a frame or any other handmade item. Creating food that many feel warms and feeds the soul is very special, and I’m thrilled that this is where I am in my life. Another amazing upside to the business is meeting all of the great people who live in this town and others who visit because they love the mountain.”
But Buck’s endeavor wouldn’t be possible, he noted, without the support of his wife, Marianne. “The life we’ve cultivated together is due to her support and my crazy man approach to the goals I have,” said Buck. “She still works full time but will be in to help me on weekends if I feel I need her.”
The couple splits their time between Killington and southern Rhode Island, claiming to be both mountain and beach lovers. Buck is originally from Rhode Island, and Marianne from western Pennsylvania. When they had their wedding reception at Domenic’s Pizzeria in 2018, a few years later the owner showed them the space that is now Soup Dog and asked if they would be interested in setting up shop. They jumped at the chance, with Buck transitioning from his profession as a full-time commercial photographer.
“Like everything else I do in life, I dove right in,” said Buck. “I figured it out and sought out help and knowledge from those I respect and who had good advice to give. It’s all about surrounding yourself with the right people in life but, in the end, believing in yourself and going for it.”
Buck began building out the space at the end of August 2021, considering it to be a “blank canvas” on which to build his new business.
“I love woodworking and working with my hands as much as my other hobbies,” he said. “So, working steadily on the space this past summer and fall was a real treat. Seeing the project and the process take shape was really enjoyable.”
“We’ve been skiing Killington for a while now and were diehard weekenders coming up to our place,” Buck said. “My passion for soups and soups being prime for winter areas along with the opportunity to start a business here in Killington has made it a no-brainer.”
Buck thinks of Soup Dog as a food truck with the ability to come inside, get out of the cold, look at some artwork, watch a ski video playing on the big TV or listen to some tunes while waiting for some good handcrafted food.
“I’m certain aspects of the business will change as it ages, and I’m okay with that,” he said. “I expect it. But, for now, I’m really enjoying watching my creation grow and evolve. And what better place to see it happen than in Killington, Vermont.”