NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. - Diners- complete with the counter and rotating stools- are a dying art these days.
That means North Tonawanda's Soup Lady at the 412 Diner certainly qualifies as a throwback.
Set inside a 1928 dining trailer, one of 300 left of its kind, Soup Lady at the 412 Diner is the creation of Barbara Gauchet, a longtime Lumber City resident whose love of cooking led her to follow her dream and open it up in January of 2015.
"This place always intrigued me, and I'd peek in the windows," says Gauchet. "And I just one day called the guy that owns the place and said, 'I really want this place.' And he said, 'OK.' And I just took 3 months cleaning it up, and I really love this place."
The historic setting is one big reason to check out the Soup Lady. The other is, of course, the soup- a rotating list of 75 (and growing) made by Gauchet and her daughter, Chara Reed.
"I'm a very traditional cook," says Gauchet. "I just think of things that I love, and I make them."
That includes the more familiar soups (chili, bean and bacon, split pea and ham) and some more unique ones based off of dishes that were Gauchet's childhood favorites (soldier's casserole, beef stroganoff). Stuffed Banana Pepper is among the most popular and a favorite of Unique Eats.
The Soup Lady at the 412 Diner also offers delicious burgers, deli sandwiches (don't miss the chicken salad), and fantastic pies made by Gauchet's mother, Lorraine Carroll (when Unique Eats visited, Gauchet's young granddaughter was also there, making the family affair of four generations in the same kitchen).
The diner is cash-only, and hours are somewhat limited right now because Gauchet works a day job. She plans to retire at the end of the year to run the diner full-time with her daughter and expand the hours.
Soup Lady at the 412 Diner
412 Oliver St.
North Tonawanda, NY 14120