- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

SHEBOYGAN FALLS, Wis. (AP) - Greg and Heather Schneider had long flirted with the idea of opening a restaurant before a pair of recent travel experiences finally sealed the deal.

The first came during a mission trip to Houston, where they helped provide nutritious meals to families in need and left with the desire to do the same when they returned home.

The second came during a visit last summer to Door County, where they ate at a small soup restaurant and saw it as a blueprint for a business they could manage on their own.

Upon their return, they immediately began creating plans for Heavenly Soup in downtown Sheboygan Falls, which opened earlier this year on a limited basis and just expanded its hours as the business has grown in popularity.

The Sheboygan Press (http://shebpr.es/28SmwUk ) reports that the restaurant, located at 608 Broadway St., serves a wide range of from-scratch soups using family recipes and others the couple developed on their own.

It also includes a board where customers can purchase and leave behind soup gift cards for strangers, which was inspired by the couple’s Houston mission trip.

“Our goal is to be a restaurant that anyone can come to and have a nutritious meal,” Greg Schneider said. “I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and we’ve always talked about doing something where we could cook for other people.”

Schneider worked as a cook for about a decade at an area nursing home and now works as a teacher at Sheboygan Falls Elementary School. He helps run the restaurant on the side.

His wife, Heather, left her teaching job at South High at the end of the school year and will soon work full-time at the restaurant, with help from their two children and extended family.

The restaurant was initially open three days a week, with the couple working at the restaurant after school let out. They’ve since expanded their hours and are now open Tuesday-Saturday.

“We weren’t sure what to expect when we started, and we’re very happy with the business since we got going,” Greg Schneider said.

The restaurant’s menu is always evolving. A recent weekday had a lineup of beef chili, kale and sweet potato, butternut squash and chicken noodle soups.

Along with soup, they offer a small selection of sandwiches, and during summer months, they sell Cedar Crest ice cream.

The coupons left behind by strangers have also proven popular with customers who are grateful for the free meal, and there continue to be generous patrons who leave more behind.

“We’re trying to foster a sense of community within the restaurant and with our customers,” Greg Schneider said.

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Information from: Sheboygan Press Media, http://www.sheboygan-press.com

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