Shannon Kelley traverses central Ohio to put people in touch with her homemade potage.

It was Ignatius J. Reilly -- not the Soup Nazi -- who inspired Shannon Kelley, a local constable of consomm.

The eccentric character in A Confederacy of Dunces, a novel by John Kennedy Toole, pushed a hot dog cart through New Orleans, among his many other misadventures.

"I said to myself, 'I want to own a hot dog cart one day,'" said Kelley, owner of the Lucky Ladle, a mobile soup company.

The thought of peddling franks to strangers might seem to be an unlikely career choice for someone who studied psychology at Ohio State University. But the former teacher likes to cook and mingle.

She settled for a venture in portable potage, which she launched in May. The concept has evolved but is still fairly simple: Her menu consists of two soups a day, two savory turnovers and a snickerdoodle cookie.

Kelley has spent the summer cooking from scratch and taking her hearty potions to various farmers markets, where she also culled her ingredients. Along the way, she has picked up a few wholesale clients, such as Kickstart, which sells coffee, scooters and other merchandise. Employee Steve Sikes-Gilbert said Kelley's been on board for about a month and her food goes quickly.

"We figured it was good for fall and winter to get some good soups in here," he said.

Kelley also makes home deliveries, at a minimum charge of $25, during lunch hours Monday through Friday.

Soups, one vegan and one meat option per day, are $6 for 12 ounces and $7.50 for a pint. Crackers or cornbread are free with each bowl, as is the cookie. Choices range from
Moroccan harira to chicken with homemade noodles.

Because Kelley is a vegan, she pays her 6-year-old son, Fritz, $2 a week to taste-test the soups with dairy and meat.

"He's honest," she said, noting that he's bucking for a 50-cent-a-week raise.

Now that farmers markets are over for the season, she will put her cart away for the winter. She does all of her work from a small storefront in Powell, which is not equipped for retail sales. Her long-range goal is to have a storefront with carryout services in Clintonville, the Short North, German Village or other pedestrian-friendly neighborhood.

The Soup Nazi, the character memorialized in the TV show Seinfeld, was an encouragement of sorts. As a teacher in the Bronx, Kelley would infrequently visit his restaurant to indulge in a bowl of soup, which cost $9 at the time.

"That was like a week's worth of subway tokens," she said.
For more information, call 614-596-3570.

A fan of intimate English pubs, Danielle Buzzard is trying to recreate that environment south of Worthington.

She will open Porter's Pub on Friday in the former Aztecas site, 5225 N. High St. The first-time tavern owner said Porter's will feature a wide variety of imported beers by the bottle, steel-tip darts and TVs tuned to soccer games. Tap beer will not be available when the bar opens. It will seat 60.

The bill of fare will be pub-oriented, such as fish and chips, with some American influences, including fried ravioli, Buzzard said. Some menu details are in the offing, as food service is about a month away, she said. However, nothing is expected to top $10, she said. Porter's is open for lunch and dinner hours six days a week, closed Sunday.

Travonna Coffee House, using free-trade java, has opened at 1195 N. High St., just south of Fifth Avenue.

The place, owned by Travis Hardy and Inayatt Ullah, gets its beans from a roaster in Wilmington, N.C. The house blend is "Carolina morning," a medium roast, full-bodied coffee also offered in decaf, manager Russell Hagemeyer said. One flavored coffee and a dark roast are featured daily, too, he said. All choices come in 16-ounce sizes.

The 2,300-square-foot space seats 50 comfortably, Hagemeyer said.

The beverage list also includes espresso, cappuccino, mocha, lattes and other coffee favorites, as well as chai tea and Italian sodas.

The small menu is composed of flatbread pizzas, panini sandwiches, salads, a soup of the day and variety of baked goods. Free wi-fi is available and there's a live stage Monday and Thursday. It is open morning through evening hours daily. For more information, call 614-725-4151.