How to Make the Original Plaza 3 Steak Soup Recipe at Home

Plaza III Steakhouse opened in 1963 in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO, and the III part of its name was a tribute to its three founders: Joe and Bill Gilbert and their partner, Paul Robinson.

The three men went on to build a nationwide restaurant empire that included restaurant concepts like Houlihan’s, J. Gilberts, Bristol, and plenty of others.

In their own words, Plaza III “embodied the feeling of a Friday night out on the town, butterfly-filled first dates, and exciting milestone celebrations.”

Their meat and seafood platter selections made guests feel special, and their thick, richly flavored Plaza 3 steak soup recipe was a celebrated classic, imitated across the country.

With the Plaza III restaurant now closed, it’s up to the restaurant’s many fans to keep its legacy alive with this delicious, filling soup that sparks so many memories.

Our version of the Plaza 3 steak soup recipe is a loving homage to the original. Like the original, it depends on USDA Choice ground sirloin, tomatoes, and vegetables, swimming in a rich, thickened tomato-laden beef broth.

Unlike many beef soups, this version has no potatoes, instead, the starchy thickness of potatoes comes in the form of a creamy, decadent broth that sticks to the spoon and the ribs.


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet browning & seasoning sauce
  • 5 cups water (1 quart + 1 cup)
  • 1/2 chopped celery
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 chopped onions
  • 1 28-oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lb. ground sirloin
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven


  1. To start the recipe, melt 1 stick of butter in a cast iron skillet until it foams out.
  2. Once the foaming subsides, mix in the flour a quarter cup at a time, stirring vigorously until the flour and butter form a paste. Cook this paste, stirring until it becomes a blond roux.
  3. Gradually add water and broth a little at a time until it’s fully absorbed into the roux, whisking smooth. Simmer until it becomes a thick, bubbling broth.
  4. Sauté the beef in batches in a large skillet, reserving the fat. Add meat, bouillon, celery, mixed vegetables, and carrots with seasonings, Kitchen Bouquet, and Worcestershire sauce into the pot.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are fully cooked.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately or cool to room temperature before storing overnight in the refrigerator, reheating just before serving.


Reheating and Serving the Soup

Although this soup is perfectly wonderful served right after preparation, like all soups it can always benefit from a night in the fridge.

When a soup spends time after preparation, it becomes richer, with the flavors of the foods that it contains gaining complexity from exposure to each other.

Once the soup is cooled to room temperature it can be poured off into a container and held in the refrigerator for up to three days, or frozen for up to three months before losing flavor.

A frozen soup can only be frozen once. Refreezing something that’s already been frozen will do damage to the structure of the food by lancing ice crystals through it, slashing cell walls.

If you are going to freeze, be sure to do so in individual servings so you only need to pull as much out of the freezer as you are going to eat in one sitting.

What is Roux?

Roux is a thickener made with a 2:1 mixture of flour and fat (usually butter). A roux is made by mixing flour into the melted fat and stirring vigorously to avoid any hot spots from forming.

Once the roux forms, making it the right consistency is a simple matter of cooking and stirring until it reaches the right color.

The lightest roux is a white roux, cooked for 2-5 minutes and bringing little flavor to the dish other than a slight flavor of toast.

This roux is best for bechamel sauce or country gravy, as they introduce no off-colors to the sauce and allow it to be the white color of the milk forming the majority of the sauce.

Blonde roux, which we are using in this recipe, is cooked for 5 to 10 minutes, reaches the color of peanut butter, and has a pronounced toasted flavor.

Beyond blonde are brown and brick roux, which is cooked between 15 minutes for a basic brown roux and up to 45 minutes for a brick or dark brown roux, the latter of which is commonly used in Cajun cuisine.

About Plaza III Steakhouse

After several years of financial troubles, and a relocation from the Country Club Plaza to suburban Overland Park, Plaza III closed to much local sadness on May 26, 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It had previously been a local icon, a place where the elite and everyday Kansas Citians went to celebrate special occasions and simple joys. The steakhouse was renowned for its excellent atmosphere and food, including its steak soup.

Plaza III reopened as an online business in November 2022, selling the legendary restaurant’s house recipes and specialties as an overnight food delivery service, creating an instant national market for its treasured recipes.

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