Terry and Karen Kerouac have turned their passion for food and their love of bears into a winning combination with the opening of their restaurant. The Bear Soup Deli, 320 N. Main St., offers a wide selection of fresh deli sandwiches and homemade soups made from scratch daily by Terry Kerouac. Terry, a 1986 graduate of Davison High School, spent time in Florida, Colorado and Alaska working as a chef. His wanderings, much like that of family member Jack Kerouac, the author and poet who died in 1969, took him across the country and then eventually back to Michigan. He attended vocational school in St. Petersburg, Fla., and went to Johnson & Wales University in South Carolina to study culinary arts. He started out working in restaurants in Florida, then later heading west to Vale, Colo., and eventually to Alaska. Around 2000, Terry said he ended up back in Michigan, where he worked as a chef at Eduardo’s in Grand Blanc. It was there he met Karen and he said his wandering days came to an end.“You were getting ready to go again,” she said, “if it wasn’t for me.”He has been the executive chef at Baker College in Owosso for three years and thanks Carol Dowsett, president of the Baker-Owosso campus, and husband Jim Dowsett, a Davison Realtor, for helping them find the Main Street location for the deli. Opening their own restaurant in Davison has been a longtime aspiration for both.“We decided to do our dream,” said Karen. “We had been doing it for others. We both have the passion and drive.”They both also share a love of bears, which was one of the things that drew Terry to Alaska where he took photos of bears he saw there in the wilderness. The couple decided to turn bears into the theme of their restaurant, which has a rustic, outdoor look inside. Bear Soup Deli offers not only a charming country ambiance, it is where Terry presents some of his finest culinary works, such as his house soup — a tequila and black bean soup he said everyone seems to enjoy.The deli also offers fresh-sliced meats for its sandwiches, which include a french dip, bruin beef, turkey and ham and specialties like The Three Bears and The Koala, which is a veggie wrap sandwich.The Kerouac’s, who see Davison as a place that takes care of its own, have tried to keep as much of their own business as local as possible. Karen said they use buns from the Davison Bakery, baked fresh daily and served along with fresh sliced meat and soups made from scratch.Some of his soups include — beef barley; turkey, white bean chili; potato, ham and bacon; and due to growing requests, Terry said he will soon introduce a clam chowder.“I make my soups completely from scratch,” said Terry. “They’re made with a little love. They’re not from a bag.”He also claims to have a fantastic coleslaw recipe he brought with him from his days in Florida when he worked for a seafood restaurant. Terry and Karen both said they welcome customer feedback and they offer samples of their food so patrons can see if they like something before buying it.“I’m into introducing new foods to people,” he said. “I want people to feel welcome, to offer suggestions.”Already word about the deli has caught on. Karen said they see a lot of business from residents of downtown Davison’s two senior citizen housing complexes. They are also seeing an increase in teenagers stopping in after school for a sandwich or snack.“We want people to come in and feel welcomed,” said Karen. “We want them to enjoy the place and we want to put out a good product, so we want people to be honest with us about what they think.
Closed Saturday and Sunday