Soup for you! Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" reopens in NYC

Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:31pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A New York City soup vendor made famous after he inspired Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" character on the popular TV show reopened his original Manhattan stall on Tuesday, but Al Yeganeh did not show up for the celebrations.

For 20 years Yeganeh -- who calls himself "The Original SoupMan" and detests the "Soup Nazi" character" -- dished out soup with very strict rules: "Pick the soup you want! Have your money ready! Move to the extreme left after ordering!"

If you did not stick to the rules: "No soup for you!"

But in 2004 Yeganeh closed the 100 square foot (9 square meter) stall on 55th street when he sold the rights to his business. He still controls the brand and his soups, which include lobster bisque, mulligatawny, crab bisque and lentil.

"He's still the heart of the company," said Bob Bertrand, "The Original SoupMan" president.

"We cannot change the recipes, we do not change the recipes, every time we want to have a new soup he develops it for us," he added. "We have the rules, but they're not enforced."

Yeganeh, who banned Jerry Seinfeld from his stall after the "Soup Nazi" episode aired in November 1995, lives just a short walk from his original soup stall, but did not show up for a ceremonial cutting of a zucchini to reopen the venue.

"That's his mystique," said Bertrand. "He's an artist and all artists are a little bit eccentric. This is his passion, he takes pride and he takes his soup very, very seriously.   Continued...

<p>People stand in line outside The Original SoupMan location at 55th street and 8th avenue for its reopening in New York July 20, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>