The New York man made famous on Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” episode for his tasty soups and strict rules has reopened his original Manhattan stall. Al Yeganeh, who calls himself the Original SoupMan — surprisingly, not the Soup Nazi — is getting back to the kitchen after yesterday’s reopening, though he avoided the fanfare and was a no-show at a ceremonial “zucchini cutting” to celebrate the comeback. Yes, zucchini, not ribbon.
Yeganeh served up soup and strictures for 20 years out of his 100-square-foot stall on 55th street. The rules were simple but important: “Pick the soup you want! Have your money ready! Move to the extreme left after ordering!” In 2004, he closed his stall and sold the rights to his business, but he still controls his brand and soups. “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,” says Bob Bertrand, the president of “The Original SoupMan” company.
Bertrand was understanding about Yeganeh’s no-show yesterday. “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,” he said. “That’s his mystique.”
While SoupMan is reopening and the recipes will be the same as always, the atmosphere may be a bit different, according to Bertrand. “We have the rules,” Bertrand says, “but they’re not enforced.”