Yes, Virgina, there is a Soup Nazi. Or at least a Soup Man. That’s what Al Yeganeh calls himself, even though the line between reality and art has become somewhat blurred, as can be deduced from the signature Soup Nazi scowl Al affects these days.
Yeganeh, who originally ran a soup shop on 55th Street at Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y., which had customers lined up down the block, claims he was the inspiration for the Seinfeld character. Since then, his chain, The Original Soup Man, has become a nationwide phenomenon, setting up stores in two dozen states, plus Canada. The main concentration of Original Soup Man outlets remains in the New York metro area, with five locations in Manhattan alone.
Among the daily-changing offerings you will find at your local Soup Nazi—make that Original Soup Man—are seafood bisque, yankee bean (you are to be forgiven if you imagine Elaine Benes singing “I love my yankee bean…”), lentil, lima bean, spicy Mexican chili, clear broth, and (presumably in warmer months) gazpacho.
The Original Soup Man website goes so far as to post a list of rules customers are expected to follow (i.e., pick the soup you want, have your money ready, move to the extreme left after ordering), though I strongly suspect that if show up with legal tender, you can stand on your head and still get service.
The Original Soup Man now has ten locations, including two in New Jersey and one in Connecticut.