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The Less-Than-Original Soup Man

August 23, 2010

Construction crews raise the sign at the reopened Original Soup Man on 55th &8th.

Everybody, it seems, knows about Al Yeganeh and his marvelous, homemade soup, since Seinfeld skewered him (more or less) as a “soup nazi.” I didn’t hear of him until his popularity was soaring, and discovered for myself the delight of his shrimp bisque. Of course, he cashed out, shuttering his flagship on 55th and 8th, licensing his image and brand as “the original soup man,” and spawning a national chain.

I’m not sure what happened to the national chain, but the franchises here in NYC seemed to die a quick death (looking on the website, though, I see there are still 16 locations at least throughout the U.S. & Canada). I was delighted to hear, then, that the original location was going to reopen. Visions of Al serving up his awesome soups danced in my head.

Shrimp and corn bisque from the Original Soup Man.

Alas, it seems the reopened location is just another franchise, perhaps even the last man standing of the chain. I heard that Mr. Yeganeh never gave up the lease on the space, so maybe he just decided to put a franchise in there. Who knows. All I know is that the shrimp and corn bisque was better than I expected, but not anywhere near up to the previous standard. Mr. Yeganeh wasn’t in sight behind the counter, instead there was a coterie of fresh-faced workers wearing uniforms.

All in all, I am not sure it’s any better than Daily Soup or Hale and Hearty. OK – maybe it’s a cut above those two (maybe) – but it’s nowhere near the quality of the original… . Not sure if I’ll go back again, especially for the premium they are charging.


The Original SoupMan

55th & 8th
New York, NY 10036
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