'Seinfeld' tyrant skips opening of new shop
BY JONATHAN LEMIRE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Soup for you! And you, and you, and you.
The man who inspired the famed "Soup Nazi" on "Seinfeld" has lent his name - and his legendary recipes - to a chain of soup stores, and the first in the city opened on E. 42nd St. yesterday, drawing hordes of hungry New Yorkers.
"The soup's great, but the harsh system is different [than the show]," said Dominick Iacoviello, 27, who works at a nearby technologies firm and waited 40 minutes for soup. "I guess it's a kinder, gentler Soup Nazi."
Al Yeganeh's amazing soups and remorseless line policy at his former store on W. 55th St. were captured on the hit TV show, which put his lobster bisque - and trademark cries of "No Soup for You!" - into pop culture.
That notoriety fueled yesterday's line, which stretched to almost 100 deep at lunchtime after forming at 1 a.m., seven hours before the city's first Original Soup Man store opened near Fifth Ave.
Yeganeh, who did not show yesterday, closed his original store in 2004 to prepare for the launch of the Soup Man chain, which opened its inaugural restaurant in Princeton, N.J., last month.
Two more are planned in Manhattan - one on Trinity Place, the other in Rockefeller Center - by the end of the year, with more to follow in Brooklyn in early next year.
"He makes the best soup in the world and we want to get it to as many people as possible," said Soup Man presidentBob Bertrand, who presented a $5,000 check to Yankee great Reggie Jackson, spokesman for food charity City Harvest.
Though some potential customers on short lunch breaks bailed on the line and instead ate pizza next door, most soup nuts were thrilled with their $4.95 small cup of vegetable soup or $10.95 large bowl of crab bisque.
"Considering that it's now mass produced, I'm impressed at how good it is - it holds its own to the original store," said Bruce Horowitz, 49, a former faithful patron of Yeganeh's defunct store, as he sipped his mulligatawny.
"But knowing how much [Yeganeh] hated the Seinfeld portrayal and the attention it brought," added Horowitz, of Brooklyn, "I'm surprised he sold out."
Originally published on November 3, 2005