Remember this guy?
His name is Al Yageneh and he was the inspiration for Seinfeld’s legendary Soup Nazi character. Turns out he’s done quite well for himself by franchising his world-renowned New York soup shop.
I just discovered one of his Original Soup Man locations on a recent trip to the Jerz (New Jersey, for non-locals). I didn’t make the connection at first, but then I was struck by a big sign explaining “the rules”:
For the most efficient and fastest service, the line MUST keep moving.
- Pick the soup you want!
- Have your money ready!
- Move to the EXTREME left after ordering!
Ah, yes! The memories came flooding back: George and Jerry ordering stone-faced and then sidestepping to pay with almost robotic precision. Fortunately, this particular shop was fairly empty and manned by an amiable guy in a backwards Yankees cap. He didn’t look like he was about to enforce any rules.
Alhough we tasted a curry-based soup and got a look at the rest of the lineup, the wife and I went with a vegetarian mushroom-barley concoction. Barley is not an ingredient that usually floats my boat (and neither is soup as a general food category), but this stuff was like liquid gold. It was flavorful without being too salty, hearty without being a full meal, and just the right balance of slurp and chew.
My only question: when’s the Soup Man coming to Philly?