|First Appearance||"The Soup Nazi"|
|Last Appearance||"The Finale"|
|Former Occupations||Former Owner of Soup Shop|
Yev Kassem (AKA the Soup Nazi) was a fictional character portrayed by Larry Thomas in the sitcom Seinfeld. The Soup Nazi was a stone-faced immigrant chef with a thick Stalin-esque moustache, who was well-known throughout the city for his delicious soups. He demanded that all customers in his restaurant follow his meticulous (and seemingly arbitrary) soup-ordering instructions to the letter, lest they be refused service by his insistent avowal, "No soup for you!" The customer is then refunded and denied his or her order. Larry Thomas received an Emmy nomination for his role as the Soup Nazi.
In “The Soup Nazi”, Jerry introduces George and Elaine to a soup restaurant run by a draconian owner, whom the customers have nicknamed the “Soup Nazi” (it is revealed in the last episode that the Soup Nazi’s name is actually Yev Kassem). The restaurant is based on Soup Kitchen International in New York City. The owner enforces strict rules about ordering: “State your order, then move quickly down the line with your money ready.” Jerry coaches Elaine on the rules, but she disregards them, wasting the Soup Nazi’s time and infuriating him. He kicks her out, yelling at her, “No soup for you!” This became a catch phrase. Believe it or not, Kramer befriended the Soup Nazi. The episode also includes a plot about an armoire that Elaine buys and then leaves on the street, asking Kramer to watch it. It is stolen right in front of him by a pair of effeminate, antique-loving men, whom Kramer later refers to as “street toughs”. He encountered his Waterloo when Elaine discovered his secret recipes and distributes them widely in an act of vengeance, ruining his business. The Soup Nazi made a brief cameo in “The Finale”, where he testified against Elaine (who antagonizes him yet again).
His character was based on an actual New York City soup vendor named Al Yeganeh, who runs Soup Kitchen International in midtown Manhattan. The store is open only part of the year. In the summer, his customers are greeted with a sign indicating he has gone to "Argentina for the winter." Ironically he is of Iranian Jewish descent.
According to an AP Article published April 29, 2005, Al plans to open a chain of soup stores under the name "The Original Soup Man" across the country. The first franchise was slated to open in Ridgewood, NJ in the summer of 2005. His company, Soup Kitchen International, plans to open 1,000 outlets nationwide. Another franchise of the Original Soup Man recently opened in Princeton, NJ. Soup Kitchen International's original West 55th Street location was closed for many years but re-opened July 20, 2010. Al was not at the location on opening day but it is rumored he will reappear at some point.
Prior to his fictional counterpart's appearance on Seinfeld, the real Al Yeganeh was unflatteringly referred to by local patrons as the "Terrorist." His soups were renowned for their excellent quality, but his interactions with customers seemed somewhat capricious. Some were granted extra side items like candy or bread, but no clear rules for this attention were ever established; this was referenced in the episode by George's incident with the bread.
Before the episode was written, much of the cast of Seinfeld (including Wayne Knight) had been to Soup Kitchen International. Following "The Soup Nazi"'s airing on TV, one day, during production of the eighth season of Seinfeld, Jerry and several writers went to Al's West 55th Street shop for lunch. Upon recognizing Jerry, Al launched into a profanity-laced rant about how "The Soup Nazi" had ruined his life; he demanded an apology. Jerry gave what show writer Spike Feresten described as "the most sarcastic, insincere apology" he'd ever heard. Al bellowed "No soup for you!" and ejected Jerry and his friends from the restaurant.
According to Nora Ephron's DVD commentary, the first pop culture reference to Al (though not by name) seems to have come years before the Seinfeld episode, in the 1993 movie Sleepless in Seattle. In the film, a magazine writer discusses writing a story: "This man sells the greatest soup you have ever eaten, and he is the meanest man in America. I feel very strongly about this, Becky; it's not just about the soup."
- Like Jackie Chiles, the Soup Nazi has appeared in commercials after the end of the series. The Center for Consumer Freedom has him denying food to people he considers too fat.
- In the background, you can see a sign in the restaurant saying "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."
- Al Yeganeh dislikes the Nazi label, but he is renowned both for his excellent soups and for his rude treatment of customers. Cosmo Kramer's inspiration, Kenny Kramer, agrees that Al's nickname is unfair, and jokingly suggests his nickname be changed to "Al, The Soup Rat Bastard".
Some of the soups that the Soup Nazi served were cold cucumber, corn and clam chowders, jambalaya, turkey chili, mulligatawny, crab and lobster bisques.
- MED 16 OZ. $2.99
- LARGE 32 OZ. $3.99
- Crab Bisque
- Turkey Chili
- Black Bean
- Chicken Broccoli
- Clam Brisque
- Split Pea
- French Onion
- Mushroom Barley
- Tomato Rice
ALL SELECTIONS MADE FRESH DAILY
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