|First Appearance||"The Soup Nazi"|
|Last Appearance||"The Finale"|
|Former Occupations||Former Owner of Soup Shop|
|Portrayed By||Larry Thomas|
- "No soup for you!"
- ―Yev Kassem.[src]
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, denied his or her order, and, sometimes, banned from his soup shop for a specific duration. Larry Thomas received an Emmy nomination for his role as the Soup Nazi.
In “The Soup Nazi”, Jerry Seinfeld introduces George Costanza and Elaine Benes 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). Jerry first learned about it from Cosmo Kramer. 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.” When George is accompanied by Jerry, he orders some medium turkey chili. When George mentions the free bread that customers before him received, he is then informed that the price increased to $3.00. George's continued protest is met with a harsh "No soup for you!" from the Soup Nazi, followed by the cashier immediately confiscating his purchase and brusquely refunding his payment.
After George successfully tries again, Elaine disregards the rules wasting the Soup Nazi’s time and infuriating him. He kicks her out, yelling at her “No soup for you! Come back one year!” This became a catch phrase. Believe it or not, Cosmo 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 tells him that she will distributes them widely. Newman later told Jerry what Elaine did and states that the Soup Nazi is no longer going to be serving soup and is going to be moving to Argentina. Both of them take advantage of the soup restaurant's going out of business event.
The Soup Nazi made a brief cameo in “The Finale” (where his real name of Yev Kassem was revealed) where he testified against Elaine by mentioning how she ruined her business. When Elaine whispered to Jerry, George, Kramer, and Jackie Chiles that his soup wasn't that good anyway, Yev stands up shouting "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" When the jury was out deciding on the verdict, Yev was seen at some building serving some of his soup to those who attended the trial like Babu Bhatt, Robin, Mr. Lippman, and Poppie. When it is shown that Poppie was asking Yev for some salt for his soup, Yev does his "No Soup for You" gesture and takes away Poppie's soup and spoon.
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 Jason Alexander and 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. Despite this, Al later admitted that since the episode, his business had flourished, but he was still angry with Jerry for portraying him so negatively.
Since the episode's airing, Al has become a figure of both entertainment and ridicule. During an interview with CNN, Al voiced his contempt for the news anchor mentioning Seinfeld and the "No Soup For You" phrase, accusing her of making fun of the interview and claiming that Seinfeld, whom he repeatedly referred to as a "clown", was taking credit for his hard work. John Bello, his partner in his company, had to calm him down several times and ask calmly for CNN to refrain from mentioning Seinfeld while he himself struggled not to laugh more than once. On YouTube, a video was posted of an amateur reporter asking Al questions in his soup stand. Though Al answered her questions, he insulted and disrespected her numerous times for allegedly touching the ladle to try one of his soups. When Al accused her of having "no brain", the reporter finally snapped and called him "Soup Nazi", upon which Al called her a "stupid idiot bitch" and walked out of the interview.
Despite Al's apparent dislike for the Soup Nazi character, actor Larry Thomas claimed in an interview that he had met Al in person and they had gotten along rather well. Al acquiesced for Thomas to serve his soup as the Soup Nazi on the opening day of one of the Original Soup Man franchises in Roosevelt Field mall. Thomas himself praised Al's work and proclaimed it as the best soup he had ever tasted.
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.
- During Super Bowl XLVI, the Soup Nazi and Jerry Seinfeld appear for Acura. Jerry claims he "owns the characters" when he offers him to a man who is next to get an Acura. At the end of the commercial, he was seen with Jerry, a modern munchkin, and an alien where they are angered at the fact that Jay Leno beat Seinfeld in the Acura deal.
- 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".
- In "The Finale", the Soup Nazi referring to Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer as "idiot clowns" is a reference to Ali Yeganeh referring to Jerry Seinfeld as a "clown" in real life.
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 Bisque
- Split Pea
- French Onion
- Mushroom Barley
- Tomato Rice
ALL SELECTIONS MADE FRESH DAILY
NO SUBSITUTIONS OR PHONE ORDERS