How “Seinfeld's" Soup Nazi Episode Ruined The Real Take-Out Owner's Life



One of the most iconic television plots of all time can be found in Season 7 Episode 6 of Seinfeld — “The Soup Nazi." Show fanatics are familiar with the infamous character The Soup Nazi, who owns and operates a soup restaurant in Manhattan and is known and feared because of his merciless personality and overly demanding behavior, similar to — as one would assume — Adolf Hitler. His famous line, “No soup for you!” is known to all “Seinfeldians” and used in a variety of situations. The Soup Nazi, played by actor Larry Thomas, is based on the Iranian-American chef Ali Yeganeh (inset), the real owner of Soup Kitchen International, a former take-out soup stall in Midtown Manhattan. The brand is now a chain known as The Original Soupman. Yeganah's homemade soups were definitely well-loved for their deliciousness, but the man himself was known more for his strict ordering regimen. The idea for the Seinfeld episode came about when screenwriter Spike Feresten told show creator Larry David about the real New York soup vendor. One day, Jerry Seinfeld and some other show staffers dropped by the restaurant to say hello and help support the small business. Yeganeh became annoyed and yelled at them when he recognized who they were, and explicitly told them that the show had ruined his reputation. Seinfeld attempted to apologize, but instead, Yeganeh exclaimed, "No soup for you!" and demanded they promptly leave. To this day, any references to the show, the one-liner quote, or the arguably politically incorrect and insensitive nickname are forbidden in all of his restaurants. Ah, the '90s... what a time to be alive!