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The Return of Al's Soup Kitchen International

Hinterlander Jun 23, 2010 05:46 PM

The NYT blog reports that Al Yeganeh is re-opening the famous Soup Kitchen after a six-year absence. It could happen as soon as next month, which is odd since he always closed for the summer and didn't return until colder weather did.

Al shut things down before to take franchise offers and start a line of supermarket soups. I hope he'll be back with his usual quality. The stand was always one of my favorite lunch options.

  1. b
    bob gaj Jul 21, 2010 04:09 AM


    al sez: i purchased this tiny shop on April 10 , 1984 & sold it on April 13 , 2010 .....To
    Mr.Vinod Chand."

    and the picture i saw of the vegetable soup thing didn't look like anything different from the franchises.

    ah well. but the press releases, etc. all sure implied al would be there from time to time. obviously, he's not. and as his blog says, he's been gone from this for years, and will not be at ANY grand opening, etc. (see his 2009 post).

    2 Replies
    1. re: bob gaj
      bob gaj Jul 21, 2010 05:58 AM

      as a followup...is this the same vinod chand?

      who works with ranch 1?

      1. re: bob gaj
        nooyawka Jul 21, 2010 02:13 PM

        Extremely useful link. Thanks, bob. Alas, too good to be true. Not on the order of finding out Santa Claus is not real, but close.

      2. f
        FattyDumplin Jul 20, 2010 06:07 PM

        So did anyone actually try the Soup Man?

        1. Phil Ogelos Jul 20, 2010 06:24 AM

          No soup for you! Or you, or you, or you!
          [one T-shirt for you, maybe; but no bread!]

          This's gotta be a marketer's dream: location, brand, novelty, and margins you can drive a truck through. I'm not especially optimistic either, but let's see what the jury returns with.

          EDIT: Al won't be there for the opening? That speaks volumes.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Phil Ogelos
            ESNY Jul 20, 2010 06:53 AM

            Every day it sounds more and more like a rebranding of a failed concept. A real shame.

            1. re: ESNY
              Phil Ogelos Jul 20, 2010 08:17 AM

              Sorry, ESNY, but I'd rather we say that the concept is still good [Hale & Hearty, anyone? a place that makes money hand over fist!] but the execution in this case is the work of bean-counting dullards.

              1. re: Phil Ogelos
                ESNY Jul 20, 2010 08:52 AM

                Failed concept being the Soup Man franchises, not the idea of a soup based chain

                1. re: ESNY
                  Phil Ogelos Jul 20, 2010 09:07 AM

                  Oh, yes, then I agree with you.
                  [Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips Houses -another cautionary tale for those of us old enough to remember!]

                  1. re: Phil Ogelos
                    sugartoof Jul 20, 2010 11:20 AM

                    Arthur Treachers doesn't seem too cautionary to me.

                    1. re: sugartoof
                      Phil Ogelos Jul 20, 2010 01:35 PM

                      My Cod! A little googling reveals I've got to get out more.
                      [You've sobered me again, s'toof.]

          2. s
            sugartoof Jul 19, 2010 04:41 PM

            His face is still hanging outside the combo chain stores, which means he's still under contract.

            Even if he negotiated no-compete terms in his favor, we have to remember that integrity for product was mostly a myth in the long run. It sounds like a brand relaunch to me.

            1. n
              nooyawka Jun 24, 2010 08:49 AM

              No freakin' way!!!!???? I'm so psyched! I never got to try the original and always regretted it....

              8 Replies
              1. re: nooyawka
                nooyawka Jun 24, 2010 08:51 AM

                There's a countdown clock on his site...

                1. re: nooyawka
                  Yaxpac Jun 24, 2010 08:55 AM

                  the soup at the original place was simply fantastic. I am so looking forward to the reopening. I couldn't even eat the franchised version of his soups

                  1. re: Yaxpac
                    Jerzeegirl Jun 24, 2010 09:00 AM

                    I agree 100%. I work over on the East Side & when the original place was open, we'd go across town & come back with 2 bag fulls of soup for the office. We'd be gone almost an hour, but that soup was definitely worth it.

                    1. re: Jerzeegirl
                      Yaxpac Jul 11, 2010 05:19 PM

                      i hope the reopening of the new place has his "real" soups like he originally did. It worries me that the website is the same one as the franchises. fingers crossed.

                      1. re: Yaxpac
                        Hinterlander Jul 11, 2010 08:43 PM

                        That's a good point. The website countdown promises a free t-shirt on re-opening day. That's not very Al-like.

                        1. re: Hinterlander
                          nooyawka Jul 16, 2010 07:34 PM

                          Ugh...you know what? I have a very sick feeling about this. I think it's the corporate company running the show. Which would explain why they would let Al "reopen" after selling his image and agreeing to the franchise. I just don't think the company would do that. Can't, if you think about it. If he actually reopens, his real soup will put all of the franchises to shame, probably put them out of business. Plus it doesn't make any sense - they would have made him sign some sort of a non-compete agreement. Oh well...I won't hold my breath, but time will tell. Just a few more days, according to the website...

                          1. re: nooyawka
                            Hinterlander Jul 19, 2010 03:22 PM

                            Just read that Al won't be there for the opening -- but Reggie Jackson will be. Ugh indeed. Sure looks like this is the franchise people opening in the old location. I'm willing to be surprised, but I have a feeling this is headed for disappointment.

                            1. re: Hinterlander
                              nooyawka Jul 20, 2010 12:08 PM


                              Guess our worst fears were realized. I never thought I'd be so disappointed at knowing Reggie showed up at an event...

                2. e
                  ESNY Jun 24, 2010 07:15 AM

                  Sadly, i'm expecting this to be the same mediocre crap as the Original Soup Man franchises. I hope I'm wrong and he restores the soup to their original quality and taste

                  Original Soup Man
                  37 W 48th St, New York, NY 10020

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ESNY
                    LeahBaila Jul 20, 2010 12:35 PM

                    Ditto that.


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