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Jun 23, 2010 05:46 PM

The Return of Al's Soup Kitchen International

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.

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

      8 Replies
        1. re: nooyawka

          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

            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

              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

                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

         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

                    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


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

        2. 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. 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

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

              1. re: ESNY

                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

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

                  1. re: ESNY

                    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

                      Arthur Treachers doesn't seem too cautionary to me.

                      1. re: sugartoof

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

            2. So did anyone actually try the Soup Man?