Movies - TV
The Strange Coincidence That Connects Sleepless In Seattle To Seinfeld
By NATALIA KEOGAN
The line “no soup for you!” remains one of the most beloved quips in television history, spawned by the 116th episode of “Seinfeld” in which the gang encounters an ornery soup chef. While “Seinfeld” may have been the show to bring the “Soup Nazi” to national attention, “Sleepless in Seattle” mentioned the character two years earlier.
In a passing scene in “Sleepless in Seattle,” Annie, played by Meg Ryan, brings up a story about a New York soup chef, saying “This man sells the greatest soup you have ever eaten, and he is the meanest man in America.” Although the dialogue is never expanded upon, it raises the question, how did these two shows depict the same character?
Both shows are referring to a real man, Ali “AL” Yeganeh, who ran a popular soup counter in Manhattan and was well-known for both his knockout soups as well as his cantankerous temper. Among Al’s demands were that customers had to stand in a single-file line, make minimal conversation, and clearly state their soup order, or risk being kicked out or banned.
The mentions initially brought Yeganeh notoriety, and he opened several outposts of his soup kitchen, Original Soup Man, in NYC and North America, which later closed in 2017. Despite the early success, Yageneh has blamed Seinfeld, saying it “ruined his life,” and when Jerry Seinfeld visited his store, he was promptly kicked out after delivering a sarcastic apology.