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Company That Inspired the 'Soup Nazi' Files for Bankruptcy

By Katherine Lavacca | June 15, 2017 9:49am
 A four story sign on the corner of 56th Street and 8th Avenue direct soup enthusiasts to the Soupman stand.
A four story sign on the corner of 56th Street and 8th Avenue direct soup enthusiasts to the Soupman stand.
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DNAinfo/Katherine Lavacca

MANHATTAN — There may soon be no soup for anyone.

Soupman Inc., the company that inspired the classic “Soup Nazi” episode on "Seinfeld," filed for bankruptcy this week.

CEO Jamie Karson filed the Chapter 11 petition on Tuesday verifying that the company owes more than $11.8 million to over 500 individuals and companies.

The news comes after the Staten Island company's chief financial officer, Robert Bertrand, was charged with tax evasion last month after being caught paying employees under the table.

However, the company's original soup stand located on Eighth Avenue and 56th Street is still in place for now, with men in suits and women in skirts braving the muggy streets Wednesday to order soup.

 Loyal customers line up for soup in the middle of June.
Loyal customers line up for soup in the middle of June.
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DNAinfo/Katherine Lavacca

They dutifully stepped to the left of the counter after placing their orders, as per the rules laid out by the original Soupman Al Yeganeh.

Tourists stopped and asked to have their pictures taken with the iconic black-and-white awning, with a sign above reading “SOUP!” in bright red lettering, in case anyone missed the four-story sign on the corner pointing them to the stand.

Eddie Mendez, 55, has been coming to the stand for two years and said the quality is unmatched.

“The lobster soup and the lobster rolls are the best I’ve had in New York City,” Mendez said. “You actually get a lot of lobster in the soup. It's not watered down like some of the other places around here.”

Business is steady during the lunch hour, groups of five or six form and are on their way, soup in hand, as quickly as they came. First-time visitors and indecisive order makers stand well away from the counter until they’re sure of their choice.

Jake Cunnane, 25, approached the counter without hesitation Wednesday.

“I come everyday for lunch,” he said.

Cunnane said the service is why he chooses Soup Man over the competing Hale and Hearty Soups across Eighth Avenue.

“I don’t think the soup there is as good, and these guys are very friendly to their regulars,” Cunnane said. “They recognize a face.”

Yeganeh could not immediately be reached for comment.