The “Original Soup Man” is a chain started by the real life Soup Nazi, the guy who inspired the classic Seinfeld episode of the same name. The Columbus location just opened recently. As I walked up, two signs were clear on the outside window, one listing the eight-or-so soups on hand that day, and another listing the rules: Know what you want, order promptly, step to the left and have your money handy.
After reading the outside listing of soups and the rules, I settled on Jambalaya (if it was good enough for Newman, it was good enough for me). But when I stepped inside the restaurant, things were different.
First of all, for a place designed to hold 30-40 people, it had about 20 employees milling about. Secondly, there was a menu on the wall that had a lot more than soup.
The restaurant offered smoothies, sandwiches, salads and yes, soup. There was this annoying voice in my head saying “soup’s not a meal” and I took a minute, standing by the back of the store to consider getting something in addition to soup.
When I finally settled on a soup and sandwich combo, I stepped up and an employee with a notepad took my order. I was stymied when she asked what kind of bread I wanted it on, and what kind of fruit I wanted. I eventually figured out what she was asking (again, a lot more complicated than it needs to be for a place specializing in soup) and stepped to the left to await my lunch.
The chicken sandwich was meh. Entirely forgettable. The soup, on the other hand, was spectacular. While I’ve had better jambalaya (it helps that my mother’s side of the family is from Louisiana), the quality and taste of the soup was among the best I’ve ever had in a restaurant. I don’t think I expected to get soup that good from a lunchtime restaurant. Say what you will about the Soup Nazi’s business practices, but the man makes a fine cup of jambalaya.
As I sat there with my empty tray, thinking about how next time, I’ll just go for a bowl (because soup of this quality is a meal), I noticed something was missing. I didn’t get any fruit. Was this in retaliation for my slow ordering? Or was it because I didn’t like the sandwich. I hope this doesn’t mean that I’m becoming George.
At least they didn’t tell me not to come back for another year.