No soup for you!!! Unless you are a Publix shopper, that is!
Larry Thomas, the infamous Soup Nazi of “Seinfeld” fame, earned an Emmy nomination for his memorable role on the show, but did you know that there was much more to the storyline? The well-known show about nothing actually had a little more something to it than viewers may have realized, and Larry Thomas and the Soupman line of soups are a testament to the fact behind the fiction.
It all started in 1984 when Al Yeganeh’s soups began to draw fans in droves to a little soup kitchen in New York City. No matter the length of the line, or the chill in the air – they came, and Al delivered. It was all uphill from there, and the carefully crafted, meticulously cultivated recipes from Al’s kitchen quickly became the stuff of legends. By the time “Seinfeld” introduced a nation to this gem in 1995, New Yorkers already knew what the rest of us were missing. As Jerry Seinfeld aptly stated, “you can’t eat this soup standing up. Your knees buckle.”
Today, there are 11 Original Soupman locations in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut for dine-in soup gluttony, but what’s a soup lover to do if they want a taste of these seemingly mythical masterpieces outside of this limited region? Never fear – the Soupman has heard your desperate pleas! The Original Soupman product line is now officially available in select grocery stores throughout the United States. Now, YOU can put Jerry Seinfeld (and the rest of New York) to the truth test. Is it really all they claim? Why, yes – it actually is!
Recently, Larry Thomas paid a visit to Orlando-area Publix stores to help promote the arrival of The Original Soupman products in the popular Florida grocery chain. One of those stops was at the Publix Aprons Cooking School at Dr. Phillips, where Thomas took part in a soup class demo to a sold-out crowd of hungry fans. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit with him prior to the class, and learn a little bit more about the soups, the history, the man, and the validity of the claims we all assumed to be so exaggerated for comedic effect.
The only exaggeration I discovered was in the on-screen personality of Larry Thomas himself. His acting skills truly are fine-tuned, because the “Soup Nazi” character we saw on screen could not be further from the man I encountered. Thomas is gracious, humble, soft-spoken, and incredibly kind. In fact, throughout the class, I heard more than a few guests remarking on how mild-mannered and gentle he seemed. And, I’m pleased to report that no one was denied any soup on this night.
Along with the Publix Aprons chefs, Thomas introduced the salivating crowd to his favorite Soupman soup – a bold Lobster Bisque (paired with Francis Ford Coppola’s Director’s Cut Chardonnay). This is where I should admit that I am not a fan of seafood – not at all – but, when a story must be written, and research has to be done…
I planned to take the obligatory spoonful or two, just to say I did it. In short order, my bowl was empty! Hmm… I wonder how that happened? Prior to this, I had never even come close to ingesting lobster in any form. Does it always taste this good? The legends and myths are true, folks. I was thankful for the safety of my seated position. Nevermind the other soups on the evening’s menu… I’m fine with another round or two of this!
Lucky for me, Thomas generously provided me with one of every Soupman soup available in Publix stores: Lentil, Jambalaya, Lobster Bisque, Crab and Corn Chowder, Chicken Gumbo, and Chicken Noodle. (Might I mention that there are a whopping 47 varieties available overall in the Soupman restaurants? Wow!) Unfortunately for me, my family was just as happy to see these cartons of yumminess as I was. They didn’t last long in my house, and I didn’t get the option to taste test them all, but my husband and kids were quick to tell me just how satisfied their taste buds were after each sampling. Luckily, we have a Publix within a mile of our home to replenish our stock. It appears that Chicken Noodle and Lobster Bisque will be the top picks in our home. Of course, considering the quantities I’ll need to appease this bunch, it may be worth considering the 6-pack and 12-pack options available on Amazon. All I know is that I have never been one to enjoy or appreciate soup, but this surprisingly flavorful, satisfying brand has made a soupwoman out of me. I’m grateful for the introduction to the product… and Larry Thomas’s permission to enjoy it. Get yourself to Publix today and see what you’ve been missing. Try The Original Soupman today, and tell us – what’s your favorite flavor?
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Enjoy this quick Q&A with Larry Thomas at Publix Aprons Cooking School!
(Please be aware – we encountered some audio issues with this recording. We are still working to enhance the sound quality, and we will update the video when that is complete. Until then, turn up our speakers, or use the closed-caption feature. Thank you for your patience and understanding.)