New guy’s no ‘Soup Nazi’

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The maniacal soup-maker who inspired the Jerry Seinfeld’s legendary “Soup Nazi” character has brought his so-called “best soup in the world” to Brooklyn.

Al Yeganeh’s “Original Soup­­­Man” has just opened a branch on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint. But don’t expect to see the Bismarck of bisque manning the tureens at this outpost — it’s actually a franchise owned by Michal Siwec.

Like Yeganeh, he loves his soup (he credits his Polish childhood for that).

Unlike Yeganeh, you can talk to this guy.

“I’m a Brooklyn boy,” Siwec said. “I love Greenpoint.”

The Polish influence in the neighborhood means there is plenty of nearby competition — places to get soup for one or two dollars, compared to Original SoupMan’s $10 bowl of chili (that is not a misprint — it’s double-digit soup).

But Siwec says the prices are justified by the quality.

“This is something new for Greenpoint,” he said.

Yeganeh earned his reputation as the Mussolini of mulligatawny when he opened his original Manhattan stand, Soup Kitchen International, in 1984. The single Manhattan location had such a following that the line at lunch­time regularly circled the block. The stand got more (unwelcome) publicity in 1995, when a not-so-fictional version of Yegeneh appeared on “Seinfeld” — a stern ladle Lenin whose catchphrase was, “No soup for you!”

To this day, despite his fame, Yeganeh despises being called “the Soup Nazi.”

Despite Yegeneh’s idiosyncrasies, when Siwec heard about the franchising opportunity, he wanted in. He had become the classic immigrant success story, owning a sports bar and a construction company, and wanted to open an ice cream franchise in Greenpoint.

Customers agree that the soup is good — but are unimpressed by the price.

“It tastes good, [but] it’s expensive,” said Jeff Regen, a customer at the Greenpoint location. “Seven, 10 bucks? Give me a break.”

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