I have been closely watching a new skyway location at 225 S 6th St called The Original SoupMan which was slated to open today at 11 AM. After being reminded when I got off the bus by a sign outside the restaurant, I asked if Kim wanted to join me for lunch to try out this new place. She agreed and asked that we do it at 1 PM but after a meeting was rescheduled (and later rescheduled again to tomorrow) we ended up there at its busiest time at noon on the dot.
As Kim and I walked up the line was nearly out the door with people, just like us, looking to try out this place. I have a feeling that many were interested in name alone as this store is loosely based on the NYC location that was mentioned in that fucking god awful show Seinfield (the Soup Nazi). They had been renovating the L-shaped space for a long while but had paper over all the openings so you couldn’t see in until today. It was cleanly decorated with some seating and plenty of space to line up. A sign with the Nazi’s likeness was situated by the main entrance and it displayed the soups of the day without any prices listed.
As we were waiting in line we squinted to try and read the menu from afar and were soon offered a small sample of New England Clam Chowder. Knowing that this is at least based on the NYC favorite, I figured that the NE Clam Chowder would have to be somewhat decent. While Kim thought it was good (she said she would not normally eat this type of soup) I thought it fucking sucked. It wasn’t as bad as canned but it certainly wasn’t anything I’d be clamoring to return for and it does absolutely no justice to NYC or the Soup Nazi. I guess that something is lost in translation in the ~1000 miles between NYC and Minneapolis. At this point were were about halfway through the line and could begin to read some of the menu items. I was absolutely shocked at how fucking astronomically expensive this lunchtime restaurant was. Who the fuck are they kidding charging anywhere for $5 to $9 for a cup of soup?!
As we continued our long wait (now stretching over 10 minutes), a man came up and began chatting with one of the staff members dressed in a white coat (those wearing white coats seemed to be management level) and the worker told him that the best soup they had available was the Lobster Bisque. For $8.99 for a cup and $10.99 for a bowl (even more for a pint obviously), that better have been their best soup and it better have been made with live lobster living in a tank in the front, served in a golden chalice and offered to you by someone wearing white gloves and a tuxedo. From what I could tell, no live lobsters and no luck with any of the rest of it either.
As we came to see the menu better, we saw that they were offering soup with a half sandwich for $3 more or $5 more for a whole. I’m not quite sure how they feel that they can compete with any of the other downtown locations such as Eddington’s or even Panera. I assume that they need to have exorbitant rates to cover the “Soup Nazi’s” name and the fact that they are mentioning “as seen on Seinfeld”. Now knowing the prices Kim said to me that this would be our last lunch there. I could only agree.
Their sandwiches are much more reasonably priced starting at $2.39 for a half and going up to $7.49 for their most expensive whole. I really don’t see why you would want to eat here as opposed to any of the 1000 other options nearby unless you were some sort of huge fan of that fucking terrible show and really thought that eating overpriced food would bring you closer to Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi himself.
They have a variety of sandwiches listed and include everything from Grilled Chicken Balsamic to a Mexican Burrito. Several are wraps, some are paninis and the rest are your typical deli-like usuals. The only one that popped out at me was their Egg Salad and Parmesan which I decided on before I saw that they were all pre-wrapped in plastic and sitting upright in a cooler in the front. Their paninis are probably your best bet as they are made to order.
All combos come with soup, sandwich, salad and includes a beverage, baguette, fruit and a piece chocolate. The fruit, for me, was not ripe but one of Kim’s coworkers who ate there this afternoon said that his was over-ripened and he wasn’t quite sure how you could be selling black bananas on your opening day. Kim’s orange was tiny and was just slightly larger than a Clementine. I believe that they also had some tiny apples but I might be remembering incorrectly.
Our original order came to just over $23, quite expensive for a simple lunch like you would see at Panera (and which would be much, much better) but for those that work in the building (just say you do, seriously) you get a 25% off card (no information required as of today at least) and that brought it down $5.25 to a total of $17.37. After paying, Kim found a flavored decaffeinated raspberry tea and I grabbed my pop. They have no caffeine free and sugar free options available and they only have caffeine free root beer. As I was getting my drink, Kim worked her way through the line and found a place to sit along the windows. My chair was half off the tile and half on an unsteady grate. I was a little uneasy sitting on it and tried my best to move the table a bit more forward (into the line) so that I wouldn’t have to sit like that. While I’m sure it’s safe, I didn’t appreciate the precarious nature of my seating arrangement none-the-less.
After some quick photos, I tasted my food. The soup, while meaty, was basically awful. I like goulash just fine but this, this was nasty and had the texture of shit. Kim’s bisque was also quite meaty but I didn’t find anything special with it. It wasn’t nearly as good as other similarly priced bisques that I have had in much nicer restaurants and neither were items I’d ever order again. My wheat baguette was ok and my egg salad sandwich was nothing better than I could have had anywhere else including my own kitchen. Kim’s panini looked pathetic especially when they wrapped it in lame foil with more face time for the Nazi. I didn’t even bother to taste it and I didn’t hear a peep about it from Kim. Kim pretty much refused to drink her raspberry tea and I gave her my root beer. Because it was decaffeinated, I sucked it up and drank the tea which had the distinct flavor of Vicks 44. Nothing like bringing back memories of being sick as a kid! Blech. The best part of my meal? The small square of Dove chocolate that was offered as a desert.
As you can tell, this isn’t looking good for The Original SoupMan in Minneapolis. Soon after eating I posted this to Twitter and it pretty much sums up what you probably already know in 13 words:
The Original SoupMan fucking sucks the cock, stay far the fuck away. Yuck.
Seriously, don’t come here, it’s not worth your time or your money. Eddington’s next door or any Panera kick the living shit out of this place and as Kim mentioned, “no unlimited breadsticks kills them right there.” I’m assuming that something has been lost in translation coming from NYC to Minnesota via a mass produced chain store because there’s absolutely no fucking way that the soups and sandwiches we had today were anything even close to being Zagat rated as the original store is. It’s seriously a scam.
After I finished work today I stopped in the little store across the way to nab a Fresca and some gum before going to get Kim from her office. The friendly cashier inside asked if I had eaten at the place across the hall from him and when I said I had he mentioned that he couldn’t justify spending that kind of money for soup but even so he mentioned that people said the soup was ok but the food was too expensive. I just shrugged and said I didn’t care for the food or the prices and moved along. Did you try The Original SoupMan yet? If so, what did you think?
The Original SoupMan
225 S 6th S
Minneapolis, MN 55402
See all the pictures from The Original SoupMan in Minneapolis on Flickr here (camera).