02 July 2008

Original Soup Man

I was confronted by a series of contradictions when I visited the Original Soup Man in Downtown Columbus. I half expected to be refused service by a curt New Yorker for not following his strict rules for ordering (see Billy Goat Tavern). I figured I would sulk off to the corner after being shot down, complaining alongside my dejected compatriot George Costanza about our collective misfortune. Luckily, my phobic expectations ended up being far from the truth.

It came out of left field when the staff was polite and helpful. I was expecting the rude "Soup Nazi" approach to customer service since the restaurant is rooted in the same place as the Seinfeld character. However, the staff helped me pick out a vegetarian combo and didn't cut me off for breaking any of the rules, which was a giant relief to my aching neuroses.

The combo was also a good buy. Although it was $10, I got a soup, a banana, a piece of bread, a bowl of soup and a sandwich. It was a nicely portioned lunch option for Downtown.

The soup, as the main attraction, was a bit of a surprise, but in a different way from the friendly staff. I was expecting the best soup ever from a place that specialized in soup. The vegetable soup was good but hardly otherworldly. The variety of vegetables in the soup was great, but I expected a better soup from an establishment that has soup in the name. I'll have to revisit and see if the other options are as good as their reputation (there's a minimum of one, and more typically two, vegetarian soup options per day).

The sandwich, on the other hand, was tremendous. It was a grilled cheese panini, made from cheddar, Swiss and an unidentified grated cheese. The Swiss cheese gave the sandwich enough of a different taste to stand out from the cookie cutter grilled cheeses that most places offer. There is also a grilled garden vegetable panini sandwich, a portabella sandwich, a tomato mozzarella sandwich (both grilled and cold) as well as a build your own sandwich option. There are salads, smoothies and a variety of other options for vegetarians as well.

The Original Soup Man is located in the NBC4 building (neon eyesore) in Downtown Columbus. They keep traditional Downtown hours (which means don't plan on going on Sunday).

Original Soup Man

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