automated food

Remember Horn & Hardart?


A friend sent me an e-mail today that had those reminisce things listed and one of the items on the list was about Horn & Hardart. I hadn’t seen anything like that in years. And I’m from a generation who missed the heyday.

But I still remember going Horn & Hardart in NY when I was a kid in the late 1970’s.

Horn & Hardart was a food services company of the USA noted for operating the first food service automats in Philadelphia and New York City.

Philadelphia’s Joseph Horn (1861–1941) and German-born, New Orleans-raised, Frank Hardart opened their first restaurant together in Philadelphia on December 22, 1888. The small (11 x 17 feet) lunchroom at 39 South Thirteenth Street had no tables, only a counter with 15 stools.

By introducing Philadelphia to New Orleans-style French-drip coffee, which Hardart promoted as their “gilt-edge” brew, they made their tiny luncheonette a local attraction. News of the coffee spread, and the business flourished. They incorporated as the Horn & Hardart Baking Company in 1898.[1]

Frankly, I wish they were still around today. I remember the food always being different. It wasn’t always great. But it was different. Unfortunately, they are no longer around.

The last New York Horn & Hardart Automat (on the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Third Avenue) closed in April 1991.

You can read more here in detail. Here’s an interesting site with even more information.