At Horn & Hardart’s Automat

Long before the present-day craze of fast food restaurants (Burger King, McDonalds, etc.) there was the Automat. Established by Joe Horn and Frank Hardart, the first opened on July 2, 1912 in Times Square and was an immediate sensation. Offering a vast selection of freshly-prepared food, almost everything (literally) from soup to nuts, customers would drop a nickle in a slot and select their dish from windowed compartments.

“Children and tourists adored them, office workers depended on them, retirees gathered in them, and New Yorkers with nothing to spend on lunch stirred free ketchup into hot water and called it soup.” {read more} Lunch Hour NYC


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