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Return of the Automat

Fairfield Foodie Aug 20, 2006 02:20 AM

Anyone walk past the soon-to-be-opening "Bamn!" on St. Mark's Place? Should be opening up pretty soon. Pretty cool for us nostalgic-folk who are old enough to remember Horn & Hardart's before they all morphed into Burger Kings and Starbucks.

Below is a link to a good article about it:


...and here is a link to their website:


  1. efdee Aug 20, 2006 02:51 PM

    An Automat without the food??? Bamn's coin-operated gimmick might work but the return of the Automat it ain't.

    1. f
      Fairfield Foodie Aug 21, 2006 03:21 AM

      "An Automat without the food??"

      Not sure what you mean. They will be serving food.

      According to the website...bite-sized burgers, mac & cheese, pizza, chicken strips, grilled cheese, hot dogs, pork buns, and lots of other great stuff - made fresh throughout the day.

      Aside from the novelty of piping hot food appearing like magic from behind the ornate slots...I remember the H&H baked beans, mac & cheese, chicken pot pie, and the coffee was the best in town.

      Can't wait for the return of the automat!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Fairfield Foodie
        efdee Aug 21, 2006 02:59 PM

        Sorry, I'll try again. The food that Bamn is planning to serve sounds like it will be basic fast food popping out of windows. Might be fun, might even be "great stuff" (remains to be seen) but they're not going to recreate H&H recipes, are they? If that sounds like the return of the Automat, we'll have to agree to disagree.

        1. re: efdee
          big o Aug 21, 2006 04:45 PM

          Maybe I'm just being nutty, but I'm pretty sure there were, and still are, plenty of operating automats out there that don't make use of H&H recipes. Sure, it'd be nice if they could thoroughly recreate an experience that would satisfy your specific nostalgia, but if you're in a restaurant and you put in coins to pull out lunch... Automat!

      2. f
        Fairfield Foodie Aug 23, 2006 02:17 AM

        Very well put big o. Yes, there ARE automats out there...mainly in Europe. I think efdee was pining for Horn & Hardart's...which, incidentally, DO exist in Philadelphia and New Jersey. However, these are H&H in name only...no coin ops, no mac & cheese. They are basically a Starbuck's clone.

        1. e
          ericlmc2 Aug 28, 2006 07:35 PM

          They are open as of today. I plan on stopping by after work...

          1 Reply
          1. re: ericlmc2
            TipsyMcStagger Aug 30, 2006 05:17 PM

            So how was it?


          2. welle Aug 30, 2006 05:25 PM

            I thought Pret A Manger went for the whole automat look thing when they first opened...

            1. Doghouse Reilly Aug 30, 2006 10:39 PM

              Are they going to bring back the tomato soup?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Doghouse Reilly
                Deenso Aug 31, 2006 01:10 AM

                No tomato soup. This place is not a take-off on the old Horn & Hardart automat. From what I've read, there is a strong Asian influence. You'll find roast pork buns and musubi, that sort of thing.

              2. d
                dippedberry Aug 30, 2006 11:31 PM

                One very smart thing about the concept is that they will be open all night (24 hrs). Let's face it: there are plenty of people wandering around the EV looking for something to eat in the middle of the night. Even if they just serve basic fried food, they should do pretty well with the zombie crowd. (Although people don't tend to carry rolls of quarters around -- maybe it'll work more like a 7-11.)

                1. c
                  chloe.speaks Aug 31, 2006 01:23 AM

                  they have a change machine.

                  and yes, it's like a japanese fast food place. everything is fried (almost) and they even have french fries with a bunch of differnt sauces ala pomme frite.

                  1. guttergourmet Sep 2, 2006 11:43 PM

                    Tried it. Talk about comfort food! I'm sadly old enough to remember the original H&H (my dad took me there). Had a "teryaki" mini burger-pretty good and the ultimate nostalgia novelty- a mac-n-cheese egg roll! Will have to go back the next time I'm drunk at 3am to really appreciate it.

                    1. designerboy01 Sep 3, 2006 04:30 AM

                      The quaility of the food is low. They serve cheap burgers, soggy egg rolls, anf a pork bun that doesn't look very exciting. A real Pork Bun from Hong Kong has sauce and you get a party in your mouth. I just looked at it tonight and it didn't look like it was going to givce me a party. I'd rather go to Bing Lady at Roll & Dough and get some good quality Bing - Spicy Pork!


                      1. g
                        gsw Sep 3, 2006 05:32 AM

                        Walked past there the other day. It was super crowded! It looked cool, but I'm not sure about the food. We didn't try it, as we were on our way to another place. Seems gimmicky. That neighborhood has better 24 hour places, anyway.

                        And I second the recommendation for Bings at Roll and Dough.

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