History of Horn & Hardart - Horn & Hardart Coffee
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The Iconic Automat Experience

The History of Horn & Hardart

Philadelphia 1888

Horn & Hardart Founded

Joe Horn and Frank Hardart became partners in a small coffee shop in Philadelphia in 1888. Over the next ten years they opened a half-dozen more, adding to the number of items on the menu and increasing the size of each restaurant. Throughout its growth, Horn & Hardart was always focused on quality coffee, and became known as having the best coffee on the East Coast.

Automat circa 1904
Automat circa 1904
Horn Hardart 818 Chestnut Street
Horn Hardart 818 Chestnut Street

Chestnut Street 1902

First Automat Opened

In 1902 the company opened its first Automat on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. The Automat was based on a European “Waiterless Restaurant” but highly modified for the United States.

New York 1912

Automat Opens on Times Square

Ten years later the first Automat was opened on Times Square in New York. From this point on, Automats became ubiquitous in NY and were highly integrated into city life. Even though the chain eventually grew to almost 50 locations in Philadelphia, it became highly identified with New York where it grew to over 100 locations by the 1950’s, some enormous in size.

Horn & Hardart Times Square New York circa 1939
Horn & Hardart Times Square New York
57th Street Automat New York City
Horn & Hardart’s Automat at 6th avenue and 57th street in the 1980s. Image via Flickr by Carl Burton

Midtown New York 1991

Last Horn & Hardart Closes

In the 1980’s the chain struggled in both NY and Philadelphia due to numerous reasons; some within its control and some external. Among the circumstances over which the company had little or no control were: population shifts to the suburbs, rising competition from fast food chains, rising costs of maintaining their large restaurants and changes in dining habits. The last restaurants closed in both Philadelphia and New York by 1991.

Philadelphia 2009

Horn & Hardart Reborn

The Mazzone family were investors in a brief attempt to bring back the chain in the early 1990’s, selling a range of favorite Horn and Hardart recipes through supermarket channels. In 2009 the family began acquiring all the rights to the Horn & Hardart name and recipes. They decided to focus on the coffee and after several years of research and experimentation, were finally able to duplicate the original H&H coffee blend. Originally they only sold the coffee through other companies and distributors.

Horn & Hardart Liberty Roast - Whole Bean and Ground
Customers all over the U.S. can once again enjoy this historic coffee delivered directly to their homes and offices.

Philadelphia 1888

Horn & Hardart Founded

Joe Horn and Frank Hardart became partners in a small coffee shop in Philadelphia in 1888. Over the next ten years they opened a half-dozen more, adding to the number of items on the menu and increasing the size of each restaurant. Throughout its growth, Horn & Hardart was always focused on quality coffee, and became known as having the best coffee on the East Coast.

Automat circa 1904
Automat circa 1904

Chestnut Street 1902

First Automat Opened

In 1902 the company opened its first Automat on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. The Automat was based on a European “Waiterless Restaurant” but highly modified for the United States.

Horn Hardart 818 Chestnut Street
Horn Hardart 818 Chestnut Street

New York 1912

Automat Opens on Times Square

Ten years later the first Automat was opened on Times Square in New York. From this point on, Automats became ubiquitous in NY and were highly integrated into city life. Even though the chain eventually grew to almost 50 locations in Philadelphia, it became highly identified with New York where it grew to over 100 locations by the 1950’s, some enormous in size.

Horn & Hardart Times Square New York circa 1939
Horn & Hardart Times Square New York

Midtown New York 1991

Last Horn & Hardart Closes

In the 1980’s the chain struggled in both NY and Philadelphia due to numerous reasons; some within its control and some external. Among the circumstances over which the company had little or no control were: population shifts to the suburbs, rising competition from fast food chains, rising costs of maintaining their large restaurants and changes in dining habits. The last restaurants closed in both Philadelphia and New York by 1991.

57th Street Automat New York City
Horn & Hardart’s Automat at 6th avenue and 57th street in the 1980s. Image via Flickr by Carl Burton

Philadelphia 2009

Horn & Hardart Reborn

The Mazzone family were investors in a brief attempt to bring back the chain in the early 1990’s, selling a range of favorite Horn and Hardart recipes through supermarket channels. In 2009 the family began acquiring all the rights to the Horn & Hardart name and recipes. They decided to focus on the coffee and after several years of research and experimentation, were finally able to duplicate the original H&H coffee blend. Originally they only sold the coffee through other companies and distributors.

Horn & Hardart Liberty Roast - Whole Bean and Ground
Customers all over the U.S. can once again enjoy this historic coffee delivered directly to their homes and offices.