Horn & Hardart Celebrates 135 years

135 years ago, on December 22, 1888, a man sat down in one of the fourteen chairs of a small restaurant just opening on Thirteenth Street in Philadelphia. He was the first customer. The story goes that he said: “A cup of coffee, please.” Inhaling the fragrance of the cup that was drawn for him and tasting the hearty flavor, he sighed with satisfaction – “Ah-h-h! The best Coffee in Philadelphia.”

That restaurant was Horn & Hardart. The total sales from the day amounted to just $7.25.

Horn & Hardart evolved as a business in so many ways over the last 135 years. From the iconic Automat to retail shops. From stained glass windows to neon lights.

135 years later Horn & Hardart is entering the next chapter in its renowned history. 

In 2023, Horn & Hardart was invigorated under new leadership. Automat Coffee was reintroduced and received an astounding response, with support from across the country. In 2024 we will build on that enthusiasm and set our plans in motion for a Horn & Hardart Automat.

You all returned to Horn & Hardart over this last year. Some for the first time and others for the hundredth time. All of you are playing an important role in restoring this iconic brand for the next generation.

So today, when you sit down with a cup of your Horn & Hardart coffee, look at it closely. It’s not only rich in flavor; it’s rich in history.

Behind your cup, millions of other cups of Horn & Hardart coffee reach back through the years. In front of each cup, there’s a person, and over each cup, there’s a conversation.

Thank you for joining us on this 135th year of business.