- Since 1888 -
Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart opened their first restaurant in Philadelphia, on December 22, 1888. Located at 37-39 South 13th Street, the restaurant was small and had only 15 seats. The restaurant became extremely popular thanks to a new style of drip coffee that was served. Legend has it that the first customer told Mr. Horn, "You serve the finest cup of coffee I have ever tasted."
They incorporated as the Horn & Hardart Baking Company in 1898. 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.
Horn & Hardart opened the first automat in the U.S. on June 9, 1902, on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.
Ten years later, the first New York Automat opened in Times Square on July 2, 1912. From this point on, Automats became ubiquitous in New York City 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 City, where it grew to over 100 locations by the 1950’s.
Although the food got the attention, the Automat’s real secret weapon was its coffee. Horn & Hardart popularized fresh drip-brewed coffee. Prior to the Automat, coffee was often harsh and bitter, boiled and clarified with eggshells. The Automat’s smooth aromatic brew flowed regally from ornate brass spigots in the shape of dolphin heads. In their heyday, Automats sold over 90 million cups of their fresh-brewed coffee each year.
A new era, with an iconic past.
Today, we remain committed to the same principles that have guided us for over a century. We aim to restore the experience of the Automat for our customers, whether it’s online, in their home, or at a retail location in the future. See how we’re creating a new chapter for this beloved part of American culture…
The Automat Blend
Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart started Horn & Hardart by introducing the public to a fresh drip coffee. We are starting the same way, with quality coffee roasted where H&H began: Philadelphia. This blend is true to its history as a daily drinker with bold flavors.
Bringing The Experience Home
When you receive your delivery, you will notice it's more than just coffee. It’s the quality, care, and craftsmanship that H&H pioneered, along with special stories and photos from the Automat to enjoy as you sip on that first cup in the morning.
Restoring an Icon
For over 100 years, H&H represented uncompromising quality. The Automat became a symbol of innovation, offering patrons a dining experience unlike any other. We aim to bring that level of quality and care back to our customers every step of the way as we build on the legacy of this iconic brand.
We're proud of our heritage and grateful to have been a part of so many people's lives over the years. We look forward to continuing to serve you and your family for many more to come.