01 hours 59 minutes
Take a nostalgic trip back to the days of ‘The Automat’ with Mel Brooks and other celebrities who remember with great affection Horn and Hardart’s chain of cafeteria-style restaurants in New York City and Philadelphia in the early 20th century. Here’s where you went with the whole family to enjoy a dinner, for under $1, putting your nickels and dimes into a slot and opening a little glass door to take out macaroni and cheese, Salisbury steak or a piece of lemon meringue pie. Coffee was served from dolphin-shaped spouts and you sat at marble tables in a room that felt like a grand ballroom. If you were a child, you could stoop down and look through the glass door to see the waiter in the back pushing your pie out front. There was nothing else like it in those days.
The one-hundred-year Automat saga serves up never before-seen archival footage and photographs and a cast including celebrity customers, company executives, historians, and members of the Horn & Hardart families who talk about America’s iconic restaurant that served affordable quality food in a unique and technologically ‘modern’ way.
The film is directed by Lisa Hurwitz and stars Mel Brooks, with cameo remembrances by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Carl Reiner, Colin Powell and Elliot Gould. Starbucks Coffee founder Howard Schultz talks about how he was inspired to start his company because of Horn and Hardart.
Watch the trailer below: