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The Automat Makes a Comeback, But Only for Eight Hours

The Automat Makes a Comeback, But Only for Eight Hours

Photo: Courtesy of America's Next Great Restaurant

Yes, it’s a publicity stunt, but we have a major soft spot for automats, so check out the pop-up promoting America’s Next Great Restaurant that’ll be in Grand Central on March 3 and 4 for lunch (11 a.m. till 1 p.m.) and dinner (5 till 7 p.m.). On March 4, Bobby Flay and Curtis Stone will be on hand to dole out free snacks from the menu inspired by concepts from the show. In 1979, when Horn & Hardart’s 40 or so automats had dwindled to two, Studs Lonigan author James T. Farrell wrote (in the pages of New York) about frequenting automats while he was living on 50 cents a day. The Times mourned the closing of the last unit, on East 42nd Street, in 1991. If all this inspires you to bring back coin-slot cuisine in a more permanent way, and you think you can do better than Bamn! The Automat did, Steve Stollman (the same guy who’s selling the bar from L├╝chow’s) may still have some machines lying around.

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