The Automat

Director: Lisa Hurwitz

2021, 1 hr 19 minutes, NR

Cast: Mel Brooks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elliot Gould, Colin Powell

THE AUTOMAT now playing in our Main Auditorium (Screen 1). Attendance capped at 50% (180 guests). Mask use appreciated when not eating or drinking.

Before fast food, there was something even better. Iconic, elegant, and populist all at once: the Automat (aka Horn & Hardart) revolutionized American dining a century ago. Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart operated the first food service automats in Philadelphia and New York City. The restaurant chain was well known in the U.S. for serving food out of a vending machine for a nickel. The Automat became a gathering place for all, filled with communal tables for people to share their lives, their struggles, and their dreams with each other. Debut filmmaker Lisa Hurwitz collages rare artifacts, images, and memorabilia (including personal photos and deeply affectionate stories from former employees and the founding family) to create a love letter to the New York many of us still remember.