BAMN! The new Automat

The NYC Automats are legendary.  Long ago in a NYC that is no more, the Automats reigned as the place to go to for a cheap meal.  They took only nickels and you could show up with a pocketful and sit and eat all day.  When I talk to old-timers, they wax eloquent about the Automats.

You’d put in your nickels and get sandwiches, soup, sandwiches, salads…just about everything you would want to eat.

The problem?  Well, people would come and get their coffee and stay all day long.  You can’t pay the rent when your seats are taken by people paying a quarter for a whole day’s rent on a table.  Over time, the Automats were chased out of business by that sort of behavior.

Well, they are starting to come back, but with some significant differences.  BAMN, a Dutch company, has opened one Automat-style restaurant in the East Village, located on St. Marks near 2nd Avenue.  To say it is an “Automat” is probably an exaggeration.  From what I understand, the original Automats had “thousands” of little glass doors with food behind them.  This one has only a little more than a hundred.


It’s an open-air restaurant.  There are no doors into it and, although you can eat in there, it is standing room only.


You get your drinks from a separate service area behind a counter.


You still stick your coins into the slots for the food, but it’s dollar-coins only.  There’s a change machine since no one seems to carry dollar coins.

Each of the columns of the little windows has a sort of “food theme”.  Nothing special, but it’s lots of simple foods.  Nothing elaborate here.


The food’s okay.  I can’t say that the color scheme is pleasing; and I’m not one to mention color schemes so that’s saying a lot. 


Explore posts in the same categories: Food, Greenwich Village, Manhattan, Wanderings

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