There’s a tiny little shop on the north side of St. Mark’s between 2nd and 3rd Avenues that has held a special place in my heart for over two years now, and it is called BAMN! Automat. For anyone who doesn’t know, the premise is that you put quarters (or Sacagawea gold dollars, if you’re really cool) into a coin slot. Then you open a little glass door and retrieve your double cheeseburger, mac and cheese kroket (the BEST), or whatever else catches your eye.
When I profess my love for the Automat, I’m usually met with a mix of reactions. a) I love that place too! (although probably not as much as me) b) Hmm yeah, I’ve been there or I haven’t, interesting c) So the food just sits there until someone takes it? Ew, that sounds like bad news.
So, I’d like to list the reasons why everyone, especially those who fall into the C category, should embrace BAMN!
- Instant gratification. Their slogan is “Satisfaction is automatic” and it is really true. Put coins in, open door, get food, eat food. You don’t even have to talk to anybody! This is great, especially when it is late and you are drunk.
- But if you do want to talk to someone, the staff is always incredibly friendly, including owners Nobu and Raymond, who I’ve often gushed to about how much I love their establishment and have been rewarded with free fries or ice cream from behind the counter.
- Fellow customers are also friendly because everyone is happy so instantly at the automat.
- You will never be eating old food. There are timers on each door that lets staff know when they need to throw food out. I’ve seen them do it.
- I have never gotten sick from the automat. Ever.
- BAMN! used to be open 24 hours, but now it closes at 3am on weekends. This is disappointing sometimes if you lose track of time, but if you get it right (you can always return to the bar), they sometimes start giving away free food right before 3am.
- It’s centrally located in the East Village, so no matter where you were out downtown, you can pretty much always walk to it.
- Menu items are between $2 and $3. Perfect for the recession. There is a coin machine there.
- I personally love the fried mac & cheese krokets and cheeseburgers the most, but for the health-conscious folks, there are vegetarian and non-fried options.
- And finally, tenth but most importantly, the food tastes really really good.
Any other questions? Just go.