A few nickels in this town may not do you a favor in terms of your next meal, but another city, another era– you’d be eating like a king. Sadly, the automats of New York are only of the imagination or in the memories of our grandparents– or unless you live in the Netherlands where the FEBO chain thrives across nearly 90 locations in the country (Messy Nessy).
But this is the new age of tech, and here at its heart in San Francisco, fast food the old way is being reimagined. At Eatsa, back are the slots, and gone are the waiters and cashiers. It’s like we’ve found ourselves again in Manhattan waiting in line at an overcrowded Horn & Hardart. Except, minus the beans, the beef pies and macaroni— Eatsa’s main goal is delivering healthy, hearty dishes exceptionally fast. Fast doesn’t have to mean processed or preserved— with the quinoa bases paired with whatever veggies, tofu, beans, and sauces, diners can expect a feel-good feast without having to wait around for minutes. And in minutes, there you have it! After choosing your options on a tablet, your name lights up one of the many windows of the white slots where meals are prepared out of view, away from the diners. Tap on the window, and the door reveals a compostable bowl filled to the brim with your glorious meal. And that’s it! No people, no coin exchange, no more hassle than it should be for food.
“We think food companies have let us down,” Eatsa writes on their blog, “Instead of inventing a way to make better food more delicious, affordable, and convenient than other food, they’ve just made compromises….so, we decided to do something about. We started east to try and help better food win… Taste, price, speed. That’s all we think about as we try to turn better food into a better service experience.”
And for their use of technology? Eatsa finds that if used the right way, it can be a fun phenomenon, rather than “cold, impersonal.” A good meal at half the time it takes to prepare, you’re getting the best of fresh.
The array of selections for your bowl, as well as an assortment of beverages and little sides, leave us starstruck in how easy it is to have good food your way. It’s so easy that, less than two years after opening its first locations in San Francisco, that Eatsa is looking to bring their new fast food agenda cross-country, opening up new locations in New York and Washington, D.C.
We may be pining for the taste of cherry pies and stewed chicken with whipped potatoes that Marjorie gals of Jazz-Age Manhattan would be scarfing down, but for the world we live in now, a taste of automat technology is fine and dandy with us— even if tweaked just for the 21st century.
Eatsa, 1 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
Hours: Mon – Fri 7:00am – 5:00pm PDT
Serves: Lunch, Breakfast
See the menu and more locations at eatsa.com