While the latest eatery to hit Newport’s food scene certainly takes the saying “everything old is new again” to heart, their modern spin on a retro dining style appears to be well suited for the age of social distancing and beyond.
Jersey Digs first broke the news about Automat Kitchen’s impending arrival at 525 Washington Boulevard way back in 2019. The restaurant moniker comes from the automat concept, or fast-food restaurants, that took off during the 1960s where simple foods were served to customers via vending machines.
Automat Kitchen updates that idea quite a bit with their cutting-edge foodservice technology that includes a patented ordering and pick-up system that delivers items to customers through a state-of-the-art wall of lockable nooks. Diners can order in person at a kiosk or set a time through the restaurant’s website to pick up meals in advance, providing a true contactless experience.
The restaurant, which opened earlier this month, is more than a gimmick, as they make every customer’s meal to order. The menu was developed by consulting chef Quirino Silva, who honed his skills at Austin restaurants that include Flyrite Chicken and County Line.
Meals for early risers at Automat Kitchen include breakfast tacos with sweet potato, egg, salsa ranchera, and add-on proteins like chorizo. The restaurant’s waffle sandwich, which includes breakfast sausage, scrambled egg, and maple syrup between two sweet waffles, will wake even the heaviest sleepers.
Salads, a grain bowl, and small plates like spice-roasted cauliflower, mac and cheese, and roasted spaghetti squash are featured, as is a pastrami Reuben flatbread, a chicken parm sandwich, or a Philly trio of pulled chicken, brisket, and pastrami along with melted cheese, sautéed peppers, and onions.
Lunch and dinner big plates at Automat Kitchen include an Atlantic Salmon with miso-roast broccoli on a bed of grains or a half-roasted chicken with black beans and brown rice. A selection of smoothies, coffees, and sodas round out the menu, as do desserts like pull-apart cinnamon beignets, sundae waffles with bananas and apple cream icing, or even an ice cream float with Boylan’s root beer or cream soda.
Automat Kitchen can be followed on Instagram at the handle @automat_kitchen. They are closed on Sundays, but operate Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with Saturday hours running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The restaurant is one of the first automats to open in the New York area amid COVID-19 and another foray into the style by Brooklyn Dumpling Shop will be coming to both Manhattan and Hoboken later this year.