West Chester Entrepreneur Reviving Horn & Hardart


Years of interest and investigative work have brought West Chester's Al Mazzone, center, to the point of reviving the historic Horn & Hardart coffee brand. Image via Michael Klein, Philadelphia Inquirer.

He regrets stepping away from an opportunity to revive the legacy brand Horn & Hardart shortly after it went bankrupt in 1991, but now West Chester’s Al Mazzone knows much more about how to make the coffee business go.

After some intense investigative work, Mazzone and two business partners are bringing Horn & Hardart coffee back to life, packaged as ground coffee, whole bean coffee, and soon K-cups, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report by Michael Klein.

“It took me about two years. I ended up tasting like 240 different coffees, and I had what I thought was the blend because it has all the characteristics that they said,” Mazzone explained. “If you go to page 75 of the 400-page operations manual, it was written out, ‘This is how you make the coffee.’”

And while Philly fans of the original Horn & Hardart have been clamoring for the old rice pudding and baked beans too, Mazzone said he won’t take his focus off coffee until it becomes a national brand.

“It is a good, strong cup of coffee, but it’s not bitter,” he said.

Only then might a brick-and-mortar presence be a possibility.

“When Horn & Hardart started, they were revolutionary; they came up with something that wasn’t thought of,” he said. “If we’re going to do this again, I want it to be like that scale. Like, ‘That’s a great idea. I’m surprised we didn’t think of that,’ kind of thing.”

Read more about Mazzone’s revival of Horn & Hardart in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.

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