Hello, Dolly! is the story of Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi, the well-known matchmaker, and her attempts to find herself a husband in the wealthy half-millionaire, Horace Vandergelder, the objective being "to send his money circulating among the people like rainwater" the way her late husband, Ephraim Levi, taught her. "Money," her late husband had told her, "if you'll pardon the ex- pression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow."
Mrs. Levi tracks Vandergelder to his hay and feed store in Yonkers, then by train back to Mrs. Molloy's hat shop in New York, out into the streets of the city where they are all caught up in the great Fourteenth Street Association Parade, and finally to the most elegant and expensive restaurant in town, the Harmonia Gardens. There, Dolly is greeted by waiters, cooks, doormen and wine stewards in one of the most famous songs in the history of American musical comedy, Hello, Dolly! In the end, after a ruckus at the restaurant and a court case, Dolly convinces Horace to marry her.
While pursuing Horace, Dolly manages to find time to match up a beautiful, rich, young widow, Irene Molloy, with one of Vandergelder's employees, Cornelius Hackl; Irene Molloy's assistant, Minnie Fay, with Cornelius's assistant, Barnaby Tucker; and the poor, struggling artist, Ambrose Kemper, with Ermengarde, Vandergelder's weeping niece. Indeed, all is well.