After weathering a variety of entertainment trends since opening
more than 70 years ago as a vaudeville house, the venerable Castle Cinema on
Providence's Chalkstone Avenue has added a full-service café. Along with
taking in flicks ranging from Grateful Dawg to Riding in Cars with
Boys, moviegoers will soon be able to chew on burgers and other fare beyond
the usual popcorn and candy.
The Castle, known for its distinctive marquee, was purchased in November by
four brothers, Anthony, Edward, Larry and Leonard Gemma, and their
brother-in-law, Robert, who grew up near the neighborhood landmark and bought
it for $250,000 after former owner Ralph Quito put it up for sale.
Even with their appreciation for the cinema, the new owners naturally faced
concerns about the challenge of competing with the large chains that dominate
the cinematic exhibition industry. "It is tough to maintain a $4 ticket price
in this type of business climate," says general manager Shawn Ademac.
Low prices have been preserved at the Castle, with the theater charging $4 for
matinees, $4.75 for evening shows, and $6 for midnight screenings of The
Rocky Horror Picture Show on Saturdays. Looking for another drawing card,
the new proprietors decided to model the revamped Castle on a cinema pub chain
in Maine and New Hampshire. The cinema now includes a café that will
offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a menu featuring chicken sandwiches,
burgers, and a cocktail bar.
Ademac says the plan is for "something totally different, where a typical $25
dinner for two becomes something special." Seats extracted from Lincoln Town
cars will be directed toward the screen after customers conclude their meals.
Consideration is also being given at the Castle to hosting live performances.
Issue Date: December 7 - 13, 2001