LINCOLN CITY, Ore. (KOIN) –Traffic isn’t what it normally is on Highway 101 through Lincoln City, but then again neither are the crows that congregate under the marquee of the 82-year-old Bijou Theater at 17th street and Highway 101.
Inside the historic theater the screen is blank. The well-maintained rows of old theater seats are empty. But Keith and Betsy Altomare are still selling the one thing old movie theaters can do better than just about anyone else.
“We are selling popcorn to go only from 6 to 7 at night,” Keith said. “A lot of folks are coming in, saying hi for a minute, buying their popcorn to go home and do whatever streaming they are doing.”
Its not just good popcorn — it is renowned, attested to by the signed letters from both former Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and President Bill Clinton.
The seasonings are brewers yeast, parmesan cheese, 3 salt types, cinnamon, sugar and olive oil. Keith fills the popcorn bag and finishes it off with with a pump or 3 of butter from the old-style butter-melting machine.
“It’s just well-seasoned, is how I like to say it. Of course we clean it every night — it just makes the best popcorn I don’t know how else to say it,” he told KOIN 6 News. “People love it. We’re known as the best popcorn on the coast.”
You can look at the pictures on the walls and still get a taste of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Born in the grips of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the theater has seen hard times before.
It survived then as it will survive now by doing what it does best — providing buttery, salty tasty toppings to freshly popped theater popcorn for people to enjoy during our collective hiatus at home.