Beautiful restorations of these historic Northern Michigan theaters have made our Up North downtowns even more vibrant. Sit back and enjoy a memorable winter weekend of film and food.
MARQUETTE: THE DELFT
The Scene: The restored 1914 film palace is now a restaurant too, and the evening film plays as guests dine on “opening acts” such as a Delft burrata or miso shrimp, “main attractions” like sage goat cheese alfredo.
The Twist: Call ahead to see what’s playing and reserve a table with the best screen view.
GRAYLING: THE RIALTO
The Scene: This little theater-that-could put out a plea in a New York Times op-ed for help in transitioning to a modern sound and projection system; its $100,000-plus renovation also kept original art deco designs intact and added notably comfy seats.
The Twist: Take your ticket stub on a short stroll down Michigan Avenue to Paddle Hard Brewing for a 15 percent discount on your pour, flatbread or craft cocktail; their lounge area also lets you linger on one of the ten original theater seats.
FRANKFORT: THE GARDEN
The Scene: Bold colors, art deco touches and meticulously restored ceiling tiles set the stage for first-run films and indie flicks in the center-of-town theater operating continuously since 1923 but now with new heating and seating.
The Twist: The Dark & Stormcloudy Film and Beer Series has to be the coolest movie-meal-beer combination yet invented. Last year’s paired a film about Vincent Van Gough with a French food/beer pairing and Sazarac pour, and a Korean flick with a beer based around an IPA of black rice and green tea.
Bonus: If you go on a Saturday in January, you can take a Learn to Curl lesson in the alley by the theater, and on non-beer dinner nights, your $10 movie ticket gets you an included $5 pour at Stormcloud Brewing Company.
MANISTEE: The VOGUe
The Scene: A $2.5 million restoration has left the walls of the stunning two-screen theater painted to match the blues of nearby Lake Michigan and seats resembling classic Ford Mustangs—all befitting the vintage pricing of 25 cent family matinees and $2 Wednesday classic film matinees.
The Twist: Pizza and a movie for two is a bargain at $30.
Kim Schneider is a long-time travel writer specializing in Michigan adventures, food and wine. The Midwest Travel Journalist Association has named her Mark Twain Travel Writer of the Year, and she’s the author of the recently-published book, 100 Things to Do in Traverse City Before You Die.