By Jessica Hall
Smitty's Cinema, where you can grab a burger and a beer while watching the latest blockbuster movie, will open a new location in Windham in April after a $1.5 million renovation of the recently closed Windham 5-Star Cinema.
Smitty's is renovating the Windham 5-Star on Route 302 to rip out the traditional theater seating and replace it with leather chairs and tables. It also will replace the 35-millimeter projection system with a digital projection system and surround sound. A new kitchen is being built adjacent to the theater.
The theater will initially include seven screens with a total seating capacity of 550. An eighth screen will be added in 2014, adding another 200 seats. Smitty's expects to bring about 50 to 60 part-time jobs to the area, said owner Milton Smith.
Patrons can order from a pub-style menu that features cinema-inspired dishes such as Cheech & Chong Chili Cheese Fries, King Kong Ribs and DaVinci Code Caesar Salad. The bar will include mixed drinks, beer, wine and frozen drinks. Traditional movie theater fare, such as popcorn, is also available.
Smitty's, which has locations in Biddeford, Sanford and Tilton, N.H., opened in 1995 at another location in Windham and operated for about 10 years there. It closed because of the increased competition posed by the opening of the Windham 5-Star, Smith said.
The Windham 5-Star closed earlier this month and Smitty's leased the space.
"We were in Windham for a number of years and the town was good to us. We're looking forward to coming back," Smith said.
In addition to showing first-run movies, Smitty's also offers free Mom & Me showings of children's movies and broadcasts New England Patriots football games. The theater can also be rented for birthday parties and special events.
The chain was started by four brothers from Merrimac, Mass., who opened a single-screen cinema pub in early 1992.
The Windham location's closest movie theater rivals will be the Cinemagic in Westbrook and Magic Lantern Movie Theater in Bridgton.
Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at: