Patio Theatre

6008 W. Irving Park Road,
Chicago, IL 60634

Unfavorite 42 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 267 comments

Trolleyguy on October 6, 2022 at 8:01 am

Big plans ahead with much work done already.renovation

DavidZornig on July 29, 2020 at 7:42 am

“Patio Theater Continues Restoration, Launches Membership Program While Doors Closed.”

gompka on October 11, 2019 at 11:25 am

Well they better but that plan in motion as soon as possible, because the marquee is getting annihilated

LouRugani on August 20, 2019 at 5:18 pm


DavidZornig on August 20, 2019 at 7:46 am

Plan to restore the Patio on the CBS 2 Morning News today.

gompka on August 14, 2019 at 7:36 am

Its sad that people are so careless and selfish when driving. I’m sure the trucks don’t stop and give their insurance information when this type of thing happens.

Trolleyguy on August 14, 2019 at 7:33 am

I just uploaded a recent picture of the marquee showing damage from being hit by trucks on the corners. The City of Chicago has inspected it and found that it was not a hazard to pedestrians or traffic at this time.

LouRugani on February 28, 2019 at 1:04 pm

Alexander “Alex” Kouvalis – born in 1934 in a regional unit of Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece …died in Chicago on October 2, 2011 and was interred at Maryhill Catholic Cemetery & Mausoleum in Niles, Cook County, Illinois, USA —————————————— “I know a place where there are electric clouds overhead and twenty-five cent lightbulbs become stars with eyes I see, so it must be true, a dancer of light, a silver shadow who is the keeper of illusions, yours and mine … he dwells in a grand mosaic just west of Austin Boulevard.” … Filmmaker Louis Antonelli wrote that poem about Mr. Kouvalis, and made a 1994 short about his passion for Chicago’s Patio Theatre: “The Wizard of Austin Boulevard.” Alexander Kouvalis, who cared for the Patio Theatre as tenderly as a lover and guarded it as fiercely as Cerberus, was a hero to film buffs for not only keeping the jewelbox of a moviehouse running — but also for refusing to slice up its big screen for a multiplex. Mr. Kouvalis and his family burnished the 1927 Patio at Irving and Austin and re-opened it with a $5 admission, unusual work for a man who immigrated from Greece at age 18 in short pants in the middle of December with no English and went on to become a physicist with four college degrees.

Mr. Kouvalis, 77, died on Sunday, October 2, 2011 at Lutheran General Hospital after suffering a heart attack while driving.

In 1987 Mr. Kouvalis, with some partners, bought the block-long building that houses the neo-Pompeiian Patio as well as apartments and commercial tenants. “It was a mess, but I could see a thing of beauty underneath the dirt,” he said before the June re-opening. “Like ‘My Fair Lady,‘ the beauty was there; you just had to bring it out.” He did it all, from booking second-run films to selling popcorn. He rousted teenage vandals and he was not above patting someone’s pocket if he thought they were sneaking in candy. But he faced hard times in the late 1990s when the city tried to impose additional fees, and the air-conditioning system broke down. He shuttered the Patio in 2001. For years thereafter, the Patio’s marquee said “UNDER RENOVATION.” But Mr. Kouvalis, his daughter Amalia and his son repainted and reupholstered and found a company to fix the Patio’s air conditioning. Mr. Kouvalis bought out all but one partner. Today, the Patio still has its trademark twinkling ceiling lights and a projector that makes the ceiling look like moving clouds. “The fact that it’s still there, doing what it started out as in 1927, that’s a pretty amazing thing,” said Richard Sklenar, executive director of the Elmhurst-based Theatre Historical Society of America. “It’s been on that corner for three generations… . We give him credit for hanging on to it.” When he arrived in the U.S. in 1952 “he thought he saw so many stars in the sky,” said his wife, Magdalena. “Then he found out they were [the lights of] cars.” He had an uncle from the Old Country in Casper, Wyoming, so he went to stay with him. But there he washed dishes from morning until night, or shivered on a truck that delivered ice. Mr. Kouvalis came to Chicago to get an education. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Elmhurst College and three degrees at the Illinois Institute of Technology: a bachelor’s in physics and also in management, and a master’s degree in economics. The U.S. Army came calling, and he was supposed to serve in Japan. But he wanted to be near Greece, so he told a general he was a skilled mechanic who could better serve his new country in Europe. It worked; he was stationed in Germany, and he returned to Greece for a visit. “Alex didn’t even know how to drive the car, and he said he was a car mechanic,” his wife said. “They found out he’s not much of a mechanic.” Later, Mr. Kouvalis worked for Argonne National Laboratory, Sunbeam and Zenith, and he taught economics and real estate at Triton College. At the time of his passing, the Patio Theatre was screening “The Help.” Mr. Kouvalis married when he was 54, because for decades he focused on sending money to his family in Greece, his son said. He helped provide a dowry for his sister, Maria Kostopoulos, and he helped put his brother John through dental school. He met his Polish-born wife when she was visiting a relative in Chicago one summer, and she began working at the Patio. His wake and funeral service were at the Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home at 6150 North Cicero Avenue, with interment following at Maryhill Cemetery in Niles. He was interred with a handmade blanket that his mother, Vasiliki, sent him when he first arrived in America.

DavidZornig on October 5, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Daily showings update.

DavidZornig on April 24, 2017 at 11:13 am

14 hour movie marathon beginning Saturday.

LouRugani on September 27, 2016 at 9:52 am

Or, actually, here comes the neighborhood!

BobbyS on September 25, 2016 at 10:51 pm

There goes the neighborhood !!

Trolleyguy on September 10, 2016 at 8:28 am

The liquor license has been approved with restrictions.

DavidZornig on March 18, 2016 at 7:25 pm

New owners applying for alcohol license.

RickB on October 10, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Sale expected to close soon, not to Carranza but to some unidentified party. Another DNAInfo story here.

RickB on February 22, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Under contract for a sale to Eddie Carranza, per DNAInfo.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 21, 2014 at 5:21 pm

The Patio’s web site says the house is closed this Monday, but it has show times listed for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. No reason is given for the Monday closing.

GFeret on December 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm

PATIO theatre marque was lit up and they’re showing the new Hobbitt movie this weekend there (apparently movies now shown only on weekends)

whtesoxfan56 on November 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm

I sure hope the heating and A/C issue is tackled, at some point. It’s too bad Kouvalis didn’t take up Cullerton’s(and the city of Chicago’s) grant offer to fix the A/C system, when it was offered. I wonder if his successor, will try to help the new owner(s) get that resolved, if they request that grant again?

BobbyS on November 23, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Wonder who will pay for the heat/ac to be fixed? Ald. Cullerton is retiring I heard so the city’s help may be off the table. Anyway I hope the classic movie people return someday to show their wonderful programs!

whtesoxfan56 on November 20, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Good news about the Patio that broke today: it’s going to reopen, under a leasing agreement by the same group of people who run the Portage. I’m a little skeptical of Carranza, but at least there haven’t been any probs with the Portage, since it reopened in June of this year, so a yay for me for now, on hearing this news. I still hope to have my Patio projection booth pics added to my Flickr album I linked to one post above, at some point very soon.

whtesoxfan56 on November 3, 2014 at 12:35 pm

I never knew about Ald. Cullerton even going as far as trying to help the owner get a city grant to fix the air conditioning system, and he rejected it still? WTFH, really? That’s really sad to hear, thanks for mentioning that unfortunate bit of news GFeret. I remember hearing that sad bit of news, about the owner putting the theater up for sale as well. Makes me real disappointed, especially since I WAS one of the many who contributed to the Kickstarter project for this theater to get a digital projector. Really wish the owner had used Kickstarter, to fundraise enough money to completely fix the heating and A/C issues, even if it would’ve taken a total overhaul to successfully do.

Anyway, enjoy my album of Patio Theater pics, with a final update coming soon that I haven’t uploaded yet(projection booth pics):

BobbyS on July 15, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Wow, double the rents !! The stores are barely hanging on now. Just what Chicago needs more empty stores and even less population.

GFeret on July 15, 2014 at 7:27 am

yes up for sale, the broker ESSEX says “there’s much to be gained by raising the rents up to current market levels”. warning to tenants—get out now while you can, forces are at work to double your rents. leave nothing behind but an empty shell