Cascade Drive-In

1100 E. North Avenue,
West Chicago, IL 60185

1275 cars

Unfavorite 16 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 43 comments

Khnemu on June 15, 2022 at 10:16 am

According to the Mayor of West Chicago’s state of the city address last month, building permits were issued for a lift station at Cascade Drive-In.

Khnemu on October 10, 2020 at 2:24 pm

West Chicago pushes back the hearing about reopening the Cascade back to November:

DavidZornig on September 22, 2020 at 6:15 pm

Another update. Public zoning hearing October 6th.

DavidZornig on April 30, 2020 at 8:24 pm

Cascade is trying to re-open.

DavidZornig on February 23, 2020 at 5:38 pm

August 4, 1961 grand opening print ad added courtesy Carol Stream Historical Society.

davidcoppock on March 18, 2019 at 6:39 pm

Opened with “Parish” and “Mister Roberts”.

LouRugani on March 18, 2019 at 3:17 pm

Iconic Cascade Drive-In Closes After 58 Years In West Chicago – Owners of the drive-in theater thanked customers for their support and said, “Our hearts are broken.” (By Lisa Marie Farver, Patch Staff, March 15-18, 2019) ——
WEST CHICAGO, IL — For the past 58 years, you’d know it was the start of summer in the western suburbs by the blinking of fireflies, the chirping of birds, and the smell of popcorn and flickering of big-screen movies at the Cascade Drive-In theater. Just as the iconic drive-in was prepping to open for its 2019 season, news comes that the screens will stay dark. The owners announced Friday that the theater, one of the last of its kind in Chicagoland, has closed indefinitely. The theater’s owners said on Facebook Friday that the property owner has decided not to permit the theater to open. The parcel of land is up for sale, but Cascade Drive-In owners say it has not yet been sold and that no development plans have been made. Cascade Drive-In owners say they can “only surmise that the landowner believes he has a better chance to get any future development approval from the city of West Chicago and surrounding community if the business is closed.” The current owners have operated the drive-in for the past three decades and have paid $6 million in rent, the Facebook post said. They added “A conversation and a decent transition would have been the least we could expect from the landowner. It’s devastating to us but we always knew the sale would be imminent one day but this scenario of closing with no other use for the property was totally unexpected.” On March 23, Cascade will host a sale of hoodies, popcorn machines, grills, a golf cart and more to give customers a chance to get their hands on a “piece of nostalgia.” The owners of Cascade closed their post by expressing a sentiment that will likely be shared throughout the surrounding community in the wake of news of the drive-in’s closure. They said, “Our hearts are broken.”

DavidZornig on March 15, 2019 at 1:19 pm

Officially Closed. Via the Cascade Drive-In Facebook page.

We are sorry to announce to all of you that sadly the Cascade Drive-In theater will not open for 2019 season and beyond. The owner of the land has decided that he will not permit the theater to open and we are unable to continue to provide a rare entertainment to the community of West Chicago and beyond. The land is not sold and is not under contract nor has any new plan been submitted to the City of West Chicago. The property will simply be vacant and no further operations will be permitted to continue. I can only surmise that the landowner believes he has a better chance to get any future development approval from the city of West Chicago and surrounding community if the business is closed. They have been informed after each of their previous concepts presented for approval from the City that property will be zoned for residential not industrial. All proposals presented were determined by the City, besides not being residential also included heavy semi-truck traffic and were rejected. The rejection had absolutely nothing to do with the Cascade. I was informed even if the Amazon distribution center were to attempt to develop on this location they would turn it down. Again, nothing to do with the Cascade. For last year we have attempted via phone, email and letter to the landowner and his representatives to find out our status and have received no response. A short response was given to our attorney several months ago stating they were waiting for the City to advise them of what they would approve for the property development. We have operated the Cascade Drive-In for 30 years and paid close to $6,000,000 in rent to the landowner. I have operated Drive-Ins since the 1950’s with my late father. Its devastating to us but we always knew the sale would be imminent one day but this scenario of closing with no other use for the property was totally unexpected. A conversation and a decent transition would have been the least we could expect from the landowner. Not often that you see a thriving business to close but its out of our hands. Just want to thank every family that has come to the Cascade and enjoyed the experience of viewing two first run movies on giant outdoor screen. We want to let everyone know that Saturday 3/23 after 4:00 PM at the Cascade Drive-In we will have Cascade hoodies for sale so come on out and get a piece of nostalgia. Inform anyone that we have equipment such as popcorn poppers, warmers, hot chocolate machine, freezers, grills, and even a golf cart for sale if you know of anyone interested. Thank you so much. Our hearts are broken!

Mister_Comics on March 10, 2019 at 10:37 am

The Cascade Drive-In when it was featured on Chicago’s Best. Check it out!

DavidZornig on March 6, 2019 at 4:20 pm

Over 12,000 have signed the below petition for Landmark Status.

DavidZornig on March 4, 2019 at 9:00 am

The Cascade Drive-In lease has expired…—w8W5gf7vrtr7vXhEpb0yCKuAlaV1YQo_NLnd_s

Mister_Comics on October 22, 2017 at 10:46 am

Was there last night 10/21/2017. This drive-in is fine. A lot of people were there. Plenty of places to park. View of the screen is good. (Didn’t check out in the back sections). Sound is good. They have the old style speakers that you can attach to your car window. The bathroom was fine and clean. The people at the concession stand were very friendly. Food was good. Prices were reasonable. If your going there use a Groupon and save some money and get FREE small popcorn. Popcorn was good.
I don’t have any complaints about this drive-in. Only complaints I have are with the people coming in for the second feature while the first movie is playing, some of them drive in with their lights on.

Savage on October 23, 2016 at 3:20 pm

I’ve gone there many times as a kid in the 80s and 90s ! I really remember going there in the summer of 1989 to go see Batman and cars were backed up all the way to White Castle 2 miles down the road !..Also,seeing an odd double feature:Tango & Cash \Friday The 13th:part 7 a year or two later ..Like ALL drive ins that existed (still to this day)they always have VERY bad food , horrible restrooms ,arcade games that steal your quarters and employees that don’t care if you just spent $20 on rip off arcade games and food that will make you crap blood for the whole summer !.But,This place holds memories!

Broan on January 23, 2016 at 7:50 am The Cascade may be threatened in the future by property owners, over the objections of its operators.

Chris1982 on September 20, 2014 at 1:35 am

According to their website the drive-in has made the conversion to digital projection.

arayoflight771 on July 7, 2013 at 9:43 am

I went there the other night, drove all the way in front the city only to be threatened and ran after by the security guards! We were sitting many rows back and my boyfriend drives a kia soul (not that big of a car) but rude people sitting in chairs behind us stated they couldnt see AFTER THE FIRST MOVIE WAS ALREADY DONE! We explained to them I had a hard time seeing from far away and there are no other spots available anyways (the place was packed!). I then went to the bathroom during intermission where a security chased after and told me I was trespassing and that he was going to handcuff me! HE GRABBED MY ARM HARD AND I RAN FOR MY LIFE!!! I yelled at him “you cant touch me!” Thankfully my boyfriend was there to put a stop to him and told him to stay away from me, but he threatened to arrest my boyfriend also! We paid $9 per person to be there and they had no right to threaten me, chase me, OR PUT THEIR HANDS ON ME! I was so scared I called the police who came quickly and spoke to the guy. But I was so scared after that he was going to come after me we left the movie theater! WARNING TO PEOPLE WHO GO TO THIS DRIVE IN! DONT GO!

MPol on June 10, 2013 at 11:35 am

Well, if the smaller, independent, non-profit movie theatres convert to digital projection, it only makes sense that drive-ins, too will have to follow suit if their proprietors wish to keep them open and in business.

margo200 on December 10, 2012 at 12:53 am

When I worked there in the late 60’s to mid 70’s, we would fill the place when we played family movies like Disney. The Charuhaus' were talking then about converting to a twin, but the private sewer system in the back made it difficult. Plus the projection building is in located in row 4 of the 12 row theater.

CSWalczak on October 30, 2012 at 12:33 am

Another article about the options the Cascade is considering as it struggles to meet the digital challenge can be read here.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on September 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I’m surprise it has not been twined yet with a parking ramp that big? Can they fill it ever night? But, since it is the only drive-in left in the area…

jwmovies on September 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Correct address is 1100 East North Avenue.

rivest266 on June 24, 2012 at 11:26 am

August 3rd, 1961 grand opening ad uploaded in the photo section.

krebs on July 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm

MY wife and I went to the drive-in theater last nite (7/30)with our two dogs and had a very nice time. However,according to their web site the first feature was to start a 8 PM and the second feature was to start at 10:05 PM. The first feature did not start until after 9 PM. They should either put the correct information on their website or make announcements at the theater as to the correct starting times.

kencmcintyre on February 28, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Here is part of a September 1989 article from the Illinois Daily Herald:

Jeffrey Kohlberg is a drive-in movie nut. He began working at his father’s drive-in when he was eight years old â€" painting, cutting grass, working the concession stands, picking up golf balls at the driving range that was part of the old 53 Drive-In in Palatine. His dad, Stanford Kohlberg, at one time operated 50 theaters. Today, Kohlberg, 42, is back in the drive-in business after being out of it since 1987, when a Palatine drive-in .that he and his sister, Jarrol Cataldo, rented from their dad, was sold. The two own 53 Drive-In Management Inc., in Lincolnshire, which has operated the Des Plaines Theatre since 1985 and which this year took over operation of the Cascade Drive-In in West Chicago.
“The finest drive-in in the U.S.,” Kohlberg calls it, speaking admiringly of how well maintained it was by its previous operator. While it was built in the 1950s, it looks new, he said. “That place is like it’s been in a time capsule all these years,” he said.The previous owner, Spiro Charuhas, sold the drive-in to an investment group when he decided to retire, and Kohlberg was able to lease the theater until some other plan comes along for the land.