Movies have returned to Pikesville for the first time in 27 years with the Nov. 1 opening of the Pikes Cinema Bar and Grille.
Ira Miller, the owner and operator of the Rotunda Cinemas in Hampden, operates the new Pikesville theater
in the historic Art Deco building that also houses the Pikes Diner & Crab House
. The cinema consists of two, stadium-style theaters that seat about 75. The theater will show a mix of first-run films, art films and independent movies.
Pikes Diner Owner Wil Reich has spent about $200,000 to renovate the building at 921 Reisterstown Road. The project also received $50,000 from the Baltimore County Department of Planning.
Miller came up with the idea of turning the front of the diner into a movie theater, Reich says.
"I’d like to take credit but I can’t. Miller approached me with the idea."
Reich subdivided the approximately 7,000-square-foot, circa 1930s building. Reich is turning the front portion, about 3,000 square feet, into the theater space.The rear portion remains a restaurant but with a new menu that serves a combination of seafood, burgers and Mexican cuisine.
The Baltimore County Council approved a zoning change in April that will allow movies to return to the location. The building originally opened as a movie theater in 1934. It has gone through several changes since closing as a theater in 1986.
After an extensive renovation, it reopened as an Italian grocery store. It then became a kosher restaurant before Pikes Diner opened in the rear portion of the building. Pikes Diner last year changed its name
to Pikes Diner & Crab House. The restaurant has a separate entrance; the marque from the original movie theater remains atop the front of the building.
Reich says that because the last movie ends around 11 p.m., the future Cinema Bar and Grill will stay open later than the current Pikes Diner to accommodate patrons. Reich also owns Jilly’s Bar & Grill, located across the street from the Pikes Diner, and it too will adjust its hours, he says.
Source: Wil Reich, Cinema Bar and Grill
Writer: Barbara Pash