VALPARAISO | The next time people watch a movie at the new Central Park Plaza amphitheater, they might be able to pick up some popcorn or other sweet treats to eat during the show.
Kernels and Kones could be open by early spring at 56 Indiana Ave. across the street from the Valparaiso park. Plans for the business were presented to the city's Site Review Committee on Monday by architect Brent Wagner, who owns the building.
The business owners are Jeff and Diane Butterfield along with Eric and Dena Hein. Jeff Butterfield said he and his brother, Larry, have owned a Kilwin's ice cream and chocolate shop in Florida for 25 years, selling caramel corn and chocolate-dipped items ranging from pretzels to cookies and Twinkies.
The Kernels and Kones shop will offer 15 to 20 different flavored popcorns, including cheddar, salt and vinegar and caramel. They also will offer soft ice cream flavors with plenty of toppings in waffle cones they plan to make at the shop.
"I noticed how nice the park turned out and all the people that go there," Butterfield said. "With all the activities at the park, we could get a lot of people coming to the events or who are out walking downtown after dinner like we have at the Florida shop. We want to make a fun, bright place for people to get a waffle cone and some popcorn."
The business will be walk-in and pick up with no seating, but Butterfield said they might have chairs or benches outside. Some of the popcorn will be bagged ahead of time, but much will be made fresh daily so people can add their own flavors on the spot.
"We want to bring a quality caramel and other flavored corn like you'd get in Chicago," he said.
If the city adds an ice skating rink to the park in the winter, the shop might add hot chocolate to its regular menu of sweet treats. The goal is to be ready to open in March, well ahead of the summer movie season at the park.