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Jax's Crown Town Grill bringing "indoor drive-in" theater to Crown Point
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Jax's Crown Town Grill bringing "indoor drive-in" theater to Crown Point

CROWN POINT — Jax's Crown Town Grill is building out an "indoor drive-in movie theater" called Jax's Drive-In to give diners more vintage 1950s ambiance while they eat.

Jerome Kucharski and Katie Kucharski, who owned Pierogi Square in a strip mall by Fat Burrito, took over the nostalgic 1950s-style diner just north of the Old Courthouse Square at 107 N. Main St. earlier this year. They blended Polish fare with the traditional menu of Vienna beef hot dogs, burgers, gyros and ice cream, and have been adding more chef-drive cuisine, such as seasonal Oktoberfest items.

They are working on an addition in the back room that would further enhance the old school vibe of the vintage eatery with a counter, jukebox, checkered floor and many throwback tin signs.

"So we're going to be expanding," Jerome Kucharski said. "We're going to be putting in an indoor drive-in movie theater in the back room. It's going to be super-cool. It's going to be a dine-in experience."

Jax's Crown Town Grill is installing a projector and a 100- to 120-inch screen to show movies while people eat.

"We're going to have theme nights," Kucharski said. "It's going to be available for rent. There will be beer and wine to drink for adults. It will be great for date nights, great for families, for family movie nights. And it's going to be versatile. We'll have a little stage back there so we can do open mics. It's going to be painted to look like outdoors."

The goal is to have the indoor drive-in movie theater open in a month or two. It will show seasonal films, such as family friendly Halloween- and Valentine's Day-themed movies. It may even offer midnight screenings of the cult classic "Rocky Horror Picture Show."

"They need to bring that back," Kucharski said. 

The normal dining capacity in Jax's Drive-In would be around 96 people, but it likely would only seat about 30 people during the coronavirus pandemic, he said. 

Kucharski said it would be similar to Disney World's Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Customers can pop in and out, and don't have to buy a ticket. The screen often would be showing clips from classic films.

"It's something more in the background than diners watching the entire movie," he said. "But then we will have theme nights where they'll want to sit down and pay more attention. It's going to be like a themed restaurant. Drive-in movie theaters were huge in the 1950s and 1960s. We love drive-in movie theaters. People can enjoy dinner and have the ambiance of a move screen."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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Downtown Crown Point has emerged as one of the Region's trendiest dining spots, where classics like Lucrezia Italian Ristorante and Prime Steakhouse have been joined by newer, varied and often upscale entries like Provecho Latin Provisions, Square Roots, and Battista's Artisan Pizzeria. Recent additions have included outposts of Valparaiso's Ricochet Tacos and Munster's True BBQ.

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