Cascade Drive-In

1100 E. North Avenue,
West Chicago, IL 60185

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Cascade Drive-In

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The Cascade Outdoor Theatre opened in 1961, and is one of the only remaining drive-in theaters in the Chicagoland area in operation. It is also the largest in Illinois with parking for over 1,275 cars. It was opened by the Kohlberg Theatres chain, and in 1989, the son of the founder of that chain purchased the Cascade Drive-In and owns and runs it today.

The Cascade Drive-In screens double-features, and is open from April to October, seven nights a week.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

kencmcintyre on March 1, 2009 at 5:33 am

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.

krebs on August 1, 2011 at 5:46 am

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.

rivest266 on June 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm

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

jwmovies on September 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Correct address is 1100 East North Avenue.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on September 18, 2012 at 9:07 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…

CSWalczak on October 30, 2012 at 7:33 am

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

margo200 on December 10, 2012 at 8:53 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.

MPol on June 10, 2013 at 7:35 pm

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.

arayoflight771 on July 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm

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!

Chris1982 on September 20, 2014 at 9:35 am

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

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