Dunellen Theater and Cinema Cafe
458 North Avenue (Route 28),
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Motion pictures were first exhibited in Donellen in 1911. Throughout that decade, numerous unsuccessful attempts were made to operate a theater in the Middlesex County locale. Finally, in 1921, construction began on a $14,000, 500-seat movie theater.
Hosford’s Theater opened on North Avenue in May 1922, featuring both vaudeville acts and motion pictures. After several run-ins with local law enforcement due to management’s occasional attempts to violate “Blue Laws” by exhibiting films on Sundays, the theater was sold to the owner of the Brook Theater in nearby Bound Brook. By 1932, after a brief time as “Dunellen’s Cameo Theater”, the facility had become know as the Dunellen Theater.
Having continued to exhibit movies for most of its 80+ years, the theater is currently know as the Dunellen Theater and Cinema Cafe and features live acts in addition to first-run, commercial motion pictures. The current owner, who is also the proprietor of neighboring Zupko’s Tavern, removed alternating rows of seating (reducing the seat count to about 350) in order to accommodate tables and now operates what may be the only exhibition venue in NJ which allows patrons to enjoy full meals in their seats while watching a show. The single-screen theater books children’s birthday parties in the balcony and offers numerous admission and “package” discounts.
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