The old saying "Good things come to those who wait" sprang to life Friday for CdM locals who have been patiently waiting for the Port Theater to reopen. After many years of boarded up walls and empty seats, returned from the dead with a glow.
"Have you been inside yet?" one local excitedly asked as she left the theater Friday. "It is amazing, I love it!"
The revamped movie palace includes a glass front, a cafe that serves decadent pastries and specialty coffees, and an overall ambience that applies comfort and design like hot fudge to a sundae. And the cherry on top? Well, that's what the future holds, because as another old saying goes, "The best is yet to come".
The theater features spacious rows of leather round-back seats on the bottom floor. The balcony will serve a twofold purpose, providing additional seating and a bar where people can gather, mingle and enjoy the film while sipping their pinot grigio.
That's part of the future plan. A beer and wine license is in the works, as well as creative programming not offered anywhere in Orange County. The latter will also include children's movies.
"This community needed a center to gather," said owner Fariborz Maseeh. "It didn't have an entertainment center. I thought it could be good not only for the residents to walk to but also for people to meet, a place to assemble and enjoy the films."
The Port is already making friends with the community, opening its doors a day early on Thursday to sell discounted tickets to local residents.
Regular pricing is $15 for adults ($8 for matinees), $4 for seniors and children.
The single-screen theater shows three different movies daily. Currently playing: Bernie, which stars Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine, the documentary First Position and Safety Not Guaranteed.
"We are having a soft opening right now," said Maseeh. "We will have a grand opening for the community soon."
A lighted marquee will be installed in a few weeks. The owner also wants to restore the original projector and display it in the lobby with black-and-white photos that capture the history of the Port Theater.
Other coming attractions include an expanded menu that features gourmet candy and popcorn, healthy sandwiches, salads, gourmet coffee and organic fruits.
The theater is also available for private parties and corporate events.