North Springs Cinema Grill

7270 Roswell Road NE,
Atlanta, GA 30328

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cinema Grill Systems Circuit of Georgia, Eastern Federal Corporation

Functions: Nightclub

Previous Names: North Springs Theatre, North Springs Cinema 'N' Drafthouse

Nearby Theaters

North Springs Cinema Grill

Opened on December 25, 1968 with Clint Eastwood in “Coogan’s Bluff”. The North Springs Theatre was initially single screen cinema and part of the Eastern Federal circuit. The theatre had a steep slope insuring an unobtrusive view of the screen. The theatre was twined in the 1970’s and became a cinema and drafthouse in 1991 and a Cinema Grill in 1993. It closed on September 30, 2000. It was used as a nightclub which closed and the building and shopping center were demolished in 2022.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

raymondstewart on April 27, 2006 at 6:06 pm

In the late 70’s Eastern Federal was in a bad position in the Atlanta market. They had a few “big” houses that were in bad locations or just were not drawing. The public was more interested in going to a nice new twin and not a big, old barn. The Cherokee was closed and gutted, the lease on Toco Hills was sold back to the shopping center, the Miracle was still a good draw because of limited competition in Smyrna and the Belvedere was in a similar position. The Baronet/Coronet became a place for the less fortunate who could hustle up a buck to go to sleep. North Springs was closed, then sub-leased out to a couple of independent operators. At that point, as hard as it is to believe now, North Springs was too far “out” for an Atlanta/Sandy Springs crowd and too far “in” to draw from Roswell.

Eastern Federal was a big believer in ground leases, so they didn’t have any great expenses in closing the theaters and if they could find someone else to pay the utilities, it was a plus for them. At that point both Georgia Theater and Storey had plenty of similar properties, so they were not interested. Septum was only doing twins, and really only interested in old Jerry Lewis ones at that time. Martin had an agreement with GTC that they would operate the old drive-ins and the Rialto only, and GCC & AMC wouldn’t even consider EFC’s rag-tag bunch. Weis was dead, having run themselves into the ground. That left EFC with two choices, run them or close them.

After the independent operators made a few bucks at North Springs, Eastern Federal wanted it back. The area was beginning to build up between Atlanta/Sandy Springs and Roswell. I can’t say 100% who twinned North Springs. The story goes that the gold curtains in the #1 left house came from the closed Cherokee. I can’t say for sure and Stan Malone may be able to verify if the Cherokee was gold inside…anyway, Eastern Federal at that point wasn’t known for it’s employees longevity, so there were always a number of rumors as to what came from where and who did it. They were also never known for being big spenders, so they used what they could, where they could.

In the twinning the center section of seats was removed, the wall was built down the center and the seats reset. The #2 right house had the original blue curtains that matched the seat frames. The screens were moved back towards the booth about 10 feet and the area behind the screen was used for storage. The screens were equipped with up and down masking adjusted by a chain. The booth had a pair of Century SA projectors and matching optical soundheads. #1 had an older homemade tower for 6000 foot reels and a Xenon lamphouse, a new Altec amplifier and speaker. #2 had a newer homemade tower (William Sherrer was the tech guy at that point that built it) that was mounted on casters and could be rolled left and right to handle 6000 foot reels for double features. Another Xenon lamphouse sat on an ancient base. The amplifier was an unknown brand, I never could find a makers plate on it anywhere, and the speaker was an Altec with a CINERAMA logo on it, allegedly from the Georgia CINERAMA. A homemade automation system was built for each theater that could cue the lights up and down and open and close the curtain.

In the end there were two odd theaters with one aisle along the outside wall and another 5/8th’s of the way across. The good news is the side seats, which were not as often occupied as a single, became the prime seats and there were plenty extras left over from the removed rows to do a pretty good job seating the auditoriums. In the end there were 336 seats in one, 331 in the other. The screens were good sized, and given a good print the presentation was pretty good for a dollar house.

Around 1980 a single 5 tier platter was installed (brand escapes me), making it impossible to get to projector #1 if #2 was threaded and running. As Mr. Malone has stated, the booth was tiny!

In about 1983 Eastern Federal turned all their locations over to a guy named Chappelle, an employee of theirs at the time, who renamed the chain Chappelle Cinemas. This was the end for most of the Eastern Federal properties, as they all closed within months.

The Miracle was twinned after the North Springs, followed by the Belvedere, all in similar fashion.

My one lasting memory of my time at the North Springs was the day that the city manager at that time, Bob Denham came in along with Ira Meiselman, company president, who was in town checking things over. It was about noon and I was there building a print when they arrived. I had never met Mr. Meiselman, but we hit it off. There was a suggestion of lunch and he bemoaned Denham’s usual choice of fried chicken; at that point I suggested that I knew a place to go that he’d enjoy, Harry Baron’s at Phipps. From that point on I was his best friend, he said I was the only one in the Atlanta office who knew how to eat!

Working for Eastern Federal could be fun. If the money made it into the bank, nobody called the office to complain and the per-cap was up, they would leave you alone. As with all the theaters of the time there were a number of managers and employees who drifted through, often leaving behind a funny story or two.

While Parkaire was still a 1st run, we often got the movie as soon as they were finished and I enjoyed a nice relationship with the manager there who would just take the print off his platter and put it on my reel, saving me a number of build-ups. We also would swap CO2 tanks and such if somebody needed something. At that point both Parkaire and North Springs were rather isolated from other locations for each chain and were of little competition with each other for viewers $. I doubt that you’d ever find an ounce of cooperation like that between an AMC and a Regal location today.

While I’m no longer in the Atlanta area, I miss the old theaters. EFC put “For Rent” signs on the Miracle, but also welded the exit doors shut at the same time, so they never had any real intentions of leasing it. The Belvedere turned to porn and the North Springs to the Cinema and Drafthouse mode for a time. The Ben Hill and Cobb Cinema became churches and the Baronet/Coronet resides, like so many Atlanta theaters, in a landfill somewhere. The Town & Country went through a number of independent operators and was gutted at the end of the ground lease, only later to be redone by Lefont and gutted again. Virtually nothing remains of the old GTC, Weis or Storey chains, thank god we have Cinema Treasures to remind us of the old days!

franklinsweeney on February 12, 2008 at 6:34 pm

The North Springs was the very first theatre I worked. I began in late 1979……it seems so long ago. I had just moved to Atlanta and lived across the street. I needed to find a part time job to help pay the bills.

Eastern Federal owned the place and when I was first employed they had those god awful towers. Some time around 1980 or 81 they got a 5 tier platter system.

The office was on the ground floor and one could open the door and see the front door and concession stand. I’ll never forget the day when a new district manager walked in and found me eating in the office with the concession/doorperson. I was shocked. Most of the time I worked with EFC, Mr. Denham was the District Manager. He liked me a lot and got me out of at least one bad ‘checker reports.’

Of course, I helped him out with many bad managers that came and went during the time I was there. I wanted to name one here….but maybe I should not…..he was one of the most dumbest persons I have ever met. We had problems with our safe and put petty cash in a bag…….with extra change…..quaters, dimes ect…..

On one night this stupid person took this bag and dropped it in the bank night drop!!! The bank, being tired of other past problems, ran it as a deposit……( it was funny….at least to me) During this time I took a few weeks off and Mr. Denham called me at home to beg me to come back to get the place back in order until he could find a manager. (I had a full time job) I returned and the ROSE was playing. The staff told me that the movie had broken several times and that it was so bad that the customers would complain about it.

I then walked in to watch a bit of it. The end of the movie was near and Bete Midler was singing. All of a sudden you could see her singing but up-side-down. I laughed all that night.

Boy, I could tell you more stories……it was a fun theatre to run…….The A&P had a store in the same center…..I remember a Senior Dental student who had worked there 9 years and was telling me that he planned to open a Dental Office in Duluth GA.

I didn’t know there THAT was…….but, of course, I do now….he is probably rich now!!!

rivest266 on October 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Trouble during the James Duffy management era:

StanMalone on October 7, 2015 at 6:06 am

An August 2011 article in the Knoxville News Sentinel has this paragraph about the North Springs:

North Springs Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse — Atlanta

One of the few Drafthouses the Duffys operated, the North Springs Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse, opened in June 1991, just six months after McDonald’s purchased the property where the Duffys' prior Atlanta Drafthouse had been, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Less than seven months later, three construction supply companies sued for unpaid bills. Three judgments totaling $7,292.51 were ordered, one of which was paid off two years later.

In late 1996, U.S. Internal Revenue Service agents raided the theater, seeking $48,490.95 in unpaid payroll and corporate income taxes and late fees.

The theater had re-opened by March 1997, according to a Journal-Constitution report. The landlord filed an eviction suit for unpaid rent in September 2000, and the theater closed shortly after.

This is the link for the entire article:

A Google search of James Duffy turns up many pages, mostly filled with court actions.

galateasca on September 25, 2016 at 10:23 am

Used to get into that one free a lot because of a boy who worked there. It was always a dark theater, not well appointed. One memory was going to see Caveman there with a bunch of friends in the 80’s. I also remember walking over there to see a film during an ice storm in 1986- school was closed but the theater was open.

rivest266 on April 7, 2018 at 12:12 pm

This opened on December 25th, 1968. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

rivest266 on April 15, 2018 at 9:40 am

This became a Cinema ‘n’ Drafthouse in 1991 and a Cinema Grill in 1993. More to come.

BruceD on June 27, 2019 at 5:27 pm

Went here in the 90’s when it was a Cinema Drafthouse. Got a pitcher of beer and potato skins at the midnight second run of “Pulp Fiction.” Good times, not a bad joint for a broke college student in that era.

dallasmovietheaters on December 4, 2021 at 4:32 am

Became the North Springs Cinema Grill operated by Cinema Grill Systems Circuit of Georgia in October of 1993 closing on September 30, 2000. It was auctioned off in a bank foreclosure auction October 17, 2000 including the projection and sound equipment.

NedHast on January 4, 2023 at 8:02 pm

This theater, along with the shopping center it anchored, was demolished in 2022.

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