Burien Theater

630 S.W. 153rd Street,
Burien, WA 98166

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Functions: Restaurant

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Late 1960's poster for the rock band City Zu at the Burien. Courtesy of the City Zu Facebook page.

The Burien Theater, in the suburb of Burien, Washington, south of Seattle, was a modest, unremarkable building with a glassy lobby facade comparable to a branch savings bank. The theater opened in 1957 and closed in the early 1970s about the time that the much larger and chain-affiliated (Sterling Recreation Organization) Lewis & Clark Theater, a few miles east of Burien, converted from a single screen to a multiplex.

The Burien was popular with youngsters for its Saturday triple features of low-budget monster movies. It also played a number of Jerry Lewis double features and American International Pictures such as the Beach Party series. The last bill I saw there was "Billy Jack" playing with "Celebration at Big Sur."

The theater building reopened from 1975 to 1979 as "Big Bob’s Pipe Dream," a theme restaurant showcasing a 1918 Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ previously installed at the Coliseum Theater in Seattle.

The former Burien Theater building is now a family restaurant called Bison Creek Pizza.

Contributed by John Dodd

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

kencmcintyre on July 6, 2007 at 4:49 pm

Here is the PSTOS page regarding the Burien:

mcmanussj on January 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm

There was a burien theater when my famley moved to burien in about 1955. It was in an old wooden building that was a church at one time. I think I saw Old yeller there. We were all excited about the plans for the new building that was built about a year later. During my younger years me and my brothers had a great time going to there to see Disney films Annett beach movies, and Elvis movies. I remember Bob Anderson was the owner.

mcmanussj on January 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm

There was also the Hi-Line theater on 1st Ave south. It was just a big quansit hut with a really plain lobby. It had a pond with a fish that looked like trout in it. We were just there for the movie anyway.

DavidZornig on April 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Just added a late `60’s poster for rock band City Zu performance at the Burien Theater. Courtesy of the City Zu Facebook page. So the Burien also featured live music back then. The band’s website has old articles and photos from the era.


mcmanussj on May 31, 2014 at 2:16 pm

What happened to the other photo?

David_Schneider on January 10, 2016 at 3:24 pm

While visiting Burien in October of 2015, I walked by this location after seeing it listed on Cinema Treasures. I glanced inside the restaurant and at the outside wall and imagined from the size and shape that it had been a cinema.

My favorite thing was the rectangular Bison Creek Pizza sign out front which I assume may have been the theater’s marquee. It had round white light bulbs around the perimeter. As they flashed I could hear what sounded like old fashioned circuits clicking on and off or open and closed, like the sockets/technology may have been original to the time of the theater.

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