Laurel Cinema Cafe

312 Main Street,
Laurel, MD 20707

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Neighborhood Theatres, Sidney B. Lust Theaters, Wineland Theatres

Architects: Harry A. Brandt, Drew Eberson, John Adolph Emil Eberson

Styles: Art Deco, Spanish Colonial

Previous Names: Laurel Theatre, Petrucci's Dinner Theatre

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News About This Theater

Petrucci's Dinner Theater

The Laurel Theatre opened October 16, 1929 with “Noah’s Ark”. It replaced the Red Wing Theatre which had been destroyed by fire in December 1928. It was built for Sydney B. Lust and designed in a Spanish style by architect Harry A. Brandt. Seating was provided in orchestra and balcony levels, and it was equipped with a Wurlitzer theatre organ. In 1933 it was taken over by the Wineland Theatres chain. In 1948, it underwent a remodeling by architects John Eberson & Drew Eberson in an Art Deco style. It was closed in 1976 under Neighborhood Theatres operating out of Richmond, VA.

In April 1976 it was purchased by the owners of the adjacent Pal Jack’s Pizza restaurant and it re-opened with “Jaws”. This was a short lived venture and on January 16, 1977 it was opened as Petrucci’s Restaurant. By May 1978 it was offering live entertainment with a meal and became Petrucci’s Dinner Theatre. This closed in July 1992.

It then operated as a comedy club under several different names and finally closed in 2010. The building has been bought by the city, with plans to demolish.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 25, 2008 at 3:58 am

An internet search comes up with two names for the former Laurel Theater address. ‘Thomas E’ and ‘The Jokes on Us’ comedy club. Looking at the photograph, I would say that the Laurel Cinema Cafe only occupies a former retail outlet and the main theatre is either some kind of bar, nightclub or comedy club.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 24, 2009 at 10:43 pm

The Laurel must have undergone a remodeling in 1948. The September 4 issue of Boxoffice said “The Laurel Theatre Corp. reopened its new Laurel in Laurel, Md., with ‘The Mating of Millie.’”

The April 26, 1976, Boxoffice said that Carlo Petrucci, owner of the Pal-Jack Restaurant adjacent to the Laurel Theatre had bought the house from Neighborhood Theatres. Petrucci planned to keep the theater operating.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 25, 2009 at 12:20 am

As the entrance was mostly bricked up by 1988, it seems likely that Mr. Petrucci was unable to succeed in the theater business and just expanded his restaurant into the former theater space.

312 Main Street is for sale on LoopNet, according to Google, but the site is down for maintenance at the moment so I can’t get the details.

gloriapetrucci on October 13, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Carlo Petrucci, a father of 9 and his wife Angie purchased Pal-Jack’s Pizza at 310 Main Street in Laurel, MD in 1970. Five years later in 1975, the historic Main Street movie theater owner placed a sign on the theater marquis “CLOSED FOREVER” ( according to a Laurel Maryland historic site, the movie theater initially opened in the 1920s ( Mr. Petrucci, his wife and their 9 children all worked at the two businesses in varying degrees for the next 17 years. In 1992 the dinner theater was closed ( and the building was sold as well as the pizza shop a few years later and the apartment building connected to the shop which was also owned by the family. Mr. and Mrs. Petrucci had both retired before the businesses were sold and their children had been running the businesses.

tmdtheue on October 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm

This theater/building is closed now. Some minor renovations had taken but given up on, the building is in a crazy state of disrepair. I had the chance to photograph this building, here is how the interior looks now:

Feel free to look through the rest of the set to see fourth how the theater is fairing with it’s neglect.

gloriapetrucci on December 12, 2011 at 8:13 pm

thanks for the pics-I’ll pass them along – pretty sad – last time I drove by that way there was a broken window – the people that bought the building last live in Florida and my guess is that they couldn’t get an alcohol license and gave up because I saw the sign on the door and then it was gone. There is a Petruccis Dinner Theater facebook page that is fun to read – lots of people that worked for my family in the 70s as actors or waiters or other reminiscing about their time there. It was like a great big family. It was a fun time while it lasted…but that building was always hard to take care of and required a lot of tlc :)

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