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Column: Star attraction in downtown Sterling

New developments on East Lincolnway are good news, but nothing is quite like seeing an old building downtown renovated for a new business – especially a movie theater. The downtown is the heart of any city, giving a town its character. 

I love to go to movie theaters, so it was only a matter of time before I visited the Sterling Theater at 402 Locust St.

I saw “Runner Runner,” a movie about the gambling world starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

The theater opened in late August after being renovated by Decatur businessman Skip Huston. It had been closed for years, so Huston brought back to life a vacant building.

What makes this theater different from most others is that it is a brew-and-view. Wine and beer are sold. So are more hot foods than at most theaters.

I ordered a mini-pizza. I expected to wait there to get it. But the cashier told me that they would deliver it to me in the theater. 

I walked into the theater to find a cabaret-style seating area with tables. Some time later, an employee walked into the darkened theater to deliver my pizza. 

I sat at a counter overlooking the seating area.

After the movie ended, an employee asked whether people exiting the theater liked the film. I did.

Most theaters don’t ask their customers about the movie they just watched. It was a nice touch that Sterling Theater did.

Movie-goers are obviously looking for a night of entertainment. So downtown restaurants and nightclubs are likely to benefit with this influx of people.

For Sterling’s sake, let’s hope this business succeeds. 

David Giuliani writes for Sauk Valley Media. You can reach him at dgiuliani@saukvalley or 800-798-4085, ext. 525. 

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