Betty Frichett and the Kiwanis Club of Forest are ready to take the new Kineto Theatre kitchen for a test run.
Work continues on the final stages of a $1.4-million renovation of the historic downtown movie house in Forest, but the new modern kitchen in the building’s basement is complete so the service club is holding a fundraising Curbside Pickup Strawberry Dinner on Friday, June 18.
“We love it but we’ve never used it for a full meal,” said Frichett, a member of the service club that owns and operates the Kineto. “We have tested it out baking angel food cakes.”
The menu for the fundraiser is chicken breast, baked potato, coleslaw, pasta salad, cake, strawberries and whipped cream. The price is $25 and meals can be reserved by phoning 519-466-2287.
Pickup time is 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on June 18 at the front door of the theatre at 24 King St., W.
As of Friday morning, only 100 of the 300 dinners were still available to be reserved and Fitchett was expecting to sell out.
The Kineto dates back to 1917 and has been owned and operated by the Kiwanis Club since 1977.
The club was well into fundraising and planning for the $1.4-million renovation and expansion of the building when the pandemic began. The theatre had to close to the public, but the renovations went ahead with an expansion of the lobby into a former flower shop next door and improvements to washrooms and the kitchen and meeting space in the basement.
The contractor completed the interior work in March, and club members have been cleaning, painting and completing other finishing touches.
Still to be done is a final phase that includes a new marquee and other exterior work.
“We’ve done the best we can with the space we have,” Fitchett said about the kitchen.
“It is state-of-the-art” and an improvement over what it replaced.
“I called it a hole in the wall,” Fitchett said.
The new kitchen has under-counter and commercial dishwashers, a six-burner range, a freezer, a large cooler-fridge, a large stainless steel moveable work table, stainless steel countertop and hand-washing stations.
“I think it is very well set up,” said Fitchett, adding she’s eager to prepare a full meal in the kitchen and feed a crowd in the nearby community room “to see the flow and functionality of it.”
Fitchett said she “inherited” the job of looking after dinners for the club shortly after joining seven or eight years ago.
“They will love it,” Fitchett said about the reaction she expects when the public is allowed in to see the renovated building.
The community room holds 65 people and a “party room” that holds 35 people has been added to the main level. Those spaces, as well as the kitchen and the theatre, will be available for community rentals, Fitchett said.
“I know that people who used to come to the theatre can hardly wait to get in,” she said.
The service club is planning tours for sponsors and the public, when restrictions allow.
It’s also working to raise the final $400,000 needed for the project. It’s waiting to hear the fate of a federal grant application, but has also arranged a loan to be able to complete the renovations.
Donations can be made online at www.kineto.ca/donate.htm.