I remember the old, beautiful Belle Meade theater. I’ve seen several movies there and long ago, I watched “The Empire Strikes Back” from the balcony seats. These kinds of ornate theaters have all fallen victim to wrecking balls, condos and the multi-plex down the street.
Most of the old theaters have lost their signs and their buildings and architecture. But NOT the old Belle Meade.
When the grand theater first closed in the late 1980’s–it sat empty for a while. It was later turned into a Bookstar and they even kept a mock of the actual sized movie screen where it was originally at.
After Bookstar closed the building was purchased by the Harris Teeter grocery chain and if you haven’t seen the store, you should. The main level is all of the standard fare (frozen, dairy, meat and the grocery stuff) while the old balcony has become the pharmacy, HBA, baby stuff, paper goods, books and magazines and a little sitting section.
I was sitting at one of their tables in the balcony area and gazed out at where the screen was, which now you see the Delicatessen and Bakery and I imagined “The Empire Strikes Back”
The balcony is still there, but nothing is the same inside……EXCEPT they left the marquee and the original lobby intact and empty. You can peek in the window and still see the grand staircase that winds up until it hits the wall that is now Harris Teeter. At LEAST they kept the sign.