More than three years ago, Josh Frank packed up his life in Austin, Texas, and moved east. In October 2013, he opened the Blue Starlite Drive-In theater in Wynwood and then, in May 2014, relocated to the back lot of the old Coconut Grove Playhouse.
Now Frank is making yet another move, this time on Old Cutler Road. Just across from the Deering Estate at Cutler will be the fourth spot for the Texan and his drive-in (he operates a pop-up on Virginia Key Beach a few months of the year).
Frank says relocating is a way to succeed in Miami-Dade's ever-changing environment. “We thought it might be interesting to move around, and it has been really cool being able to bring the Blue to different communities... We want to be an institution that brings the idea of cool, retro movie-viewing to many communities, scenes, types of people, and places in South Florida.”
The spot on Old Cutler Road will not be the permanent home of the Blue, but Frank assures New Times that it will stay for at least a year and that he will continue to operate the pop-up on Virginia Key Beach.
One key difference between the new location and the drive-in’s previous incarnations is space — there’s more of it, enough to accommodate 45 cars and a picnic area. “It’s much larger, and there will be more food options,” Frank says. “There will also be more local businesses within walking distance — just down the street there’s a coffee shop, a pizza place, and a convenience store.” He will also bring back window speakers for guests.
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“We imagine our patrons coming early, parking for the movie, walking over to Deering Estate, and watching the sun set on the bay," Frank romanticizes, "then grabbing a pizza at our neighboring establishment and settling into their cars to watch a great classic pop-culture film.”
The most appealing aspect of this new location for Frank is that it’s all his. In the past three years, every lot from which the Blue Starlite operated was essentially shared with another business. “[The new location on Old Cutler Road] is peaceful, and best of all, it’s ours.”
The Blue Starlite Urban Drive-In
Opens on Old Cutler Road Friday, February 5, with a screening of Grease (1978), followed by a Valentine’s screening of The Princess Bride (1987) February 13. Concluding the soft launch will be Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) February 19. Located at 7290 SW 168th St., Palmetto Bay. Limited spaces available. Visit miamiurbandrivein.com.