The turn of the 20th century in Cheyenne, Wyoming brought with it the exciting new Paramount Theatre (built in 1904). As I drove by it, curiously looking to see what was playing in this historic theater, I read, “Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice.” Then I spotted Paramount Cafe in the window! A theatre turned into a coffee shop?! I had to stop and check it out.
I parked the van and headed inside past the ticket booth towards the cafe. The chalkboard sign in the booth now contained a movie quote rather than showtimes and ticket prices. It read “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller”. I love signs and plaques like this. They provide wonderful little check-in’s to appreciate the journey of life, especially during all of my travels. There were tons of people working at tables, conversing with friends, and enjoying themselves. I couldn’t get over how amazing and well-preserved this place looked.
My favorite piece of history that I noticed right away were the floor tiles; the craftsmanship was exquisite. Next, there were hardwood floors in the back of the main hallway that looked to be original. I turned right and headed into the coffee shop area only to be blown away by the ceiling tiles, antique lighting, and the coffee counter that looks to be the original snack bar that they may have used. I loved all the historic details the cafe had maintained. Although the old-time photos on the wall staring back at me gave me the heebie-jeebies.
I made my way up to the counter and kindly introduced myself to Katie, Chris, and Cullen. I told them all about my travels and they were excited for me to experience this place and everything it has to offer. The second they told me that it was built in 1904, I had to ask if it was haunted. Chris told me he had once heard his name being called while he was working, yet no one was around. Eerie. This theatre started out as a live play theatre in 1904 and was badly damaged in a fire in late 1915. In 1931 it was rebuilt and renamed the Paramount Theatre as it stands today. Then in 1980, another bad fire destroyed the auditorium. All that survived was the cafe and ballroom. Fun fact, the Paramount marquee outside is original to 1931, and the coffee shop loves to put fun coffee themed messages on it.
The owners, Renee and Jon Jelinek, bought the property in 2013. They converted the upstairs to a co-working space and The Paramount Ballroom next door was converted into a gorgeous cocktail lounge. The majestic building on the opposite side of the Cafe has been turned into 40 beautifully renovated office spaces that overlook the town. These people are do-ers, and they do an excellent job! I know the community must be grateful to have them.
Katie wanted me to know just how much the owners strive to help the community and that this is much more than a simple coffee shop. They offer WIFI for customers to sit, relax, and work if they’d like. They also love supporting music and the arts; pretty fitting that they established this cafe inside of a theatre! The first Friday of every month they have Open Mic Night and this allows different artists in the area to showcase their talent. All of the art seen throughout the hallways and cafe was produced by local artists. It was nice to see the owners’ passion for community engagement. When I was there, the artwork on display was created by Alisha Isaacson and her work was phenomenal. I’ll attach some photos below. Don’t forget to check out the cup art on display, all sorts of artists put their unique spin on it.
The coffee was not to be taken lightly. I ordered a drip coffee and it was absolutely delicious, it didn’t need anything added to it. Their coffee is roasted by Jackie’s Java in Ft. Collins, Colorado. I sipped coffee while I met and pet Crypto – the Super Dog! He was such a good boy. The two most popular drinks when I was there were the M.O. 35 and the Butter Beer. The M.O. 35 is a chai latte with caramel and espresso added. The Butter Beer is an Irish cream and butter rum latte; next time I visit I plan to try it.
There are quite a few food options at Paramount Cafe. Some of the options are scones, muffins, yogurt, and gourmet breakfast burritos. The yogurt parfait consists of homemade gluten-free granola and berries. If you’re looking for even more variety, you can always head over to their ballroom for a fun menu of tasty bites and desserts. A few things I would order would be the Brussel sprouts, fingerling potatoes, or the house made hummus. Yum!
There is a patio outback that used to be the auditorium believe it or not. Now it has chairs and tables to enjoy your coffee and relax. Different graffiti artists have decorated the brick walls and it looks so cool! The baristas told me that if you walk out past the patio you can look back and see what used to be the balcony area of the auditorium. Be sure to check it out.
Have you ever had a bad day and forgotten your wallet and someone spotted you? Have you ever wanted to return the favor and “Pay it Forward” later? Well, now you can, Paramount Cafe offers customers to buy a drink and write who it is for. All you have to do is tack it up on the board. While I was there, there was a free coffee pass for an active or retired first responder. I loved this idea and would love to see more coffee shops offer something similar. Spread the good, or as they wrote on the board, “Let the warm fuzzies commence.”
This was different and very old I’m assuming. Luckily they have updated the plumbing over the years with a newer toilet. There looked to be antique tiles on the walls, original floors, and nice decor. Fully stocked and cleaned, I am going to rank this theatre bathroom a 9/10.