The Crest Theater of downtown Los Banos has long been an informal historical landmark, providing a link to the city’s past. The theater is now back as a new business–with more life than ever.

JAMS@209 Sports Bar and Grill, a local chain, has turned the old theater into a gathering place for sports fans, friends and families to enjoy. The local chain first opened in Turlock 10 years ago, with another location opening in Atwater just five years later and now a location in Los Banos, which opened July 8.

The Los Banos location has been in the works for the past four years, working with the Los Banos Downtown Association, the Milliken Museum, construction crews and the Los Banos locals to open this summer.

Walking through the restaurant, customers will find themselves immersed in the past with walls adorned with old photographs from the local Milliken Museum’s archives. The photos capture past Los Banos parades, local high school athletes and the Crest Theater from when it first opened in 1949.

Additional photographs of famous athletes are hung between televisions throughout the restaurant, highlighting sports legends and history. Beyond the restaurant is a spacious auditorium where movies were once shown which is now the “Crest Event Center.”

The event center aims to partner with local businesses and local outside caterers. In addition to events, the venue plans to host local talent with live performances.

The establishment honored Los Banos’ history by revamping the theater’s historical architecture. Alex Sousa, vice president of operations of the Crest Event Center, said, “There is so much history in this entire building, and no one wants to see a beautiful landmark torn down.”

The opening of JAMS and the Crest Event Center may inspire other businesses to come to downtown Los Banos as part of the Downtown Association’s vision to bring more life to the area. The JAMS owners see great potential in Los Banos as a growing city and are excited to expand their business in such a wonderful community.

“Some locals have told us that they remember coming here as a kid to see movies,” Sousa said. “The community engagement is really exciting, and we’re glad we can open the place for people to enjoy again as a restaurant.”

The JAMS atmosphere, Sousa added, is designed to be warm and welcoming, and the business emphasizes its family-friendly environment that compliments its slogan: “Food, family, friends, fun.”

Rhianna Irao