Seattle’s Can Can Culinary Cabaret Has Purchased the Paris Theatre in Old Town-Chinatown

The dinner theater company plans to restore the building to its original 1890s glory.

Paris Theatre, the storied Old Town-Chinatown venue that shuttered in 2019, is about to get a new occupant that harks back to its origins.

Seattle’s Can Can Culinary Cabaret—a dinner theater located in Pike Place Market—is spinning off a second production house inside the building at Southwest 3rd Avenue and West Burnside Street.

“After three long years in the making, and SO MUCH patience among all parties, Can Can is thrilled to announce our soon to be second location,” the company stated on its Facebook page. “We are the proud new owners of the PARIS THEATRE in Portland, OR!”

The Paris is perhaps best known as an all-ages music club that tended to attract to a ragtag group of goths, punks and curious suburban kids in the ‘90s. It also gained notoriety during a more recent chapter as seedy porn theater, where exhibitionism was alive and well, before eventually transitioning back to live concerts. The space abruptly closed, however, more than two years ago.

The Paris actually first opened as a venue for burlesque in 1890, making it the oldest standing theater of its kind in the country, according to Can Can. For reference, the Moulin Rouge in actual Paris, France, rolled out its first chorus lines in 1889.

Can Can says renovations to the property are scheduled to begin soon and will be a “combined effort of private and community funding.” The goal is to restore the Paris back to its 1890s glitz.

The original Seattle performance hall has been in operation for more than 15 years. It closed its doors in 2020 due to the pandemic, but reopened last year in a new spot still inside the popular Pike Place Market.

A professional group of artists develop choreography, original music, costuming and scenic design for each new show. And audiences can watch those productions while enjoying a meal from the French-meets-Northwest-inspired menu, with ingredients sourced from neighboring farmers, butchers and fishmongers at the waterfront marketplace.

If the Portland outpost is anything similar to the flagship, we know we’re in for one heck of a dinner and a show.

Willamette Week's journalism is funded, in part, by our readers. Your help supports local, independent journalism that informs, educates, and engages our community. Become a WW supporter.