Lind: Greasy memories of the delicious, cheap popcorn stand downtown
In today's "Neighbors" column, Bob Lind's readers offer up more information about Nick the Greek's business that used to operate just south of the Fargo Theatre.
A while ago, a reader asked for information about the popcorn stand which used to operate just south of the Fargo Theatre. Once again, you folks came through.
Maurice “Muff” Brandt, Fargo, writes, “It was run by two brothers. I only know the name of one of them, Nick. We all called him Nick the Greek.
“I don’t know what he poured onto the popcorn; maybe it was butter, or something else; but it sure was good, and he used LOTS of it."
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“When I was on the Fargo Police Department,” Muff writes, “I was frequently partnered with my buddy, Jack Suda, in the downtown car on the day shift. We would often stop by to get a bag of popcorn from Nick.
“We always asked him to double bag it because of how greasy it was. He would gladly do that; but it didn’t matter, the grease still soaked through the bag and got on the front seat of the squad car; but back then, the seats were vinyl, so it wiped right off.
“We’d get a bag so big it was enough for the two of us for lunch for 75 cents.
“Before people got so fussy,” Muff says, “the theater let patrons bring Nick’s popcorn in instead of buying the stuff they made in the theater, and nearly everyone did that.”
Jackie Klinnert, Fargo, writes, “After Nick went back to Greece, he sold the popcorn stand to Bud Hansen. I worked at the stand in the ‘70s.”
Vicki Schmidt, West Fargo, writes, “There were three Boosalis brothers, and the one who had the stand was Nick.
“I was in Niata, Greece, several years ago and met the Boosalis family.
“Over coffee one morning in a local shop, a group of men heard we were from Fargo. That quickly moved to a conversation that included naming all of the Fargoans from Niata, including Nick, the popcorn guy.
“A good friend of my brother was Demos Ginakes. His dad owned the Hasty Tasty across from North Dakota State University on University Drive (now owned by Pete Sabo). Everyone in the (Niata) coffee shop knew Demos and his dad, and it seemed they were related to a big group in Fargo.”
Carl Eidbo, Fargo, writes that he also remembers Nick the Greek.
So does Ronnie Krueger, McClusky, N.D., who writes, “I bought lots of popcorn from him while attending NDSU, starting in the fall of 1959. Even then he was an elderly person, probably old enough for Social Security. I think he was still there when I graduated in 1963.
“Popcorn from him was way cheaper than the Fargo Theatre’s price. Less than half. And he didn’t charge extra for butter -- plenty of butter -- and big bags.
“His little stand was only 30 or 40 feet from the theater ticket booth; maybe closer. Lots of people bought popcorn from him and then walked over and bought a movie ticket, taking the popcorn into the theater. This must have really irritated the theater. But it was very obvious.
“However, there was one drawback,” Ronnie says. “Even though I have always used a lot of salt on everything, his popcorn had way too much salt. But I bought it anyway. I think a bag cost 20 cents or so, including butter.”
Now, Ronnie switches to his memories of the Fargo Theatre during his NDSU years.
“I and my buddies from McClusky, Gordon Froehlich, Douglas Wahl, Lonny Kemmit and Duane Essig, all of us attending NDSU, went to lots of movies at the Fargo on weekends over the four years. You could buy season tickets, which then only cost 50 cents per movie. (That’s what my memory tells me, at least, from 60 years ago).
“While watching a movie from the balcony one night, I happened to notice a Fargo police officer standing in front of the exit door to the right of the movie screen. Hmmm, why?
“I think there was another officer stationed at the exit to the left of the screen, too.
“Then the movie stopped, the lights came on and we were all told to leave the theater, not saying why.
“As usual, there was a big crowd at the movie.
“We all stood around outside the theater until we were told we could go back in.
“Turns out it was a bomb scare. It was the first bomb scare I had ever in my life heard of, much less been in. That was VERY unusual in those days, the ‘50s and early ‘60s.
“I don’t think they ever found who called it in.
“It was many years before I heard of another bomb scare anywhere, much less in North Dakota.”
Seeking an ad
Now, on another matter, Darcy Herman, Jamestown, N.D., writes “Neighbors” that “I’m looking for an ad from Alan’s Autohaus, the Volkswagen dealership in Fargo, maybe in the ‘60s and early ‘70s.
“I’m looking for a picture of the front of the dealership building.
“I can’t find anything online. Maybe one of your faithful readers has something?”
Do you, faithful readers?
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email email@example.com.