Popcorn is a staple of the American food scene, whether it’s at movie theaters, a sporting event, or just as a fun snack. Popcorn fans have a wealth of choices, thanks to The Popcorn Store in Oswego.
A “family-owned” business that pops their corn daily, The Popcorn Store is located in Gerry Centennial Plaza along Douglas Road, serving up about 60 varieties of sweet and savory popcorn in bags, tubs, tins and everything in between.
The store is richly, yet simply decorated with sturdy wood and large, clean displays. A container filled with suckers stands alongside a scale and bags for customers to use to gather up treats from large glass containers that hold candies and specialty chocolate-coated items like potato chips and marshmallows.
For those looking to order popcorn, there’s no shortage of ways to do it, with large tins or decorative containers. But the simplest way to get your popcorn is through the different-sized bags, ranging from mini to extra large. Prices for the bags range from about $3 to $29, but no matter the size, customers get plenty of popcorn.
All of the popcorn varieties featured a good crunch, yet were fluffier than what one would find in standard microwave bags. They were also cleaner, despite the different flavors – I didn’t have to wipe my hands every five seconds.
The extra butter reminded me of classic movie theater popcorn, but fresher, less greasy, and less salty.
A childhood favorite, extra cheese, was another high point. Each bite was a burst of cheesy goodness; sharp, smooth, and naturally salty, so there was no need for any more salt.
Completing the triumverate of popcorn flavors was caramel. The clinking sound indicated a hard caramel shell that gave a good sweet balance to the popcorn. The popcorn retained its fluffy texture and crunch despite the coating, which I counted as another high point.
The last two flavors I chose were wild cards. One of them, always a favorite, was white cheddar. The Popcorn Store’s offering was more mild than I’m used to, but I appreciated that. It didn’t taste artificial; in fact, the quality of the cheese was similar to the extra cheese: smooth, sharp and naturally salty.
Possibly my favorite was dill pickle. I’m a pretty big fan of pickles and this was delicious. It smelled like dill pickles, the flavor of dill pickles exploded in my mouth, and the quality of the seasoning was consistent with the others I had purchased: smooth, not too messy, but still present enough to leave a taste with every handful.
The Popcorn Store provides a unique service through its wide range of specialty popcorns and sweets. With 60-plus offerings, there more than enough possible combinations to keep popcorn lovers of all ages and types eating for a long time.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Record Newspapers. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. The Mystery Diner is not intended to be a restaurant critic but does highlight the parts of a dining experience that he/she can recommend.
IF YOU GO
What: The Popcorn Store
Where: 1690 Douglas Road, Oswego (in the Gerry Centennial Plaza)
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
Information: 630-554-4699 or www.thepopcornstores.com