At just under 5 feet, this tall, circus-style popcorn cart will be the hit of every party. This full-sized cart pops up to 1.5 gallons of movie-house quality popcorn per batch. Despite its old-fashioned, street-corner look, the Circus Cart Popcorn Maker is designed for use in your home so you can prepare hot, fresh popcorn anytime. It features a large, stainless steel kettle with a built in stirring system and kernel catcher to keep out the unpopped kernels. There is a compartment in the base of the unit for storage of supplies to help keep your cart well stocked and looking tidy. This popcorn cart offers an easy-to-clean design and is approved for commercial use.
Circus-style popcorn cart pops up to 1-1/2 gallons at a time
Large 4-ounce stainless-steel kettle with built-in stirring system
Storage compartment in the base; easy-to-clean design
Measures 21 by 16-1/2 by 53 inches; 90-day warranty
Average Customer Rating:
based on 64 reviews
Average Customer Review:
( 64 customer reviews )
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
121 of 128 found the following review helpful:
Nostalgia Popcorn Maker: Tasty Popcorn in MinutesDec 28, 2008
By NewsView Most popcorn makers of the 4 oz. kettle size and up are much more expensive than this model manufactured for the Helman Group (aka Nostalgia Electrics). Consequently, I would say that it is a good value ---- but that's not to say it doesn't have its flaws. Unlike many of its more expensive competitors, this model carries a commercial rating, but that doesn't translate into a bulletproof appliance that your kids can knock around without denting or damaging it (or worse, burning themselves on the hot kettle). The storage shelf built into the stand is covered by a metal door with rather fragile looking hinges, and the plexiglass panel that provides access to the hopper ought to be framed in metal to keep it from flexing flimsily. Fortunately, though the metal housing is rather thin, we noticed no major dents or flaws in the paint job. Nevertheless, even with gentle use the wheel cover nut came off after one week and we can't get Helman Group to return phone calls. Their customer service line is either busy or routes to an answering machine. This lends a very unprofessional impression, to say the least. In this respect, I have to dock it a star. There's only a 90-day warranty and no real support to back it. The manufacturer had better hope that nobody calls their state attorney general's office. In any event, when paying more than $200, an extended warranty isn't a bad idea whether it's a piece of fitness equipment or a novelty appliance.
The key to using this popper with success is to use FRESH POPCORN KERNELS in combination with the CORRECT MEASUREMENTS. Fresh doesn't necessarily mean the kernels at your grocery store that you purchased last week. Who knows how long they sat there while the average customer bypassed them for the microwave variety? Case-in-point: We had some gourmet popcorn left over from a gift set a year or so back and it popped great, whereas the "new" bag of popcorn kernels didn't pop well at all. So when there are complaints on Internet reviews about too many kernels left unpopped, it could be a bad heating element but more likely stale popcorn kernels are to blame. I have no idea if this explains it, but most corn is genetically modified by splicing genes of unrelated plants and animals to create disease resistant, higher yield crops (aka "frankenfood"). It could be that much of the so-called popcorn kernels sold today are inferior for popping because they are no longer natural. Try switching to organic, non-GMO and/or another brand and you will be pleased with the results.
Commercial popcorn rental units have a technique not mentioned in the user manual that ships with the CPP510. After pre-heating the kettle by flipping on the switch for 3 minutes add in the oil and THREE kernels. If all three pop, add the remainder to the kettle. Secondly, when popping, never use more than a half cup (level, not heaping). This is key if you don't want the mechanism that stirs the corn to jam. Same goes for oil and seasoning. For this reason there are tools included for accurate measurements. And lastly, that handy light bulb in the top looks cool but unless you pop multiple back-to-back batches to fill the hopper, it's just too far removed from the bottom of the hopper to keep the popcorn piping hot (a batch, incidentally, is about 8-10 cups of popped corn). The warming light is better than nothing, though. (And since it is an ordinary light bulb, no costly or exotic lighting replacements are in store.)
As stated before, this unit is not a toy. It looks nice but the sheet metal is very sharp inside and it is easy to cut yourself while cleaning the unit ---- speaking from firsthand experience, I might add. In addition, it is up to the user to time the popping. Once the corn pops more slowly it is vitally important to shut off the heat to the kettle so that the warming element will not burn out prematurely. Generally, it takes only 3-5 minutes to warm the kettle. Once the ingredients are added it generally takes another 3 minutes or so to pop the contents. There is no need to wait for a cool-down time between batches. (Just be careful when refilling the kettle to turn off the heating element first and to wear gloves to prevent burns.)
When turning the handle to dump the popcorn into the hopper be careful not to hit the mechanism too hard. The kettle's motor assembly is held to the underside of the metal roof by a plastic bracket. Moreover, giving it a hard swing from side to side may damage the gear alignment. In fact, the trickiest part about using the popper is getting the kettle seated properly. At a height of 4'11, this task requires either a chair or a lot of awkward bending/reaching. The user manual warns that if the popper jams or doesn't operate correctly, it could be a result of misaligned gears due to failing to seat the kettle properly.
The instructions don't give any advice on seasoning. Because of that, it requires a bit of experimentation to obtain the desired flavor. If you want the artery clogging variety traditionally served in theaters, use coconut oil with butter flavoring. If you prefer your popcorn a bit healthier, the good news is that this is entirely doable because just about any oil can be used to pop corn. We prefer popping oil that is unsaturated, non-hydrogenated and trans-fat free. To that we add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Flavacol butter flavored salt manufactured by Gold Medal. The result is popcorn flavor that no microwave or air popper can approach -- and not the least bit greasy, either (thanks to the fact that the popper only requires 1 tablespoon of oil and distributes it evenly). For the latter, our preference is Orville Redenbacher Popping & Topping Oil.
The instructions don't give much advice on cleaning except to say that the kettle is supposed to become "seasoned" as a result of normal use. After reading reviews in which people complain that after a year or so of use their stirring mechanism begins to jam, I can't help but wonder if this is due to an excessive buildup of this so-called seasoning. Since none of the parts are dishwasher safe and cannot be immersed in water, an excessively dirty kettle just might be an explanation. Thankfully, there are concession supply websites that offer popcorn kettle cleaners. Because we haven't been using our popper for long, our approach thus far is to simply to wipe the interior down with a mixture of water and vinegar. (But don't use anything but a damp cloth on the painted surfaces!)
The assembly instructions aren't the best, but our box shipped complete with no missing parts. It took about 40 minutes to assemble using the included diagram/instructions. Assembly tools are included but for a Phillips screwdriver.
Bottom line? This popcorn machine does what it claims to do. It fills the air with the smell of popcorn in a way no microwave popcorn can. It produces tastier results than any other popper we have used. What's not to love?
32 of 32 found the following review helpful:
Tips that I found helpful when using this machineSep 01, 2010
By Connie Stewart
"Rubber Stampin' Diva"
UPDATED REVIEW - 2 YEARS LATER: I thought I would add to my review now that I have had my popper for 2 years. It's still working great! I pop about 15 batches a month in it and still have had no problems. I did make a change and now I use Nak Paks (popcorn, salt and oil in 1 package). I don't recommend buying separate oil and popcorn because I found that most popcorn oil burns when making the second batch. Buy the Nak Paks from Amazon or your local concessions dealer. SO worth the effort! The clean up is MUCH easier and you can make batch after batch without a burning oil smell. They run about $0.65 each and are the exact same thing the movie theaters use. Can't recommend these enough!
I am still THRILLED with my purchase and have been very pleased with the quality of the machine. Below is my old review:
Although I read a couple reviews that were not favorable, I took a chance on the machine. I'm SO glad I didn't listen to those reviews! My machine had no dents or dings, wasn't difficult to put together, and works better than I thought it would.
I agree with the other reviews on how well the machine works and how fantastic the popcorn comes out! Here are a few tips that I have learned:
** Purchase a baby bottle brush and keep it in the storage area underneath. This works great to loosen popped corn that may be trapped under the stirrer and to brush out any hulls that remain in the kettle. I brush out the kettle before I make a 2nd batch.
** I purchased some little plastic bathroom sized Dixie cups. Fill them up about 2/3 with your favorite oil, then you can just toss it. I hate cleaning anything with oil on it so these little cups are awesome! It's much easier to pour into the machine too.
**I found that just wiping down the inside of the machine with a paper towel is sufficient if done within the day you made popcorn. No glass cleaner was necessary. I take the kettle out after it has cooled and add some hot water to break up any "dark spots" that have appeared on the bottom. One review said this was "seasoning the kettle" and they could be right. I just prefer it to be clean.
** Don't want to spend a lot of money on those cute little popcorn bags? I purchased the really small lunch sacks from Sam's and they work great! Amazon might sell them too.
** We taste-tested a lot of different popcorn - Jiffy Time (white and yellow), Pop Weaver, Orville,Wal Mart, and a few others. Pop Weaver and Wal Mart brand were actually the best! Who knew?! Sorry, Orville, but you came in last place (it was chewy and more than twice the price).
** Amazon sells these GREAT popcorn seasonings from Kernel Seasons. Their price is GREAT and they arrived quickly. SO good and REALLY low in calories. It's a great way to add some flavor to your popcorn for something different. Caramel, Nacho, Ranch, Chocolate Marshmallow, Apple Cinnamon, White Cheddar, Butter, and Kettle Corn.
I do agree that it is not the type of thing you want to roll all over your house. If you want to move it, take the actual popper off the cart. One nice thing about how easy it is to take on and off is that I can take it to church for the kids events.
I purchased this machine for my Stampin' Up business as something fun to serve to my guests who attend my classes. They LOVE the smell of fresh popcorn when they walk in the door and I think it has even increased my sales. They say that people are motivated by smell and in this case, it was well worth the $200 investment!
21 of 26 found the following review helpful:
IT'S JUNK!Nov 08, 2010
By Jen Don't buy this product unless you only want something that lasts for 4-5 popping sessions. I bought it at my local membership warehouse for my husband. I ordered a CASE of the popcorn/oil packets to go with it. After just a few uses, the heating element went out. The company doesn't answer the phone and the website is now blank. I am now on the hunt for a good quality popper so I can use up the case of popcorn I stupidly bought. The only good thing I can say is the few batches of popcorn we got out of it were delicious, but I think it was because of the popcorn, not the machine.
6 of 6 found the following review helpful:
WE LOVE THIS POPPER!!!!Dec 25, 2009
By M. Hyatt
My 10 year old daughter always wanted a popcorn machine and Santa found this on Amazon. The price is better than other sites and with hassle free returns, tax free, free shipping...This is an excellent deal($200). It does really make "Theater Style" popcorn. I would suggest the 4 ounce pre-packaged popcorn for kids/teens to use it (under adult supervision)....Case (24) of 4 Ounce Great Northern Popcorn Portion Packs.
The delivery was fast and the large box was in prefect condition from UPS shipping. I saw that other reviewers said it was damaged or missing parts, but mine was not. The assembly was not that difficult(about 1 hour) and the instructions were easy to follow. The cart is basically all you need to assemble.
The only concern that I have is that the popper unit(top part) is not permanently attached (attached by two side lathes) to the cart (for reasons of easy removal from the cart) and you must be very careful when you roll the machine. I almost dropped the popper unit while rolling it to another room in the house. Be cautious when you have to move it or simply take the top popper unit off and carry it. Do not allow children to roll it or it may topple over or fall off.
The entire unit looks great. Bright red and all metal. The cart has a nice storage cabinet for your salts, seasonings, scooper, un-popped corn. Popping is very easy as long as you follow directions. The first batch we made turned out perfect. It uses up to 4 ounces of un-popped corn and that provides a family of four with plenty of popcorn. It only takes 3-4 minutes to warm up the popper and about the same to pop it(very fast popping). We really enjoy this Popcorn Machine....Take a look at the photo on this site of the machine.
HELPFUL HINT-TURN ON THE HEATING LAMP ABOUT 30 -45 MINUTES BEFORE YOU START POPPING. It helps keep the popcorn warm.
7 of 8 found the following review helpful:
Arrives Damaged EVERY TIME!! Don't waste your timeAug 28, 2009
By N. Fanell
This machine would be great if it would arrive in decent condition. I have ordered 2 and both arrived skinned or dented. The Mfg. sends this item in its store shelf box- no additional packaging for some reason. The replacement machine I ordered sounded like a box of junk when the delivery guy set it on my porch. And it was- back to the company it went the next day. I will NEVER order another "Nostalgia" product again!!! Very sad- this item was to be dedicated to a local hospital in 5 days- not going to happen.
Do not waste your time ordering this junk.
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