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Open Letter to Alamo Drafthouse

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Let me state emphatically how disappointed I am, how depressed that our long friendship may be coming to an end.

We’ve been going to Alamo since you first opened your doors downtown on a regular basis. As often as we could afford (let’s face it, hanging with y’all is anything but cheap, averaging $60 a visit) when we were starving college students and when you opened the “main” movie theaters we were averaging twice a month. Needless to say, we were committed to having a life-long friendship.

Then things started change. You decided you didn’t like being “just a movie house” that had the great concept of serving EASILY EATEN food and libations while watching a movie. No. You had to go and be a restaurant that happened to be showing movies.

At first we indulged these little transgressions and even encouraged you by going to a few of the dinner pairings (at great cost, but hey we’re friends…). Hell, we would have even allowed you this delusion as long as it didn’t interfere with the primary reason for our friendship. Let’s face it, I really never saw Dead Man’s Chest at your premiere. While the roti was really good (I’m not denying your culinary skill here), I ended up focusing on not clinking the silver to the china and NOT getting food and sauce all over me and the floor. (Not to mention the other pairing I went to where you had multiple sauces and a dollop of very strong whole grain mustard on the plate as a “surprise”…guess what? I accidentally ended up with an overpowering mouthful of “mystery” explosion - dark theater, remember?).

Then you betrayed me. I showed up this weekend, mouth watering for the one thing I craved, the one thing I actually recommended as a culinary destination on all my foodie chat boards, the on ething I have indulged in from DAY ONE so many years ago…your Poltergeist pesto chicken pizza…

And it was gone…
No warning, no explanation …just gone. Too bad, so sad.

You suggested I try one of your “new” bac on pizzas or the enchiladas (uhm, dark theater…). Disappointed, but willing I got your bacon pizza only to find that, in the dark, it tastes just like all your other marinara-based pizzas AND you broke the rule of sandwich/pizza – you put basil in between the sauce and the other toppings, making it a slip-slidey logistical nightmare in the dark. Shame on you for doing this to me. Shame on you for taking a great DIFFERENT pizza that you can actually eat in the dark without worry off the menu after it being a main staple for all this time.

My feelings are hurt that you would treat such an old, faithful friend who has not only been there for you, but supported you all these years with just reckless disregard. Maybe you are going on to bigger and better things. Maybe you have outgrown your humble friends…I just hope you’ll reconsider and remember your old buddy. If you do, I'll immediately tout your praises here and welcome you back with open arms.

Longingly, A true-blue friend

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  1. Dear Alamo Drafthouse,

    Thank you for allowing me to eat fried-pickles and drink beer while watching movies. I enjoy and appreciate our meaningless yet thoroughly enjoyable relationship free of any strings. Just one small request -- can you please provide catheters in the future ?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Nab

      And Alamo - can you please bring back the $2 schlitz? It was the only way for me to afford drinking there.

      1. re: rudeboy

        I'm with you. I can't afford to even set foot in the Alamo any more - every time I do I end up spending an absurd amount of money for a movie and some beer.

        1. re: hooliganyouth

          Here, here! Gone are the days of a "Bucket of Schiltz and a movie", for shame!

    2. Sorry, but the Drafthouse still rocks, and I love their expanded menu. Where else can you watch a movie with a pint of Arrogant Bastard Ale and eat fried pickles? Long live the Drafthouse!!

      1. I was trying to be funny, but I guess it fell short. My point WAS that this place rocks and I miss my chicken pesto pizza!

        They have, however, added some "gourmet" items that just flat out don't work in the dark.

        speaking of rocking, have you had the Ecstasy that is the Guiness Milk shake

        1. I have a love/hate relationship with the Alamo. I love their theater on South Lamar because it's the best in town from a movie projection point of view.

          Unfortunately, I'm not a huge fan of the eating & waiters in the theater. This can be great fun for the special events they host, but when I see a first run movie it really can be a distraction. The Alamo has those funny intros showing how they'll going to kick you out if you talk during the screening, yet the guy next to me will be chomping on a large bowl of nachos which is almost as distracting. Plus, the waiters care less about being quiet and hunching down than they used to (or maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety).

          The food has always been hit or miss. Lately I've been gunshy to get any of their cooked items, so I think the safest route is to get a pint of Guinness and a bowl of Amy's cookies & cream ice cream (the world's best ice cream!)

          2 Replies
          1. re: Mike B

            the alamo drafthouse doesn't even have nachos.

            1. re: taylorjeffries

              chips & queso

          2. I still heart Alamo Drafthouse. I'm a matinee moviegoer anyway, so I take frequent advantage of the $12 ticket, pizza & soda special at the Village location.

            I don't think I ever tried the Poultrygeist pizza, but Wild at Artichoke Hearts and Raging Bull always knocked my socks off.

            I agree that it's too hard to eat the salads and entrees they insist on putting on the menu. A dark theater demands finger foods that you can sit back and eat with your hands. And it must be washed down with whatever Real Ale brew of the month they've got on tap.

            1. Mad props for carrying Ayinger Celebrator (Village, maybe Lake Creek) and Maredsous 8 on tap (Lake Creek).

              1. I LOVE the pizza and the salad with balsamic dressing (with the yummy crutons)- amazing!!! I think it is fantastic that I get to eat this and watch a movie, without haven't to drudge through bad nachos and popcorn (not that I don't like movie popcorn). Yey Alamo! <3

                1. Their Poultrygeist pesto pizza was really good. Their Wild at Artichoke Hearts is also amazingly good. I didn't realize that they took the pesto pizza off the menu. My new fave is their steak sandwich, but I get it with different bread because I don't like ciabatta on sandwiches.

                  1. I had the steak sandwich at the lamar location when it first came out and loved it. Had it at villiage and didn't like it at all. Had it again at lamar and they broke the sandwich rule and put two slipy-slidy things together and it was (again) and logistical nightmare.

                    1. Oh, and "Enter the Dragon" pizza... nothing more to say

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ChristineR

                        Yes, the other pizzas are good, but again, all the marinara-based pizzas basically taste the same in the dark. I really loved the chicken-pesto pizza.

                      2. Thank you for voicing what i feel about the drafthouse-- one of those great places in austin, good food, and i was so happy for their apparent success. But it's so damn expensive! I hope you send this letter to Tim or the management directly. I loved the $2 Tuesdays downtown--a real treasure for film buffs. But now i think it's more about the food. So am i, but I can't afford $60 every time I go! Bring back affordability!

                        1. Not only is the prohibitive but when I do have the money I don't want to go because people act like they're in their living room.

                          Cheap alternative that's family friendly? Open a real life permanent drive-in!

                          1. Actually, the Village manager responded, but because of the chowhound rules of owners not getting involved it was deleted. Understandable.

                            He read and acknowledged, addressed the comments. I'm still bummed about them discontinuing the pesto pizza, but apparently I was the only one that ordered it.

                            1. You were not the only one who ordered the Poultrygeist pizza. That was my wife's favorite - she would get it every time we went.

                              1. What I really miss is getting the Buffalo 66 sandwich at the South Lamar location. I did find out that they have it at the Lakeway location. They might still have your pizza since it is the old menu!
                                I was disappointed when I got it though because the ciabatta was too soft and they went a bit overboard with the mayo. It's better than no Buffalo 66 though!