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Long-shot question about movie theater food...

a
avena Sep 5, 2007 02:44 PM

A couple years ago I spent some time in Central Florida, and I fell in love with a theater in Maitland and its food. The theater is called The Enzian, and it's a non-profit theater that plays indie/foreign flicks. What's really special about this place is that they offer a full dining menu with all sorts of yummy pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, appetizers, desserts, and a wine and beer menu. Instead of the traditional theater seats, they have couches and big comfy chairs where servers can easily maneuver around. Servers come by and take your order before the movie starts, and serve you before and up to a few minutes into the show. If you don't mind some commotion while you're watching the previews, or mind the person next to you munching on pizza during the show, it can be a really fun experience. Its dinner and a movie at the same time. Going to Florida, I expected to miss LA and its food and culture, but surprise surprise now I miss Florida if only for this treasure.

My question: Is there any theaters in LA that offer anything close to this experience where they serve real food right to your seat while you watch a movie? Does the Arclight serve dinner (its so expensive there, I'm afraid to ask!) ?

And if any LA Chowhounds are in the Orlando/Winter Park/Maitland area, I HIGHLY recommend the Enzian for a great night out with dinner, a show, and no Mickey.

  1. w
    writergirl Sep 5, 2007 08:17 PM

    The Bridge Cinemas at Howard Hughes Center offers in-seat dining for a select number of their films. However, looking at their menu it doesn't look very thrilling (chicken fingers???? Considering you have to be 21+ that seems absurd.) I don't think this is going to match up to the theatre you're talking about, but it's an option of you're really jonesing. Perhaps you should see the "what foods do you sneak into theatres" thread on the "general" board, that might be a better option! ;-)

    4 Replies
    1. re: writergirl
      j
      jackattack Sep 6, 2007 05:58 PM

      Theatres like the one that you describe are on the way out. They've come to realize that the 1500% profit that they can make on a tub of popcorn is unmatched by any other labor-intensive offerings that they can come up with.

      1. re: jackattack
        Chowpatty Sep 6, 2007 06:29 PM

        I don't think they're necessarily "on the way out" -- we've never had them in L.A. to begin with, and the Alamo Drafthouse chain continues to expand. It just depends on having the right combination of audience, management and real estate prices. Those places aren't being opened by large corporate entities who are obsessed with popcorn profits.

        1. re: Chowpatty
          w
          writergirl Sep 6, 2007 07:33 PM

          I agree, I don't think they're on their way out. They seem quite popular elsewhere. And I think theatre owners are seeing people decide to watch flicks in their home theatres, and are trying to entice them back out with good food and a nice experience...bucket of popcorn isn't cutting it for a lot of people. I do think the the reason we don't have these types of theatres here may be zoning.

          1. re: writergirl
            k
            kevin Sep 6, 2007 10:46 PM

            Yes, zoning is a big issue. And as for the 12screen landmark opening at the Westside Pavillion, they really had to soften up the NIMBYs when they jumped from 4 screens to 12 (basically, promising not to show big-budget High Concept Hollywood flicks on any of those screens)

            Regarding the food at the Landmark, it's not bad, nothing out of the ordinary. The La Brea Bakery pretzels are pretty good and the fancy chocolates are good too. But alas they don't have any sandwiches or items of that ilk.

    2. k
      kdoc Sep 5, 2007 04:16 PM

      Wow- That is a blast from the past- I Iived in Orlando during the late nineties and remember going there a few times. Nice comfy chairs with tables scattered in a room that just happened to have a screen on one side. Food was actually decent too, Bass and Guinness on tap- good times!

      1. Chowpatty Sep 5, 2007 03:04 PM

        L.A. is far behind places in Texas, Oregon, etc. when it comes to this sort of thing. I was at the Landmark the other night and while their gourmet chocolate bar selection is excellent, the "real food" is limited to tired-looking warmed-up pizza and some kind of sausages. I think you can take alcoholic bevs into some of the theaters, but not sure.
        The problem with Cinespace is that their film programming is pretty much limited to whatever just came out on DVD, so big deal.
        A long time ago Fred Eric was going to do something more exciting with food and movies in an old theater on Eagle Rock Blvd., but unfortunately it fell through.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Chowpatty
          a
          avena Sep 5, 2007 03:14 PM

          There is an old run-down theater in downtown Riverside on Mission Inn Ave. that I think would be wonderful for a revamped dinner/movie experience.

          1. re: avena
            Chowpatty Sep 5, 2007 03:19 PM

            It's funny, I spoke to someone once who mentioned that he would love to run that one -- or maybe it was one in Claremont? Anyway, it's really tough to make a go of it with just one screen, unless you play old movies and concentrate more on the food like the Foreign Cinema in San Francisco. I don't know if it's the real estate prices or the restaurant licensing laws, but it seems much harder here than elsewhere.

            1. re: Chowpatty
              s
              slacker Sep 5, 2007 03:29 PM

              Love Foreign Cinema, we need one down here. Or just "Cinema" so they could also play non foreign flicks.

            2. re: avena
              Dommy Sep 5, 2007 10:07 PM

              Actually you just reminded where the BEST movie food is... the Drive Inns. they still have a REAL snack bar and the Mission at Pomona have some of my favorite burritos on EARTH.

              --Dommy!

            3. re: Chowpatty
              i
              igj Sep 5, 2007 06:59 PM

              Landmark has one movie designated as 21+ per week and that is the movie to which patrons can bring in their drinks. My GF and I went to the first day the theater ran this program, had a nice glass of wine with our movie. Civilized; fun; no food of not though. And even the candy/snack food is $$$.
              Alamo Drafthouse this is not.

            4. DanaB Sep 5, 2007 02:51 PM

              I'm pretty sure that Cinespace in Hollywood does dinner and a movie. Here's a link to their webpage: http://www.cinespace.info/movies_temp...

              The Arclight has better than average movie theater food and comfortable stadium seating, but they don't have the set-up you are describing with couches and "real food." You can eat at their cafe before or after the movie or order gourmet sausages in a bun to take into the theater (along with house-made kettle corn), but it's basically spruced up movie food and not real food served in your seat.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DanaB
                i
                ITurnedOutTV Sep 5, 2007 02:52 PM

                It's actually carmel corn. My boyfriend can't leave the theater without buying some for dessert!

              2. h
                Havesom00 Sep 5, 2007 02:50 PM

                YES. Check out CineSpace.. Interesting concept for those different occasions.

                -----
                Cinespace Restaurant & Lounge
                6356 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                1 Reply
                1. re: Havesom00
                  l
                  LMelba Sep 5, 2007 07:20 PM

                  Cinespace is a lot of fun. They have booths for seating and wait staff that takes food and drink orders. The food is just so-so (mini burgers and calamari were pretty good) but it's the whole experience that makes it great.

                2. i
                  ITurnedOutTV Sep 5, 2007 02:47 PM

                  Arclight does not serve dinner at your seat, but there is a bar/restaurant in the lobby. They also offer 21+ screenings so you can drink during the show. Don't fear the prices. I think the quality of the theater itself (and the theater patrons) make up for the extra couple bucks).

                  The new Landmark at the Westside Pavillion has couch theaters and a big selection of food items to bring into the theater.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ITurnedOutTV
                    Amuse Bouches Sep 5, 2007 02:58 PM

                    And don't forget the popcorn at the Arclight -- REAL butter. Worth the price of admission. (As are the reserved seats)

                    1. re: ITurnedOutTV
                      k
                      krez Sep 5, 2007 03:38 PM

                      Arclight is taking over the Sherman Oaks Galleria theaters FYI.

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