It’s Friday night and you have a date. Drop your dinner reservations and forget buying tickets on Fandango because now you can visit one of Arizona’s dine-in theaters, instead.
Dine-in theaters combine restaurants and movies. Instead of nibbling on popcorn and M&Ms in your stiff theater seating, you can sit back in a comfy recliner and dine on artisan steakburgers and handcrafted mac and cheese.
Arizona now has seven dine-in movie theaters including Scottsdale’s UltraLuxe, which opened in November 2011. The newest one, Roadhouse Cinemas, opened in Tucson on Oct. 3.
Roadhouse Cinemas’ Director of Operations Scott Cassell says it’s the uniqueness of the concept that brings customers to dine-in theaters.
“Usually you would do dinner before or after [a movie], now you can do both,” he said.
Ticket prices vary by theater, but are generally around $7-$11. Meals are extra; Roadhouse advertises that most of its meals are under $10 while UltraLuxe’s most expensive meal — a panini sandwich — is $7.75.
In addition to food, dine-in theaters also serve alcohol and some have age restrictions or special theaters for people 21 and over.
Alex Anaya, a self-described movie lover, said he can’t wait to go to to Roadhouse Cinemas and not be disturbed by screaming children.
“I love this. Every time I go to Harkins, my movie is ruined by… a gaggle of crying babies,” Anaya said, adding that he hopes the dine-in theater concept catches on.
In case you’re a fanatic for their food or beer and don’t care to see the latest Dracula film, most theaters have their own restaurants or bars located on-site, so you can skip the movie and go straight to enjoying a pepperoni pizza.
Some places, like Studio Movie Grill in Scottsdale, offer deals on meals like the “2 for $25 Combo Menu” that lets patrons pick one appetizer and two entrees. You can even add dessert for as little as $5 more.
Roadhouse’s Cassell and Ted Low, creative director of the three-year-old Studio Movie Gril, said they would open additional dine-in theaters in the state.
“We believe the moviegoing experience has matured,” Low said. “Consumers are wise with their money and time, so combining a meal and a movie with in-theater dining and seat-side service is just good business.”
Anaya agrees that though ticket prices may look high, it eventually saves money.
“The price is a little steep, but it’s really not much more than going to dinner and a movie.” He said, “Plus you don’t have to waste gas driving between the two.”
To give back to the Tucson community, Roadhouse Cinemas will hold Throwback Thursdays from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, where you can catch cult classics like Young Frankenstein, The Shining and Beetlejuice. Admission is free, but it is first come first serve, so customers should arrive early.
Roadhouse Cinemas is located on Grant and Swan. Studio Movie Grill is located on Hayden Rd.
For exact prices, menu items and locations, please visit websites below.
Arizona Dine-In Theaters
Contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org