Dinner and a movie.
Since the dawn of the motion picture era, that combination has been the premier date choice for many couples everywhere. However, for most of the last hundred or so years, dinner and a movie must be done at two separate locations. (Unless you consider popcorn, candy and hot dogs dinner.) Question: Why can't we create a movie theatre chain where you can sit down at a regular table or bar, and have dinner and drinks ALONG WITH your movie? What a concept, right? Well sir, for the last twenty-odd years, a number of individual locations and a few chains have sprung up to take advantage of this desire. And one of the best I've seen in the last few years just happens to be Studio Movie Grill.
Studio Movie Grill started about ten years ago, in Addison, Texas I believe, and has since spread to several cities, with more on the horizon. My wife the Rock Star and I have tried two or three locations thus far, and the concept (not to mention the food) is both quite enjoyable and successful.
First, as always, you probably should check out the website at www.studiomoviegrill.com to find out nearest locations and menu, as well as movies and showtimes. (You can even buy tickets online, just like with the big movie chains. How cool is that?) Luckily, individual locations have their own identity and are not cookie-cutter. One may have a really cool bar, another may feature ten or more different movies in the same day, etc. In any case, if you don't have time to buy your tickets beforehand, you can purchase them at the theatre, outside or inside, either thru an automated setup or through a ticket person. Once you enter, at some point, a smiling employee will hand you a menu and a lighted coaster. If your movie is presently seating, you can proceed into the theatre, otherwise you can wait in the special roped-off line appointed for that particular showing.
Once you've had a chance to peruse the menu and are ready to order, just press the button to activate your coaster. The staff will see it lighted as they pass, and any staff member will help you. Studio Movie Grill has a full bar (I believe) at all locations, and of course tea, water, and soft drinks. (Yes, they do feature Coppola wines, the vineyard owned by the family of the famous movie director.) Don't be afraid to order anything: I've been to SMG about two dozen times, and the closest I've had to a bad experience was some stale popcorn (once). Bar food definitely predominates, but is quite good. Don't forget to check out the daily specials: they can be quite, well, special. For instance, how about all-you-can eat pizza on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays for $7.99? And we're not talking cardboard: we're talking about good, fresh hot pizza, complete with a touch of honey in the dough that makes it special. The pepperoni is wonderful of course, but don't forget to try specialty pies such as the Garlic Chicken pizza. Layers of cheese, plenty of sauce, delicious chicken, and just the right amount of garlic make it memorable.
The burgers are fine, particularly the Cheddar BarBQ Burger, or you can build your own. The Rock Star says to tell you she particularly enjoys the Quesadillas, especially the Spinach Mushroom, with roasted spinach and mushrooms in a delicious garlic cream sauce.
Service is always very nice; we've only had problems once or twice during off-peak hours when they are understaffed. Don't worry: despite the presence of alcohol, it's actually a very kid-friendly place. (That may or may not change after 10PM or at the later showings.) One of the nicest features of the place is the staff pledges to bring you out your ticket within 40 minutes of the movie's conclusion so you don't have to rush at the last minute. Oh, I'm sorry I haven't mentioned it before now, but your movie is, unfortunately, a separate purchase from your meal. If you are a budget-minded consumer, be prepared: those charges can add up quickly.
Website is quite good, however, a bit tricky for newcomers: you can buy tickets, view available movies and showtimes, peruse the menu, etc. all online. But since each location, of course, has different showtimes, you will have to do a little maneuvering. Have patience, it's worth it. Again, the URL is www.studiomoviegrill.com.
Finally, a place to enjoy dinner, drinks and movie without leaving your seat. (Except when nature calls or when the picture's over. ) Be sure to check out Studio Movie Grill soon, and remember:
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR MEDIOCRE FOOD!!!