Camillus, NY –The Movie Tavern – a theater with a restaurant and bar – opening next week promises to be a one-of-a-kind movie viewing experience for Central New Yorkers, with seats that recline almost flat and a 38-ounce beer you can order in a refillable tanker.
Customers have been stopping by the venue in Township 5 during construction to ask when it will open. A clock outside on the marquee is tracking the days and hours left until Movie Tavern opens on Tuesday.
Movie Tavern offers a full-service meal along with a movie. There are no other theaters like it in Central New York and the 24-theater chain expects the Camillus venue to be its biggest money maker yet, said Kip Wotanowicz, the general manager.
Syracuse.com got a chance Thursday to check out the place for you. Here are a few things you might want to know before you head out for a show.
What’s an $11 million movie theater look like? Well, it has comfy recliners, no concession stand (or lines) and servers bring food and drinks to you at your reserved recliner seat.
Where do I park? It’s different than your regular theater where you can usually park right near the door. Movie Tavern is in the middle of the shopping/office center. There’s a small street in front to allow cars to drop off passengers at the theater entrance, but the parking lot is though a courtyard of shops located in front of the theater.
All seats are reserved. Tickets cost $10 to $12.50. You can buy them at MovieTavern.com, on Fandango, or at the box office when you walk in. Food and drink are sold separately.
This is not a place to drop the kids and run. Customers younger than 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 21.
Arrive a half hour before the show. If you are the type of person who likes to show up as the trailers are ending, don’t. Just because you’ve got reserved seats, doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to slip into the movie.
Wotanowicz suggests guests arrive a half hour before show time to allow time to find their seat, peruse the menu, order popcorn or a meal and have the server deliver it.
“We try to get most of the serving out of the way when the lights are on,” he said.
If you get there late don’t worry. Meals can be served after the movie begins.
What if I don’t want to eat dinner in the dark? There’s a restaurant-bar on the left side of the theater for customers who want to grab a drink, eat an appetizer or have dinner before they go into the theater. Or you can skip the movie all together and just have dinner.
What do the theaters themselves look like? There at 11 theaters accommodating 1,100 people in stadium seating. The aisles are wider than in the average theater to accommodate the servers.
Do I have to balance my burger and fries on my lap? Each chair has a cup holder and a small table attached to it so that the theaters look like college lecture halls, but with way more comfortable seats. Tables on wheels roll up to accommodate wheelchairs.
Hit a button on the side of the cushy seat and a foot rest slides out and the back of the chair reclines. The seats can go almost flat.
How do I order food? Servers stop by before the show to take your drink and meal orders. They deliver the food too. Pressing the button on the table summons a server who will come during the movie to refill a drink or take a dessert order. Servers are trained in “silent service,” Wotanowicz said.
The goal is to serve customers their food in 12 minutes or less, he said. That’s tall order when 160 people arrive and order their food at once, Wotanowicz said.
How much does the food cost? The classic bucket of popcorn is $7.50, plus 50 cents if you want Odell’s real butter on it. Traditional theater candy is $4.50.
The Movie Tavern serves pub food ranging from spicy fried pickles with ranch dressing to burgers, fried fish, chicken and salads. Meal prices range from $9.95 for a half-pound all beef foot-long hot dog to the Game Day Platter, with three jumbo sliders, eight wings and bacon cheese fries for $16.95.
The full-bar serves margaritas, cocktails, wine, milkshakes and sodas. Domestic beer is $4.95 by the glass or bottle up to $6.50 for craft beer. A 24-ounce can of Pabst Blue Ribbon will set you back $7.50.
Then there’s the refillable 38 ounce stein sold for $12. It costs $10 to $14 to fill it depending on the beer choice. (Wotanowicz said you can tell the regulars by their steins.) Sodas cost $4.35.
On Saturdays and Sundays the Movie Tavern offers Breakfast and a Flick with any movie that begins before 10:30 a.m. Breakfast offerings include traditional items like pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage and oatmeal.
How do I pay? Servers will place the bill standing up on your table when it’s time to settle up. Laying the bill down signals that you’re ready to pay, Wotanowicz said.
Do I tip the server? Movie Tavern is like any other restaurant. Tipping the server is appreciated.
By Charley Hannagan | firstname.lastname@example.org The Post-Standard