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DFW silver screen playbook: Eat at your seat

Posted 1:29pm on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013


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REGION: EAT AT YOUR SEAT

1. B&B Colleyville Cinema Grille and IMAX

5655 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville

www.bbtheatres.com

Screens: 8

Movies: Mostly mainstream with some classics and IMAX films.

The reel deal: Opened in 2006, the Colleyville Cinema Grille's current owners took over in 2011 and all the theaters -- one IMAX screen and seven dine-in auditoriums -- have been upgraded to digital. This is the first B&B theater in Texas, with the second set to open in Wylie in April.

Comfort factor: The dine-in auditoriums offer a twist on the traditional dinner-and-movie fare with stadium seating in the center and booths that seat four people along the sides and top row, allowing groups to enjoy the film together.

Food/drink: The menu features Buffalo wings, grilled chicken wraps, burgers served on sourdough buns, pizzas, salads and desserts. Cocktails include movie-themed drinks such as the Actor, Actress, Director, Projectionist and the Dude (vodka, Kahlua and cream). Marquee Dining & Spirits Restaurant, to the right of the main lobby, features nightly drink specials in a lounge setting complete with flat-screens showing sports.

Parking: Plenty of spaces in the shopping center lot.

You should also know: Retro nights include titles such as Cool Hand Luke, Casablanca and Singin' in the Rain. The recently launched Ladies Night Out program debuted with a Grease sing-along.

2. Hulen Movie Tavern

40920 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth

(behind Hulen Mall)

movietavern.com

Screens: 13

Movies: Mainstream blockbusters and the Tavern Arts program of independent films.

The reel deal: The recently remodeled Movie Tavern is a huge step up, with all digital presentation, RealD 3D, and the MT-X Extreme Digital Experience. Plus, there's a newly expanded bar and lobby area.

Comfort factor: Stadium-style leather seating with personal table tops and push-button service.

Food/drink: In addition to burgers, wings and pizza, there are chef-inspired options like Thai chicken flatbread ($6) and desserts such as caramel crunch cake ($6) and a peanut butter cup shake ($4.50). To drink, choose from wine, beer and handcrafted cocktails, including the Strawberry Te-ki-li-to ($7).

Parking: A lot, a garage and overflow into the Hulen Mall garage near Dillard's.

You should also know: Retro Cinema on Tuesdays and Thursdays features titles such as Blazing Saddles and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. "Breakfast & a Flick" is 9 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

3. Studio Movie Grill

13993 Central Expressway, Dallas

www.studiomoviegrill.com

Screens: 12

Movies: Mainstream Hollywood.

The reel deal: The new flagship for the 12-theater chain, it has a more individualized table/seat set-up than other SMG locations, so you can eat a decent meal in comfort while watching a movie -- just like at home. There's also a bar in the lobby. And you can reserve your seat. But things can get noisy when people are ordering and servers are delivering. It's a good place to watch an action movie, especially because the theaters are outfitted with DLP digital projection, Dolby 3D and Dolby digital sounds.

Comfort: Very good -- the higher-back seats and individual tables that swing out are an improvement over the long-table set-up of other SMGs.

Food: Studio Movie Grill has recently taken its menu slightly more upscale with such options as the sun-dried tomato and arugula pizza with feta, sweet onions and a balsamic glaze.

Parking: A big lot.

You should also know: This part of the North Dallas/Richardson Central Expressway corridor will soon be a multiplex hotspot. There's another Studio Movie Grill at Central and Royal Lane, and an Alamo Drafthouse is due to open this summer at 100 S. Central Expressway in Richardson. (Learn more about it at DFW.com)

4. West 7th Street Movie Tavern

2872 Crockett St., Fort Worth

movietavern.com

Screens: 7

Movies: Mainstream new releases.

The reel deal: One of the anchors of the popular West 7th development in Fort Worth, it offers all digital presentation with RealD 3D.

Comfort: Leather seating with personal table tops.

Food/drink: An extensive food menu features burgers, sliders, pizza and desserts, including red velvet cake, cheesecake and brownie-bottom pie. Signature cocktails include the Casablanca Cosmo and Titanic Tea ($9 each).

Parking: The entire West 7th area suffers from a severe lack of parking, but the Movie Tavern does offer parking (first three hours free and after free with validation or a ticket stub from the theater) in the covered and staffed garage. There is a direct entrance to the theater from the top level of the garage.

You should also know: This Movie Tavern features a reserved seating option, which means you can select your seat before entering the auditorium. That allows you to hang out in the theater's bar area or the vibrant West 7th neighborhood without having to arrive early to grab a spot.

5. AMC Grapevine Mills Dine-In Theatres

3150 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine (Entry No. 5 of

Grapevine Mills mall)

www.amctheatres.com

Screens: 30, 12 of which are dine-in

Movies: Mainstream new releases with a smattering of arthouse flicks.

The reel deal: It may seem a bit unfair that Grapevine Mills gets two entries in our bracket, but it is truly the only hybrid theater in the area ever since its remodel in 2010. That's when it converted 12 of its 30 auditoriums to dine-in theaters, including the premium Cinema Suites.

Comfort factor: The Fork & Screen seating is comfy, but the Cinema Suites seats are cushy recliners that remind you of first class on an airplane. (They also come with a first-class ticket price of $12-$15.)

Food/drink: The Cinema Suites (21 and up) menu includes blackened salmon, chicken alfredo, salads and tenderloin steak tips. Fork & Screen (18 and up unless accompanied by a parent or guardian) has burgers, sandwiches and pizza. The MacGuffins bar and lounge area serves beer, wine and cocktails that can be taken into the auditoriums.

Parking: The Grapevine Mills mall parking lot is huge but often crowded.

You should also know: Grapevine Mills is the only AMC theater in Texas (and one of 11 in the country) with the Cinema Suites and Fork & Screen options.

6. Studio Movie Grill Arlington

225 Merchants Row, Arlington

(inside Arlington Highlands)

www.studiomoviegrill.com

Screens: 8

Movies: Mainstream.

The reel deal: One of seven Studio Movie Grill locations in Texas, this one is in the popular Arlington Highlands complex near Interstate 20 and Matlock Road. Look for the $5 ticket-and-a-drink on Groupon, but beware of the assigned seating.

Comfort: Partial stadium seating and random office chairs depending on which row you are on.

Food/drink: Entrees include chicken tenders, burgers, smoked ribs and pizzas, including traditional pepperoni and roasted barbecue chicken. Desserts include ice cream, sundaes and cookies. The drink menu offers specialty cocktails, beer, margaritas and wine.

Parking: It can be difficult to find a close spot because of the many restaurants in the shopping center.

You should also know: SMG offers $1 Movie Classics every third Thursday, with upcoming shows including The Big Lebowski, Clerks, Caddyshack and Dumb and Dumber.

7. Venetian Theaters

2661 Midway Road, Carrollton

vmoviegrill.com

Number of screens: 4

Movies: Mainstream Hollywood.

The reel deal: An independent, non-chain attempt at the movies-and-meal concept, it may get the vote as the weirdest of the lot. The ornate decor has all the subtlety of Donald Trump's living room, all faux gold and columns. But the place does bring the theater/restaurant concept to a part of the Metroplex that didn't have it before.

Comfort: The auditoriums are OK, but the rows feel narrow when someone is walking behind your executive-style chair.

Food: The menu is big and has some interesting choices -- pulled brisket tacos ($12) and a Cuban sandwich ($13) -- but the Buffalo chicken sliders ($10) we had were overly spiced. There's also a bar.

Parking: Plenty.

You should also know: If you walk into the cavernous lobby and wonder "Did this used to be a supermarket?," the answer is yes.

8. Texas Movie Bistro

3980 Boat Club Road,

Lake Worth

Screens: 8

Movies: Mainstream new releases.

The reel deal: While it doesn't offer the extensive menu or in-seat service of a Movie Tavern or Studio Movie Grill, it does have tables for food between every other seat. It also offers digital presentation and 3-D capabilities.

Comfort: Gradual stadium seating, but very little leg room.

Food/drink: Chips and queso, pretzels, pizza, and standard concession fare, including popcorn, candy and soft drinks. The bistro does serve beer, including $3 domestic drafts on Mondays, and wine-based frozen margaritas ($6).

You should also know: All shows on Tuesdays are $4.

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