Dinner and a movie.
The two go together, forever and ever. Past, present and future.
In the Wayback Machine, I recall going to a joint down in Florida to see a Clint Eastwood flick and eat a pizza simultaneously with my Tampa-area friend Deana. But that was a flat-floored experience in the 1980s, in a restaurant that threw a smallish-screen up on one end for a new persona and hustled pitchers of beer from the bar that was already there beforehand.
The Movie Tavern opened in the Syracuse western ‘burn of Camillus a week ago, a striking centerpiece in a cluster of restaurants in a new strip mall called Township 5.
My dear wife Karen and I decided to make it a Date Night location for dinner and a movie after ending our work week Friday. We arrived by 6 for the 6:40 p.m. screening of Independence Day: Resurgence, figuring that the 20-year-later sequel to the blockbuster might draw a good-sized crowd on opening night.
Indeed, we were offered to check off two adjoining seats in the front section, Row D, seats 1 and 2. The beginning of seating was announced as we considered a seat at the lovely bar in the lobby, so we decided to take the party to our seats to order dinner and drinks and watch … well, whatever this non-Regal Cinemas chain would put up on the screen before the previews started at 6:40 p.m.
Hover over any gallery photo for a description. Click on an image for an enlarged slide show.
We were pleasantly surprised at the comfort of our situation. The leather seats were big, soft and reclined. They reminded me of the high-end recliners I’ve seen in the home theaters at the Parade of Homes in the finished dream basements. Karen did mention later, though, how she imagined how such behemoths might gather, uh, lingering scents and such from a steady parade of patrons. The same thought had crossed my mind.
The service from waiter Brent, assigned to town D across the width of our theater, was prompt and friendly. He asked if we’d been to the theater yet, and when we said no, he filled us in about the call button, his favorite menu items, and the protocol of bringing the check with about an hour left in the movie.
We both decided on the Tavern Burger topped with cheddar, pass on available Canadian bacon, upgrade to sweet potato fries. Karen went with a bottle of Corona Light and I asked for a glass of Red Devil Merlot.
The drinks came first, and the wine was OK. I still have sticker shock regarding nine bucks a glass. But heck, it was date night, and midway through the movie, I even ordered another. Karen stuck with her one beer.
We both thoroughly enjoyed our burger, medium-well, juicy and delicious. The fries were only lukewarm, unfortunately. The bun was OK, and the veggies served on the side were fresh enough.
I thought all in all, the menu and meal compared well to something you’d get at TGIF or Chili’s or the like. The total came to just over $53 when Brent delivered the check as promised. It was interesting to remove my glasses and phone from my pockets, push the on button, and angle it so I could read the price on the check. Brent was good. I left $65. The movie had been an even $20 because we qualified for their 55 senior ticket cutoff. Yay, us. Dinner and a movie for $85? Once a month, maybe.
All in all, the food-and-drink service didn’t make the chatter any louder or more distracting than my usual weekend viewing at Destiny USA or Shoppingtown, which surprised me – and says something about the crowds at both places.
Review to come tomorrow.
Have you been to a dinner-and-movie place, and if so, what did you think? Do you think $85 total for two is reasonable for dinner and a movie? What do you think about Movie Tavern from the photos?