You’ll find it at the “entertaining eatery” that goes by the name Standees. It’s a super upscale/casual restaurant and intimate movie theater that opened recently in the Prairie Village Shopping Center.
Let me making one thing perfectly clear up front; this baby blows away what passes for dining experiences at AMC‘s Cinema Suites, Fork & Screen and The Alamo Drafthouse. Comparing the aforementioned three to Standees is like comparing Denny’s to Houston’s. It’s not even close.
I didn’t mention Cinemark’s Palace on the Plaza for two reasons.
The first being that when it comes to movie theater dining, Cinemark’s not even in the running. And second, because the company tried to pull the wool over the general public’s eyes last fall about its bedbug nightmare and has yet to come clean on the matter to date.
Do you think anyone who reads KC Confidential regularly would be caught dead at the Palace on the Plaza after that? Even if they were giving away movie tickets and steak dinners free of charge?
But before I tell you why you absolutely, positively must dine and catch a movie at Standees, allow me to do a number on some of the dumbest reporting imaginable on Standees by – you guessed it – the Kansas City Star.
For starters business reporter Joyce Smith called on Brian Mossman of the Fine Arts Theatre Group – one of the least qualified people in the movie biz to comment on Standees – before it even opened, no less.
Check out Mossman’s takes:
“Mossman said small theaters were limited in what they could gross, and older moviegoers want comfortable seating and easy accessibility, which may be a problem with some stadium-style seating.”
Not only does Mossman run some of KC’s least comfortable, done-on-a-shoestring, antiquated theaters – he obviously didn’t have a clue about what Standees was poised to unleash. That being the most luxurious, comfortable, movie theater seating and dining in the city.
Next came Star features columnist Jeneé Os
terheldt who weighed in with a belated-but-clued out blow job for Standees this past Thursday.
“Here’s the thing: If you want to eat in the theater, it’s not easy,” Osterheldt writes. “They wrap everything up for y
ou and put it in plastic foam containers. Transporting it is the simple part. While the theater seats are some of the most comfo
rtable I’ve sat in, the table trays are tiny. The white containers are a little noisy and they slide around…”
Come on, Jeneé!
Sometimes when you’re writing a column you have to do a little reporting. Which probably would have resulted in your finding out that the theaters were not designed for people to eat their meals in. That’s what the 200-plus person restaurant’s for.
Standees made the tray tables smaller on purpose, to discourage movie patrons from doing what Jeneé tried – to uncomfortably juggle a full meal to the chagrin and at the peril of whoever was trapped sitting next to her.
Standees made it clear from the get-go that the meals are meant to be eaten in the eatery beforehand, with moviegoers advised to take only drinks and an appetizer or dessert into the theaters.
What’s more, the difficulty of trying to awkwardly consume a full meal in her seat made Osterheldt cranky, resulting in her bagging on the excellent creme brulee because it somehow didn’t taste (or look) as good in the styrofoam container.
I spoke with a number of Standees patrons during my visit who raved about the creme brulee, which hardly could have suffered taste wise from a 10 or 15 step walk into one of the theaters.
Try choking down damn near anything AMC or Alamo dishes up and see what you get.
Now that the record’s been set straight about dumb things learned in the Kansas City Star, let me tell you the secret of Standees success”
Excellent food and bargain prices in an intimate, state-of-the-art theater setting.
It’s that simple, ladies and gentlemen.
As for Osterheldt’s transporting a full meal to her seat and then bitching about how hard it was to eat, “You’re welcome to bring a bottle of wine and two glasses, a small plate of appetizers and any type of dessert,” says Standees spokesman Justin Scott. “But it’s really not set up for full dining.”
Which brings us to the 85-seat theaters…
“That’s a 30 foot wide screen,” Scott says. “That would normally be in a 200 seat theater, so it makes it feel much more intimate.”
The bottom line:
The food is so good and so well priced, the atmosphere so inviting, customers are going to be standing in line to dine at Standees.
Forget about the movies for a minute, Standees game plan was to make it as a restaurant first and foremost. And after sampling a number of dishes and speaking to many others who’ve done the same, I have two words: Mission accomplished!
Just don’t try something dumb like trying to eat your entire meal in a movie seat. Outside of that, you’re gonna love it.
Trust me on this one.