Hearne: Is KC Just Not a Dine in Movie Town? Cinetopia’s About to Find Out

Spinach Salad with candied walnuts and goat cheese and Chocolate Lava cake are among the offerings in the living room theaters at Cinetopia.  Photo by Steven Lane

Spinach Salad with candied walnuts and goat cheese and Chocolate Lava cake are among the offerings in the living room theaters at Cinetopia.
Photo by Steven Lane

How many failed efforts, how much mediocre movie cuisine must this Cowtown endure?

You know, before somebody gets the picture that upscale, dine-in movie theater food is not a viable proposition in Kansas City.

Because no less than six (count ’em) theaters have tried it, with disappointing (at best) results.

The two in Zona Rosa promptly went toes up. Cinemark on the Plaza has been in the game for more than 10 years, but its single, small auditorium is so tiny it feels like a rich guy in Hallbrook’s home theater. And who even remembers it exists in the grand scheme of things anymore.

AMC lost its you-know-what at the Mainstreet downtown before passing the baton to Alamo Drafthouse last year. But sources say that neither did enough biz to wad a popgun, and as a frequent flyer at both theaters, I can tell you the food was and remains, mediocre at best. Ditto for AMC’s Fork & Screen and Cinema Screens at its 30-plex in Olathe.

Standees in Prairie Village – the most recent entrant – started with a bang before falling on its face after losing a pair of key food staffers early on. Whereupon it reportedly went into something approaching a tailspin. Since then Standees cut loose some its high priced staff and has redone its menu to include a kids menu. Still the jury is out on the results. In other words, it’s far from the grand slam it’s owners hoped it would be.

The latest?

l-2As Jack Poessiger has reported, Beaverton, Oregon-based Cinetopia is preparing to open next year at 135th and Nall with what appears to be by far, the grandest movieplex yet to grace this market.

Cinetopia’s motto: “Official Home Of Dinner And A Movie!”

By the way, that exclamation point belongs to Cinetopia, not me.

Cinetopia’s Vinotopia Family Restaurant & Bar describes itself as an “Upscale American Grill” – we’ll see.

It’s dinner menu includes Salmon Du Jour, Grilled Tilapia, Duck, Bistro medallions and MaplePecan Pork Shanks.

lNobody else in the movie food game here even comes close.

Hey, and it’s got a kid menu, too. Complete with cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pizza, kids mac & cheese, chocolate layer cake and a double chocolate brownie.

And since Cinetopia isn’t a start up like Standees, chances are they’ll get their shit right, regardless of who local celebrity chef Debbie Gold may spirit away.

The $64 million question: Will KC finally support in-movie dining?

Our track record here to date makes that suspect. Then again, for what would appear to be the first time ever, a big time, legitimate movie exhibitor is about to swing for the fences without cutting nearly the corners others seem to have cut.

So stay tuned…

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16 Responses to Hearne: Is KC Just Not a Dine in Movie Town? Cinetopia’s About to Find Out

  1. Jim says:

    Do I really want to try MaplePecan Pork Shanks supplied by the same people that brought us $7 sodas and $10 tubs of popcorn? Can’t even imagine the price of these “finer” entrees. Am I the only guy that wants to go to a movie because I enjoy the dark theater, quality sound system and the singular purpose of getting lost in a good flick for a couple of hours? At no time does the quality of the food they may or may not offer even enter into the equation. Dinner and a movie should remain mutually exclusive. JMO.

  2. Kyle Rohde says:

    Personally, the food is (for the money) pretty good at Alamo Drafthouse. The prices are pretty standard $8-15 for an entree, which is a far better deal than paying $9 for a big tub of popcorn. Alamo has a good beer selection too, which I typically enjoy when I go.

    I agree though, that it’s probably struggling. Most of the time when I go, it seems ok full but definitely not packed. The challenge isn’t just because of food though, as it’s more advertised as a theater then a restaurant. For whatever reason, people just don’t go to movies downtown enough. I hope they make it, for I love the theatre itself. Such a beautiful old building.

    • admin says:

      I go to the Alamo whenever possible because I like the pre movie schtick, Kyle.

      And while you’re right, the food’s not bad, it’s not much if any better than the AMC dine in, which is pretty mediocre.

      BTW, not only do I notice a dearth of patrons at almost every movie I see at Alamo, trade folks tell me the weekly grosses have been extremely weak.

  3. the dude says:

    The answer is no.

  4. buzz says:

    let the record show kcconfidential has been home sweet home to some of the most ridiculous, stupid, boring, and obscene posts and writers this side of the pecos. you have ONE writer with an ounce of writing in his hand.

    • the dude says:

      Let me be the first to thank you and the first to say to whoever that writer is- Don’t squander that ounce!

      • chuck says:

        I would like to cop an Ohh Zee if there is any available.

        Ok, that is not true, I hate smokin pot, but how cool is it to say, “cop an Ohh Zee”?

        If I click the heels of my Dingo Boots together three times it will bring back Billy Jack, I just know it!!

        • admin says:

          Anybody besides me notice that “Billy Jack” was a year older than Peter O’Toole?

          How the heck did that happen?

  5. Andrew says:

    No way would I go, because of the kids’ menu. That’s why I love Alamo—-no kids, and no noise tolerated.

  6. fartemmis says:

    now if only Hollywood would start making some movies worth going to -..

    I mean ..they used to.. lately tho – ain’t NUTTIN out there

  7. Hot Carl says:

    I used to go to the movies about once or twice a month and would see art house films, blockbusters, dramas, action movies, etc. I just liked a good movie. But high prices and the general unpleasant experience of seeing movies with the unwashed masses have grated on me over the years. I now go to see a film in an actual theater a handful of times a year and that’s only because some films, like “Gravity”, demand to be seen on a big screen. I watch everything else at home in my own recliner with my own food and beer on my own giant television that’s equipped with a great sound system. No talking from the old lady who can’t hear and demands to know what was just said, no endless wrappers crunching, no sticky floors, no corpulent movie patrons stuffing their fat faces from a bottomless tub of popcorn, etc, etc, etc.

    I just don’t see how a “fine meal” is going to get me into a movie theater. Like you, Hearne, I’m very skeptical about the quality of the food and am POSITIVE it will be ridiculously overpriced .

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