Too busy to go out for dinner and a movie? Hate having dinner out and then having to rush to the theater to catch a movie? Like one-stop shopping? Looking for a new place for this week’s date night?
If you said yes to any of the questions above, then this new movie-going experience may be right up your alley! For all you multi-taskers out there, you can now have dinner at a movie.
Already in Atlanta and Kansas City, the AMC Essex Green 9 in West Orange will be the first of three such theaters to open in New Jersey . It opens on November 17th with AMC Bridgewater Commons following on November 22nd and AMC Menlo Park in Edison coming on December 15th.
We were invited to Monday’s soft opening of the first New Jersey AMC Dine-In theater in West Orange so keep on reading to see what it was like.
First of all, you’ll notice when you walk in that there’s a bar/lounge in the lobby of the theater. How great is that? If you’re meeting someone, there’s now somewhere to hang out while waiting for that friend who’s always late. It is decked out in a cool, retro style. While hanging out in the lobby we saw other bloggers filing in and taking pictures. Seems the first impression was a good one.
When you buy your tickets, you will be asked to choose one of two types of theater experiences.
If you’re in the mood for casual dining, check out a Fork & Screen theater. You will pay $10 for the movie and $10 for the movie experience. The second $10 is credited to your food bill so come hungry because you’re paying for at least one dish just by buying a ticket. Most of the menu items are around $9.99 so once you buy one food item and a drink, you’ve used your food credit and will only have to pay an additional dollar or two plus tip. Of course, you can also go hog wild and get appetizers, entrees and desserts. Traditional movie fare like popcorn and candies are also available from the menu if that’s what you feel like. Check out the menu for Fork & Screen theaters here.
Fork & Screen seating comes in groups of four and you sit at a lighted table that is bright enough to see what you’re eating but dim enough to also be able to enjoy the movie. Seats are assigned which means you pick them when you buy your ticket. That’s a total plus for me since I hate to come to a movie right on time and then have to search for seats. And let me tell you the seats are very comfortable. And you can raise the armrest if you want to cuddle with your date. Service staff will only come to your table if you call them using a button that’s kind of like a flight attendant’s button on a plane. That way, your movie has limited interruptions.
Try Cinema Suites for an upscale experience. The seats here are better than the seats in most people’s houses. They are fully functioning recliners. You can sit upright or, if you wish, lay practically flat. They are controlled by two buttons located on the inside armrest of the seat. You will not believe how comfortable they are. The spacing between rows is deep enough that you don’t even see who is sitting in front of you.
Check out the menu for Cinema Suites here. It’s the same menu as Fork & Screen theaters plus an additional page of upscale options. Cinema Suites tickets will cost you $10 for the movie and $15 for the movie experience which will turn up as a food credit just like the Fork & Screen experience price.
Here’s the rundown of food items we tried in the Cinema Suites (items also available on the Fork & Screen menu, too, unless specified):
- Double Cheese Batons – cheese sticks amped up with sprinkled parmesan cheese and a really chunky marina sauce for dipping. Very good!
- Queso Blanco Dip and Chips – nacho cheese sauce with some chopped peppers and tomatoes added in and served with multi-colored tortilla chips. To be fair, this was a little troublesome to eat in very dim lighting.
- Sweet Onion Loops – onion rings in a nice beer-type batter made with whole onion slices and came with BBQ sauce (catsup, salt and pepper is already at your table).
- Chicken Tenders – pretty standard breaded chicken which came with fries and your choice of BBQ, ranch or honey mustard sauce.
- BLT Cheese Griller – DELICIOUS grilled cheese with bacon, lettuce and tomato added on. It also came with homemade potato chips and a thick creamy tomato and roasted red pepper soup (which was tough to eat in the dark since it was dark soup in a black bowl).
- Tenderloin Steak Tips (Cinema Suites Only) – steakhouse quality bite-sized steak tips in a red wine sauce that came with mushrooms, pearl onions, garlic mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked green beans. By far, this was the highlight of the food.
Things we wanted to try but couldn’t fit in but included here to give you an idea of the menu before you download it:
- Homestyle Chili Bowl – saw this coming out of the kitchen and it looked GREAT!
- Bistro Chicken Mac and Cheese – pasta with white cheese sauce and topped with bacon, crunchy breadcrumbs and sliced chicken.
- Smoked Brisket Quesadillas – brisket with cheddar and jack cheeses, yum!
- Bacon Cheeseburger – the picture in the lobby made our mouths water.
- Cajun-spiced Salmon – chef said this was locally-sourced salmon, nice!
- Chocolate Brownie Sundae – would this be too gooey to eat in the dim light?
- Citrus Berry Stack – citrus cake with berries and buttery crunch topping along with key lime and white chocolate cheese. I was really hoping to fit that one in.
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