2010-12-22 / Front Page

Edison movie theater debuts dine-in service

Guests can eat dinner, have cocktails at newly remodeled auditoriums
BY KATHY CHANG Staff Writer

AMC Loews Menlo Park employees help guests on hand during a Dec. 14 VIP night showcasing the new dine-in movie theater concept. Left: Servers await their first customers outside the auditoriums. PHOTOS BY ERIC SUCAR staff AMC Loews Menlo Park employees help guests on hand during a Dec. 14 VIP night showcasing the new dine-in movie theater concept. Left: Servers await their first customers outside the auditoriums. PHOTOS BY ERIC SUCAR staff EDISON — A streamlined date night is how Pam Baur of Hightstown looks at the new AMC Menlo Park 12 Dine-In Theatre, which opened up in the Menlo Park Mall on Dec. 15.

“This is a cool idea,” she said. “Usually you might miss half the movie because the baby sitter may be late, or you have to leave the restaurant early because the service is too slow … Here you get to enjoy a movie and have dinner in one place.”

Baur brought her husband to preview the redesigned theaters on Dec. 14 along with other invited guests. They got to enjoy dinner with a free screening of “The Tourist.”

Edison Mayor Antonia Ricigliano, members of her administration, council President Charles Tomaro and Councilman Robert Karabinchak were among those on hand to welcome the reopening of the theater.

The AMC Menlo Park 12 theater has 190 employees and offers meal-and-a movie options inside 12 newly renovated auditoriums, as well as a bar and lounge. Movie-goers can order from menus available at their seats by pressing a call button for a server. The server delivers the check before the end of the film.Lynn Morris of South Plainfield said she thought the dine-in theater concept was “interesting.”

“It’s very nice to be here,” she said.

Victoria De Guzman and Susan Aragon, both of Woodbridge, said they thought the concept was “awesome.”

“It’s a different experience and new to the Edison and Woodbridge area,” said De Guzman. “It’s a big area and the seats recline all the way, and the order price is just $10.”

Sun Dee Larson, vice president of film and product marketing for American Multi- Cinema Inc., said the traditional theaters in Edison closed in late June to start renovations for the dine-in theater.

The Edison location is the third of its kind to open in New Jersey. AMC Dine-In Theatres are already operating in Bridgewater and West Orange. The company has also opened theaters in Grapevine, Texas, Atlanta, Ga., Olathe, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. “We thought we would test it out near the biggest city in the country,” said Larson, noting that the company has received positive feedback about the theaters. “This area is such a big market and a place we can really gauge the responses. It has really done well for us.”

AMC Theatres, a leading exhibition and entertainment company, is based in Kansas City.

“We are on an aggressive conversion schedule and expect to have 40 theaters open up across the country,” Larson said.

The menus at all of the company’s theaters nationally are similar, she said, though some places might have a specialty drink related to the state. New Jersey does not have one as of yet.

Larson said guests are encouraged to arrive early to movie screenings, though it is not necessary.

“Our employees are trained to take orders in a way where it does not become intrusive to other guests,” she said.

AMC Menlo Park offers both Cinema Suites upscale dining and Fork & Screen casual dining theaters.

The three Cinema Suites auditoriums feature premium, upscale in-theater dining, reserved seating luxury recliners, up to 9 feet of row spacing, and an extensive menu, including specialties such as bleu cheese chips, blackened salmon and lobster ravioli served on unique swivel tables via seat-side service.

Cinema Suite guests must be at least 21 years old.

“The layout is similar to service on an airplane,” said Larson.

There are nine Fork & Screen auditoriums for casual in-theater dining, with upgraded reserved seating, and an extensive menu, including crab Rangoon dip, Thai coconut chicken tenders and chocolate loving spoon cake served via seat-side service. Guests must be at least 18 years old, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian who is at least 21 years old.

MacGuffins, a full-service bar and lounge area in the theater, is named for a term coined by famed filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. It features a variety of beers, wines, cocktails and a selection of appetizers and desserts.

Tickets are $10 for an adult movie plus a $15 experience charge for Cinema Suites. Fork & Screen theater admission is $10 for an adult, plus a $10 experience charge. The $15 and $10 experience charges are deducted from meal purchases in the auditorium.

Larson said moviegoers still have the chance to order the traditional popcorn and candy.

“There’s just additional options such as steak tips to go with the order,” she said.

For more information about AMC Dine-In Theatres, visit www.amctheatres.com/dinein.

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