With five locations in Tarrant County, Movie Tavern has already staked its claim as one of the most prolific dinner-and-movie theater chains on the western side of D-FW. As of March 3, its Bedford outpost flaunts a massive face-lift.
Danny DiGiacomo, V.P. of marketing for Movie Tavern, says local movie goers' enthusiasm made the H-E-B community a natural fit for an upgrade as the national brand embarks on rapid expansion throughout the country.
Located within the Shops at Central Park center -- in close proximity to its former building, which closed on Feb. 22 -- the newly constructed Movie Tavern faces a busy highway that connects Euless, Bedford and Hurst near D-FW International Airport. The area has been a hotbed for Movie Tavern's success; but, while the company is expanding quickly in other states, DiGiacomo says it's unlikely it will move east in D-FW for the time being.
There's something about Tarrant County, and its northern neighbor Denton County, that just works.
"Bedford has been a great market for us; they love the Movie Tavern concept, and as the brand grew, we knew we needed the sort of facility that could meet that demand," he says.
How big is it?
At 55,000 square-feet, the newly constructed building almost doubles the old one's footprint. In fact, it's "huge new kitchen" is the largest among the 22 Movie Tavern locations nationwide, DiGiacomo adds. In addition, it features 10 screens, versus the old building's 8, with varying capacities ranging from 60-175 seats. Regardless of size differences, each theater features full bar and dining services at the touch of a button located on the table in front of each seat.
The larger space also meant an increase in staff and training. The new building, which employs about 150 full- and part-time employees, opened softly on Feb. 25 to ensure processes were in order before the official ribbon cutting Thursday night.
What makes it special?
Like competitors within the "eatertainment" industry, Movie Tavern serves full meals, alcoholic beverages and classic movie snacks, quietly delivered to diners while they watch a movie. It features primarily first-run films, with select special programming. For example, the "Breakfast and a Flick" series pairs a special menu featuring pancakes, eggs, bacon and other breakfast favorites, including mimosas and bloody marys, with current films on weekend mornings. The "Retro Cinema" series focuses on popular favorites like E.T. or Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and the "Tavern Arts" series (only at the Hulen location, locally) shows operas and classic films in partnership with Turner Classic Movies.
When it comes to food, it's made "mostly from scratch, including healthy and reduced-gluten options," a release says, and menu prices are competitive with other cinema-dining experiences. The beer selection features mostly macrobrews, with a few exceptions, but there is certainly one feature of note: the Movie Tavern refillable tanker, a 42 oz. take-home stein, can be filled on future visits. That's about three and a half beers for $10-14, depending on what you're drinking.
Don't forget about comfort. Staying on industry trend, the new Bedford location -- like the similarly renovated Green Oaks one in Arlington -- features recliners with individual tabletops.
One place where Movie Tavern really stands out: at $8.75 each, adult evening ticket prices, which like all tickets can be reserved in advance online, are about $2-3 less than most first-run movie theaters in the area. As DiGiacomo puts it:
"The great thing is, we're a premium experience, but we don't have a premium price. That's the best way to see a movie."