Tuesday, August 30, 2011

{AMC Dine-In Theatres: A Preview of Esplanade 14}

Last night, Chris & I had the privilege of touring the AMC's new and improved theater in Phoenix. Located at the Shops at the Esplanade, the theater has been closed for the past couple of months, enough time to completely revamp the location. Now a dine-in theater, you can order a full menu of appetizers, dinner items, drinks (alcoholic or not) & desserts during your movie. Cool, right?

Our visit started in the lobby, where we were offered drinks & any food while we waited for the tour to begin. The wide open space was designed to be a destination in itself before your movie, a great meeting place that invites you to show up on time or even early. There are high-top seating areas and oversized chairs, TVs that play current sports games, and the full bar "MacGuffins" is stocked to grab a drink before you head in to your show.

We sipped & glanced over the menu. The theater still carries traditional boxes of candy moviegoers have come to love, but I have to admit I was so impressed by the other menu offerings that I didn't even consider my favorite box of Junior Mints. 

When we started the tour, we first met the theaters' head chef who gave us the run down of food offerings, and the thought process behind many of the selections. The items are generally bite-sized or finger friendly to cut down on the effort it takes to eat in the dark. They offer fries, onion rings & chicken tenders for the beer crowd, salad wedge bites, flat bread pizzas, grilled sandwiches and even side salads for visitors to enjoy. Thoughtfully, the theater chose to serve their food items on bamboo dishware to cut down on any clanking or awful metal-on-metal screeching during your movie. Smart.

And then came these seats.

Five of the auditoriums are Cinema Suites, which are exclusively for the 21+ crowd. Alcohol is served during the movie so you can sip a specialty cocktail during a chick flick on girls night out, or a glass of wine on date night to help ease the hand holding pressure. The menu offers additional special items like lobster ravioli and blackened salmon...and the seats are ridiculous. They recline.

The high walls shield waiters from blocking everyone's view as they deliver food, and plush chair/loveseats make for a home-like setting. These auditoriums may not offer as many seats as your average theater, but oh it is worth it.

Continuing on, we were taken over to the Fork & Screen side to experience what the other nine auditoriums were like. With much more seating, it is the family-friendly portion of the theater for ages 18+ or accompanied by an adult. They showed Pirates of the Caribbean, and invited us to order anything we wanted off the menu to try. 

So we did!

 {wonton crisps with crab rangoon dip}

{chicken tenders with parmesan cheese fries}

 {tuscan pepperoni pizzetta with marinara}

 And the grand finale...

{cupcake duo - red velvet & vanilla bean}

The food was very good. Chris enjoyed his chicken tenders, and I really liked the wonton crisps. I will say I felt a bit awkward eating them, since the crunch was so loud! I'd probably opt to order something quieter next time, but they were very tasty. Aside from my obvious favorite, the cupcakes, the pizza came in a very close second. The crust was fantastic! Not to mention, our server Dericka was so nice, accommodating and knowledgeable!

Overall the evening was very enjoyable. AMC Theatres treated us to the movie showing, food & drinks, but I'd still recommend this theater to my friends and will definitely be back. Considering the level of attention you will receive during your visit, the tickets are well worth the $6-15 price. Reserve your seats early, this location opens on Sept. 7!


  1. We're going to a preview night this Friday, and I can't wait!

  2. Wow , that's a huge cinema, so cool!! I love the seats ;)


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