Those establishments that offer dinner while you’re watching a movie seem on the surface to be like the perfect date destination for busy parents who are paying by the hour to enjoy a little time off. Rather than choosing dinner OR a movie, you can actually have both, and still be home in less than thirty dollars’ worth of babysitting time. But I think what I was hoping for when I went was something more akin to what I enjoyed back at Indiana University in Bloomington—more than a decade ago (ouch), where such multi-tasking nights out were spent eating and drinking while watching a movie at Bear’s Place, which has long hosted an artsy film series in its rustic back room. Here in North Texas, Movie Tavern and Studio Movie Grill are a lot slicker—these are real movie theaters with office-type swivel chairs and small tables or counters for food. What they have in size and comfort they might be lacking in heart, however: both seems to stick to mainstream movie offerings, and Movie Tavern, in particular, falls short on service. We have been to the Hulen location a few times; the best bet for meatless is a build-your-own pizza (less than $10, depending upon toppings). I had a failed attempt at getting them to make the nachos without ground beef; it seems that special requests are tougher to communicate in these venues. The current online menu indicates that a veggie patty substitute is now available on the burgers (about $8). Call ahead if that’s what you’re hoping for; it seems to have been added to the menu since my last visit, and that is encouraging for vegetarians.
Studio Movie Grill in Arlington feels just a bit more upscale, and they have a few things that are purposely vegetarian on the menu: a black bean burger with sweet potato fries (about $9) and Spinach Mushroom Quesadilla (about $10), plus pizzas (about $9 plus toppings).
While I think I’ll opt for a separate dinner and movie next time, I’m sure that we’ll visit both all-in-one venues again, as my husband enjoys blockbuster movies and I feel like I can be a better sport about action flicks when I have fries and a beer to help me along.