After what seemed like years of zoning and construction delays, the much anticipated Movie Tavern is set to debut in Trexlertown. The theater for foodies is scheduled to open Aug. 14.
On Jaindl Land Co. property at 6150 Hamilton Blvd. in Trexlertown, the Movie Tavern bills itself as both a movie theater and a tavern – thus the name.
“You can go to the theater and not eat dinner and you can come eat dinner and not see a movie,” explained Roy Van Horn, district manager for the Texas-based Movie Tavern.
He said the theater and tavern are separate but equal, but are at their best when they’re used together, with servers bringing food from the “chef-inspired” menu and premium cocktails, beer or wine right to a patron’s theater seat.
While there are other theaters that might offer food above and beyond the standard popcorn and candy – which, by the way, Movie Tavern also has – Movie Tavern stands out with the emphasis on providing a full dining and theater experience combined, Van Horn said.
“We think it’s really the wave of the future, combining the magic of the movies with the fun of dining out,” he said.
11 SCREENS, 1,100 SEATS
The theater will show the normal new-release movies that other theaters do on its 11 screens and in front of 1,100 seats in theaters ranging from 47 to 168 seats. It will have 3D screenings of movies, and Van Horn said the theater has all of the latest equipment to display the movies.
The theater also will have special screenings from theater broadcasts to classic movies and even classic children’s movies for the young ones during the day in the summer.
The menu was designed by New York chef Terrance Brennan and features everything from dinner salads to pizza and burgers. Van Horn swears the tavern’s hot wings are the best.
There also are specialty cocktails, craft beer and fine wine for sale, which also is served directly to theater seats if the patron chooses. The staff asks for photo identification from everyone, regardless of age.
One of the biggest questions people have when a new Movie Tavern opens is how the servers get the food and drinks to the seats without disrupting a movie.
First, Van Horn said, he suggests that people arrive in their reserved seats about a half-hour before the movie starts. That way the lights are on and the menu is easier to read.
The servers try to get the bulk of the food to the patrons before the movie begins.
For seconds or drink refills, he said, all servers are given extensive training on what the company calls “silent service,” which includes quietly whispering questions in a patron’s ear and servicing the table on one knee to not block anyone’s view.
“It’s very non-intrusive and quiet,” Van Horn said.
ONLINE, APP TICKETING
The theater doesn’t have a box office.
Van Horn said with modern online and app ticket ordering, a box office isn’t really needed. For patrons who aren’t able to print tickets at home or office – all seats are chosen and reserved in advance – there are computer terminals in the lobby where tickets can be printed.
He said one of the main goals is to eliminate the long lines and rush to get into the theater. He said he wants people to be able to mingle and relax and enjoy a drink before a movie, not rush in to get the best seats.
“It’s like a neighborhood bar not just waiting in line,” he said.
Van Horn said the Movie Tavern is starting with a staff of about 200 full- and part-time employees. It will have employment levels that vary by season and will have up to 270 people working during busier movie seasons.
While Movie Tavern may be new to the Lehigh Valley, Van Horn notes that the chain has been in existence since 2001 and has been growing in popularity across the nation.
He said he thinks the Movie Tavern is something the people of the Lehigh Valley will enjoy and appreciate.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time. We have a strong background in this,” he said.