Yep, that's right. In Los Angeles, for example, there's a restaurant where you can pay for the experience of eating a meal entirely sans lights. Opaque offers a prix fixe dinner of fairly standard new American cuisine at $99 a person (plus tax, minus beverages). Sound gimmicky? That's up to you to decide. But for the same experience, plus a movie, at less than half the price, there's a Colorado option: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
The concept is simple. You watch a movie in a stadium seating theater while mutant waiters with night vision bring you food, drinks and adult milkshakes at your slightest whim. (Most of that is true.) The Alamo, with 20 locations around the country, isn't exactly local; but they manage to stay away from the tired, depressing sameness that makes some chains hardly worth a review. On the contrary, the personality the Alamo has branded themselves with is quirky, eclectic, in-your-face and even a little sassy.
Walk into the warehouse-sized building in Littleton and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how calm the lobby of this theater is. No arcade games, no plain-Jane concession stands, no screaming kids. Just dim, moody lighting; vintage wallpaper decorated with movie posters; a ticket booth; and a chandelier constructed from abominable snowmen (see picture).
That's because on the reg, babies are strongly discouraged; and cell phone disruptions are downright out of the question. As in, they will throw you out. Mind you, that's based on hearsay. The pre-movie video informs you of their zero tolerance policy, but I've never actually seen someone get kicked out. I'd sure like to though.
Whatever movie you come to see, chances are you're there 50 percent for the novelty of being able to eat while you watch it. At least that was the case for me, my husband and my husband's parents when we all trekked down to Littleton to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Wondering how it is? Sorry, you won't find out here; this is a food review, people.
With your dinner in mind, it's a good idea to show up to your movie 30 minutes or so early, so you can get to your seats, flag down a waiter and order food and drinks while there's still a little bit of light in the theater. The waiters are just the cutest, nicest people, by the way. The southern lady in me always wants to pinch their cheeks and call them sweetheart, but I'm never sure how that would go over.
Now, I won't tell you how the whole ordering thing works because that would rob your server of the pleasure; but I will tell you what you should get.
Herbivores, rabbits, the salads are pretty impressive. The Mexican and Greek-inspired salads both include a good mix of ingredients and unique little touches like matchsticks of jicama and fried chickpeas that set these salads several stories above your average bowl of roughage.
Meat lovers, the burgers are great too. They've always come out perfectly cooked for us; and the flavor combinations are once again pleasing and unique. Try the avocado pesto mashup, which also comes with garlic hummus; or the prosciutto and goat cheese pairing. I think I've made it pretty clear by now that the food at Alamo is not your average fare. I mean, seriously, jicama! Who does that?!
The only weird part is the semi-darkness. Light enough to see outlines and shapes and muted colors, but too dark to make out any details about what exactly you're eating. The thought crossed my mind as I dug my fork around in a dim bowl of salad – I could be eating anything. But that didn't stop me from eating every last bite and enjoying it too. I have enough faith in my taste buds that the high-quality tastes I was experiencing were in reality from high-quality ingredients. I did manage to snap one picture...
Yeah... no. I lied. I didn't take a picture. I figured the cell phone policy applied to cameras too, and I didn't want the first person thrown out of the theater while I was there to be me. I also want to stay on good terms with the management, because Alamo has officially ruined me for movies the regular way and I plan on going back quite a few more times.