NORWICH — The Colonia Theater and Nina's Pizzeria have teamed up to offer a new experience to their customers: dinner and a movie hosted on the second floor of the movie theater.
"We run into a lot of it where they’ll go over to Nina’s and they’ll sit down and eat and they’re running to get to the movies, or they bring their food with them a lot of times, cold, to the movies," explained Colonia Theater Owner Rich Barnes. "So this is going to kind of combine them together and see how this is going to go. We think it’ll work, we think it will make it easier for our patrons."
The first event is scheduled for Thursday, June 30, and will feature the newly released Jurassic World: Dominion film. Barnes said the doors will open at 5 p.m., with dinner served around 5:30, and the movie set to begin at 6:30.
Food will be prepared and served by Nina's in a buffet style, with menu items themed around the movie. Hors d'oeuvres and a drink for each patron will also be provided, and alcoholic beverages will be available at a cash bar provided by Nina's.
"Halfway through the movie we’re going to have an intermission so everybody can get up and stretch their legs, go to the bathroom, get another drink if they want from the cash bar that Nina’s is going to be running over there as well," said Barnes. "We will be handing out popcorn as well when the movie starts."
He added that plenty of table space for the meals will be available in the upstairs theater, from bench seating in the front to added tables, and the tables installed in the center seating area.
"The center section has tables and you have the bench seating down front. We are actually going to set up some tables out on the floor, and after they’re done eating when the movie starts they can go up and sit in the red original chairs in the theater, the red ones that have been reupholstered. So they can move around and sit wherever they want," he said.
The Colonia and Nina's have already been hard at work preparing for their first event, and even did a small trial dinner and movie to see how it worked for customers and what needed to be changed.
"We did a dry run like this last month. A select few people just to see how it ran, and that’s where they said, well, you know, you ought to have an intermission in the middle of it, and we needed more time for the meal and for people to mingle too as well. So we had just a handful of couples up there and did kind of a dry run to see how it worked," he said. "We are going to be open to any suggestions moving forward."
The Dinner and a Movie events are open to both adults and children, and Barnes said they hope to continue to put on an event every month.
"It’s for adults and kids. I mean, each parent, it’s up to their discretion on the movies that we bring up there," said Barnes. "We hope to be setting it up so we can be doing this once a month on like the third Thursday, or something like that. That schedule may change a little bit, but that’s what we’re looking at doing."
"If Hollywood keeps going the way they’re going with three week minimums and we’ve got a lot of new movies coming out, we may start opening up that upstairs to actually do just a regular movie as well. We’re looking into having that third theater completely open as well."
Tickets to Dinner and a Movie are $45 per person, and space is limited to 80 attendees. Barnes said tickets will be going on sale this week, and will be available for purchase at the Colonia Theater, Nina's Pizzeria, and on the Colonia Theater website, thecoloniatheater.com.
Updates about future Dinner and a Movie events can be found at thecoloniatheater.com and on The Colonia Theater Facebook page.