Patrons get first taste of new dine-in theater

By Bryan Richardson

No longer do Manhattan residents have to decide whether to eat before or after the movie.

Carmike Town Center 13 had its first full day of operations Friday.

“It’s nice to see the finished product for sure,” general manager Martin Platz said. “People seemed to be pretty enthused by the Ovation side of the building.”

The Ovation Cinema Grill auditoriums feature servers who bring food to audience members as they watch a movie. The five Ovation auditoriums have fully reclining seats. The theater also has one IMAX auditorium and eight regular auditoriums.

General manager Martin Platz said just under 1,000 people attended the Thursday night premiere of ‘Rogue One’ at the new Manhattan Town Center theater.

With Town Center 13 open, Carmike Seth Child 12 started its run Friday as a discount theater showing older movies released this year such as ‘Sully’ and ‘The Secret Life of Pets.’

Now, some things at the new theater are still the same as the old. For the fans of the Stimulus Tuesday specials, that is still a part of the new theater.

However, the experience is different, particularly if you’re going to an Ovation auditorium, which has 106 reserved seats in each auditorium.

For one, having reserved seats means it’s better to buy and select them in advance rather than waiting until you get to the theater, especially if you’re in a group. Tickets are sold in the concession stand or at kiosks next to the lobby doors. It’s also not just beer and wine anymore. There’s a full bar with cocktails, martinis and margaritas available.

However, you must get a wristband from either the concession stand or the bar if you want to drink in the Ovation theater.

Only state IDs are accepted to verify if someone is 21 or older and can get a wristband.

“If it’s my grandmother, and I know she’s 80 years old, I’m still going to ID her,” assistant manager Heather Emberry said.

Emberry said the operation has 60 to 70 employees outside of the managers, head chef and bartender.

However, she said the theater is still looking for more employees. This became apparent when Emberry filled in as a waitress during the 5 p.m. Friday showing of ‘Rogue One.’

If you want a server, you push a button in the front of your seat when you’re ready to order.

The menu includes burgers, quesadillas, tacos, sandwiches, wraps, flatbread pizza, salads, appetizers and desserts.

Pricing wise, the fullsized meals are mostly in the $11 to $13 range, and the theater adds a 17 percent gratuity on purchases in the auditorium.

Fans of the trailer portion of the movie experience might not be happy as most interactions with the servers happen during this time. However in a mostly full auditorium, it appeared that everyone received their food and paid by the time the movie started. You can still press a button to reach your server during the movie, so it can be a bit of a distraction from the movie itself. Sara and Ben Thomas and Kathleen Elliott attended the 5 p.m. showing of ‘Rogue One’ and had good things to say about the theater. “The food was good,” Elliott said. Like the theater itself, the trio were new to town. Sara and Elliott had started at the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall. They had been to a dine-in theater previously, having gone to Alamo Drafthouse in Springfield, Missouri.

“It was pretty good,” Sara said about the experience Friday. “They might have some kinks to work out.” They thought the service could’ve been smoother but understood it was the first day.

“The theater was really nice,” Ben said. “I liked the chairs. They were really comfortable.”

They recommended the theater, but what about the movie? “Oh yeah,” Ben said. “It’s great.”

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