Dinner in a Movie: Showplace Icon Theater

Could we have something like this in Oak Park?

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By David Hammond

ShowPlace ICON Theater is located in The Roosevelt Collection, a downtown location that feels oddly secluded and out of the way. It’s on Roosevelt Road near Clark, and it’s set back from the street, giving it a private feel. Parking is free, which is always good, and it helps offset the VIP upcharge, which is assessed for those who want to chow down while they watch the movie. Or you can take the Green Line from Oak Park and get off about a few blocks from the theater.

Pricing is like this: for the weekday matinee, it was $10 general admission or $15 for VIP seating, which offers the bigger seats and the opportunity to bring in food from lounge to the theater before or while the movie is playing.

The lounge is demonstrably Jerry Kleiner (large geometric lights, the reds, the drama and flash), who owns and has designed Chicago restaurants like Carnivale and Gioco, as well as the late Marche.

The menu at ShowpPace ICON Theater is geared toward what can reasonably be eaten in the dark: finger food, small bites, nothing that really needs to be eaten with a plate. Although they used to serve patrons at their seats in this theater, our server said they had to stop because “people complained about being disturbed” by servers bringing  in food. Sheesh.

We got the Margherita pizza.  It lacked the softer crust of the authentic Neapolitan pizza, but that was fine with me as it was good to have a somewhat harder baked crust when you’re leaning back in the seats without a table directly in front of you.

Our server brought the pizza and beers to our seats (the movie hadn’t started yet).

Now, here’s a problem and a solution. When you get a pair of seats in the VIP section, you get a small little table separating the two seats, with space for your drinks, which is convenient. But between each pair of seats is a much larger table that separates each pair of seats, and this table is more suitable for putting down food and sharing.

When I go to Icon again, I’ll make sure I get tickets for unpaired seats that flank these larger tables. As we sat down, a younger guy and his girlfriend walked by our seats and we had this brief conversation.

ME: What’s with these little tables between the seats?

YOUNGER GUY: That’s so you can cuddle?

ME: Cuddle? I’m trying to eat over here!

The seats are, indeed, comfortable, and they go a long way toward justifying the VIP upcharge, as does the sharpest image and cleanest sound I can remember seeing/hearing in a movie theater. We saw “Water for Elephants,” which is a good cuddling movie (which you actually can’t do even if you weren’t eating and wanted to; that little table is actually an effective barrier: romantics you are forewarned).

My ordering strategy next time might be different, too. I saw a couple of ladies who seemed to have the right idea: bacon popcorn and a bottle of white wine, which comes in a metal wine cooler container. Nursing a bottle of wine seems like a good way to spend a few hours at the movies, and about half the bottles are under $30.

The Lake Theater is one of the best reasons to live in Oak Park. Still, it would be very cool if the Lake Theater could devote one screen to an “eat in your seats” movie-going experience. Would you go to the Lake more often if you could grab an actual dinner – or just some drinks – at your seats?

 

ShowPlace ICON Theatre

150 W. Roosevelt Rd

Chicago, IL 60605

Located just west of the intersection of Clark and Roosevelt Rd

Phone: 312.564.2104

 

 

Reader Comments

2 Comments - Add Your Comment

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David Hammond from Oakpark.com/Dining/Blogs  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 7:38 PM

I ate Junior Mints every summer night when I was 13 (they're cooling), and I still like them. If you're going for popcorn at ShowPlace, you can have Bacon Popcorn, which for 5 bucks is way worth it.

Chris  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 12:07 PM

Nope - not interested in eating anything more than junior mints or popcorn while enjoying a film.

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