Marcus Theatres’ new cinema is a restaurant with a side of movies

Sneak preview of the Greendale theater opening June 30 [photo gallery]

The BistroPlex in Greendale.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:12 pm

There is something noticeably missing when you step inside Marcus Theatres’ new eight-screen movie complex, located outside of Southridge Mall in Greendale, which opens June 30.

Instead of the typical large concession stands filled with candy and popcorn at most movie theaters, the Greendale complex has a sleek bar and lounge area where diners receive table side service.

Ticket booths have gone by the wayside, replaced with flat screens making the lobby look more like an Apple store than a traditional movie theater.

This is because the new 40,000-square-foot theater is not a traditional cinema. It is Milwaukee-based Marcus Corp.’s first foray into its BistroPlex concept, a restaurant that serves movies.

“Our goal is to offer people a destination,” said Rob Novak, vice president of food and beverage for Marcus Theatres. “The expectation is for us to raise the bar of what we do. First was stadium seating, then Dream Loungers, now, we are able to provide full food service plus a show.”

Steve Johnson, Marcus Theatres corporate executive chef, crafted the menu, which includes everything from 10 types of “Smash” burgers like $15 The Italian Job, which includes a double smash burger, Italian beef provolone, giardiniera and au jus or you could opt for $22 baked salmon, $11 vegetable stir-fry or a loaded burrito for $14.

Johnson joined Marcus in December, coming from Potawatomi Hotel & Casino where he was the executive sous chef.

The food is prepared in a full-service two-line kitchen. For those who still prefer traditional movie theater snacks, popcorn and candy are still available. But it will be brought to you by a server.

In addition to the food, there are 20 beers on tap, including 15 beers from local breweries and 10 featured craft cocktails including Year-Round Summer for $10 made with Hendrick’s Gin, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, homemade sour mix, cucumbers, mint, club soda, garnished with a cucumber slice and mint sprig.

“We hope people will come in about 30 minutes before their show starts, grab a drink, order their food and just relax a bit,” Novak said.

Novak is hoping to eventually attract people to the BistroPlex who are just coming for the food. The bar has seven flat screen televisions that will be tuned to sports.

For those who love movies, two of the eight screens offer heated DreamLounger leather recliners.

Marcus Theatres has not opened a new cinema in the Milwaukee area in 10 years since the Marcus Majestic Cinema in Brookfield opened. The Marcus Renaissance Cinema in Sturtevant opened n 2006.

Marcus Theatres owns or manages 69 locations in eight states.

Because of the size of the kitchen and the focus on food, the BistroPlex concept could not be adopted at existing theaters, but Novak said if it is successful, he wouldn’t be surprised if it were replicated at new properties.

“We see this as a concept that could be rolled out to other markets if it is successful,” Novak said. “This is truly a restaurant.”

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display