New Alamo Drafthouse Theater In Katy Debuts In July
With the Vintage Park location now a Star Cinema Grill (and the original West Oaks one gone long before that), the only Alamo Drafthouse presence in the Greater Houston area has been constrained to the Mason Road location, a franchise operated by Triple Tap Ventures LLC. Frankly, that location has done its time and is a little worse for wear. So, it’s very good news that the company is moving to a newly constructed building in Katy’s LaCenterra shopping center at 2707 Commercial Center. Fans of the fun, quirky theater chain are about to get the best, most modern iteration of Alamo Drafthouse to-date. It’s set for a soft opening date of July 2 and a grand opening on July 20.
The debut is just in time for Marvel’s “Ant Man & The Wasp” on July 6 and “Mission Impossible — Fallout” on July 27. When the very first Alamo Drafthouse opened in the Greater Houston area (the old West Oaks location), it was notable as being the very first “dine in theater” with real menus and servers who brought dishes to moviegoers in the auditoriums. The new LaCenterra location continues that tradition, with regular menu items (including freshly popped popcorn with real butter, burgers, salads and pizzas), special movie-themed dishes and drinks, movie parties (like the forthcoming “Animal House” party on July 3 and one for “Jaws” on July 8).
However, this new Alamo Drafthouse is seizing the opportunity to expand on the offerings and make service more efficient. An American whiskey program is being added (no word yet on which brands are going to be offered). The theater has long been known for its excellent (albeit slightly pricey) local craft beer selection, including some of the “unicorns” released by Saint Arnold Brewing Company, like the Bishop’s Barrel and Divine Reserve series. The LaCenterra theater, though, is striving to make beer service efficient. There’s a bar with 46 taps in the lobby — but also taps in the big kitchen near the auditoriums. That’s going to make it faster and easier for servers to take care of patrons in their seats.
According to an onsite representative during a media tour, about 30 cooks a night are going to be preparing “700 entrées an hour.” “We’re a complete craft kitchen making everything from scratch: our dressings, our sauces, our dough — we roll it out by hand — and we make flautas from scratch,” she said.
Speaking of seats: all eight auditoriums are outfitted with cushy push-button leather recliners and tray tables. Programming director Robert Saucedo says projection booths are outfitted with, “Sony 4K projectors. Four of them are actually laser projectors. It’s a system that helps ensure you have the clearest image possible. You’re going to see movies the way they are meant to be seen by the filmmaker. We’re excited to be one of the first theaters in the Houston market to have these available for our guests.” There’s a digital surround sound system to match.
The largest auditorium is 139 seats but there are also “micro-theaters of only 50 seats” ideal for hosting private screening events. These are also going to be ideal for limited-release, art house-style films that might not be able to get shown at other venues.
Just like a restaurant, Alamo’s soft-opening period is to train staff and work out any kinks. That’s good news for early guets, as the company is promising discounted food and non-alcoholic beverage specials for the period, which is from July 2 through July 19.
Just in case you’re wondering; a representative at the media preview event says the long-awaited Alamo Drafthouse in Sugar Land is still in the works. According to a court document posted on the Houston Architecture website, the lease agreement for a Montrose-area location in Regent Square, which was first announced in 2013, has been terminated.
Visit the Alamo Drafthouse LaCenterra webpage for the movie schedule (it’s not posted as of press time) or follow its Twitter or Facebook feeds to receive updates. Those who intend to be frequent patrons might consider signing up for the Victory program to get free perks, like movies and food.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.