RoadHouse Cinemas, Colorado Springs’ newest movie theater complex, debuts this weekend — a dine-in venue where filmgoers can have food and beverages served to them at their seats while they watch a movie.
The eight-screen complex, which was constructed inside a remodeled Kmart at 3030 N. Nevada Ave., opens for limited hours Saturday and Sunday; a grand opening with additional showtimes takes place Monday. “Unhinged,” “New Mutants” and “Bill & Ted Face the Music” are among the first movies to be shown.
Based in Arizona, RoadHouse Cinemas has similar complexes in Scottsdale and Tucson that are preparing to reopen after several weeks of state-mandated closures because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
RoadHouse had hoped to open in Colorado Springs at the start of the summer, when film studios typically release their blockbuster movies, said Scott Cassell, the company’s operations director. Most new studio releases, however, were delayed, rescheduled or distributed to online streaming services for home viewing after the pandemic led to the closure of movie theaters nationwide.
Now, RoadHouse is ready to open, but at 50% capacity for its 30- to 120-seat auditoriums. State of Colorado orders have capped seating at restaurant dining rooms and other public venues to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Other safety measures also are in place, Cassell said.
Employees and moviegoers must wear masks, and auditoriums will be cleaned after each showing, he said. When moviegoers reserve seats online, a ticketing computer will block adjacent seats from being purchased to create social distancing separation.
“We can’t wait to open,” Cassell said. “We’re having people walk into the theater every single day they see the sign. ‘Hey, when are you guys going to open?’ We personally are feeling a lot of buzz and a lot of excitement from the surrounding community to open.”
RoadHouse’s concept is to provide restaurant-quality food to go along with its first-run, art and classic films. Because of the pandemic, RoadHouse won’t yet have its full menu. But moviegoers still can order burgers, quesadillas, salads, sandwiches, gelato, popcorn and other items, along with local craft beers, wine and cocktails from a full bar.
Food is made in an on-site kitchen, and moviegoers can place orders from their full recliners and have items brought to them during the film, Cassell said. Moviegoers also can eat and hang out in a separate seating area outside the auditoriums that features several big-screen TVs.
RoadHouse’s first week will serve as on-the-job training for employees, he said.
Because workers are likely to make occasional mistakes during the first several days, RoadHouse will offer half-price food and drinks through Thursday, Cassell said. RoadHouse is employing about 60 people to start but plans to double that number once pandemic conditions improve.
A separate entertainment center, called the Rail Yard, will offer duck pin bowling, pingpong, cornhole and other games for moviegoers. Arcade games also are planned, but not until RoadHouse receives a green light from El Paso County Public Health, Cassell said.
RoadHouse’s opening will expand options for local moviegoers. Picture Show at the Citadel Crossing Shopping Center, the Cinemark complex at Powers Boulevard and North Carefree Circle and the Regal InterQuest east of Interstate 25 and InterQuest Parkway reopened Aug. 21; Cinemark Tinseltown opened earlier in the month.
Kimball’s Peak Three Theater, the independent theater 115 E. Pikes Peak Ave. in downtown Colorado Springs that had planned to reopen next week, accelerated its reopening to Friday.
RoadHouse’s opening marks another step forward in the redevelopment of the aging Fillmore Marketplace shopping center, northwest of Nevada and Fillmore Street.
Kmart, which had anchored Fillmore Marketplace for years, closed in April 2018. Since then, shopping center owner Hall Equities Group of California has pursued a makeover of the property. A VASA Fitness Center opened in October on the north side of the former Kmart building. A 90-room Home 2 Suites by Hilton hotel is planned for the shopping center’s northeast corner. New tenants also are planned for a 10,000-square-foot, free-standing retail building on the property’s north side, and a new 6,000-square-foot multitenant building will be constructed along Nevada, on the site’s east side.