My first two visits to the Studio Movie Grill have been as guests of SMG for events for the blog. The two previous visits have been for VIP events in which I truly felt and was treated like a VIP. Before I shared another visit I thought perhaps I should check out the theater without it being a special event and what a a visit during a lazy afternoon would reveal. On Sunday afternoon, my family and I returned to the Studio Move Grill in Upper Darby and here is our of our experience in listicle form.
- Get to the theater early
Our movie was scheduled to begin at 4:45 and we arrived at 4:30. We had to wait for the third person in our party so we didn’t get seated until the credits were rolling. After perusing the menu and figuring out orders it took us all of the previews and the first few minutes of the movie to see get settled.
Earlier visits found us seated in the theater well before our movie was to begin which meant we had time to look through the menu, discuss options and make our meal selections without being interrupted by a server. I overheard a cashier tell someone they can be seated up to 30 minutes before the scheduled start of their movie so that may be the way to go if I want to dine and movie watch in peace.
- Parking is dicey
There is a lot behind the theater but no access to the theater from the lot or to the lot from the theater. You can take your chance at a meter (the Upper Darby meter maids are relentless) or take your chances with the lot which is semi-well lit but access is not convenient. This is troublesome; if you are trying to book it to the movie then you need to plan your arrival time accordingly.
- Movie tickets prices are pretty reasonable.
Movies starting before noon are $5. Movies beginning before 5pm are $7 and movies after five are $9. Students showing a valid ID get in for the $7 ticket price.
Also, children under 18 are not allowed in the theater without an adult, a practice I am totally ok with (although I would like to be able to drop The Bee and her friends off but whatevs).
- There is a gratuity of 17.5 percent service charge added to all checks.
Frankly, I don’t know that my service was worth 17% of my check. I will allow the 6% tax that I have to pay for the privilege of hot food but was visit really worth 17%?
Let’s see…our server greeted us by informing us that she would help but wasn’t really our server (OK?). She sort of explained the “2 for $25 special” which we initially dismissed. However, once we realized that we WERE ordering food which would qualify for the special there was a moment when she had to input all of the orders in again and errors were made to the check. The appetizer, a bowl of edemame was served AFTER our entrees. Also, there is something a little off putting about being engaged in the movie and being interrupted with questions about your meal, being served and asking if you want anything else.
- The food is good, but…
In the past my food was served to order. During this visit the food was a bit rushed, my friend’s chicken tenders were anything but. The Bee ordered ribs and said that her food was not filling, she left quite a bit on her plate. I can’t complain; I ordered the BBQ Burger with fries, and aside from my edamame being served AFTER my entrée, was pleased.
- Bring a sweater.
I don’t know what is up with this theater but it is cold! I know theaters are cold but this place is like polar bear club cold.
- Most of the staff are on the ball.
We were greeted by very friendly staffers, a very pleasant ticket taker, a wonderfully chatty elevator operator but the servers in the theater left a little to be desired. There was an error with my bill (I was charged for two ice teas; no big deal but I wanted the charge off) and there was confusion about how to fix the error. After complaining twice a manager finally managed to straighten things out. Also our server was just, OK. After the degree of service I experienced on previous visits I did not expect anything less. This visit left me feeling like maybe movie night will be movie only and extras else where.
I am thrilled that there is a theater close enough to home to see the newest releases and without a bunch of kids fooling around in the theater it may be fun to see a movie on the big screen instead of waiting for it to come to DVD. I do like eating while watching a movie and with the variety of menu items know there are options for a quick snack or a full meal.
I am looking forward to some of the special screenings that are available. There are special pricings and movie screenings for Date Night, Girls Night Out, Family Rewind Shows and more. The above are attached to the Upper Darby theater but there are other theaters around the country also showing these special movies.
I will admit that I was spoiled during my first two visits to the theater but will not dismiss Studio Movie Grill as a place to chill and meet up with friends. It’s local, it’s close by and with a little planning, can be a great night.
Save me some popcorn,