Sneak preview of the Banquet Cinema Pub menu promising
Hunter Wheat and Lacey Pritchard will try to build upon their success founding successful businesses on fellowship with a new movie house and bar.
They caught lightning in a bottle in 2014 with Bleu Garten, an outdoor food truck park at NW 10 between Harvey and Hudson.
Now the duo seeks success indoors with Banquet Cinema Pub, 800 NW 4, which features a pair of 75-seat screening rooms decked out with abbreviated tabletops for ticketholders to set their slices of pizza, craft cocktails and popcorn.
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Residing in 12,750-square-feet once upon a time employed to display Chryslers and Pontiacs, Banquet’s lobby is open and inviting enough many will likely hang out there whether or not they have tickets to a show.
A pair of shuffleboard tables on one side, and cozy enclosed spaces on the other give visitors a reason to stick around to discuss the movie long after the reels have quit running.
The concept aims to open in time for a Oscars watch party, and I was able to pop in for a preview of the kitschy menu of noshes from chef Jeff Patton, previously of Mary Eddy’s at the 21c.
Patton and his crew work in a small kitchen outfitted with a deck oven and a couple induction burners. There is no deep-fat fryer – a blessing if you’re trying to avoid malodorous build-up.
From his deck oven, Patton delivers pizza made from house-made dough he dresses with a variety of toppings, drizzles and sauces.
I tried the Chick N Chong (chicken, bacon, ranch dressing, caramelized onions and a Buffalo sauce made from Fresno chiles), True Grit (speck ham, Taleggio, oregano and Sunshine beer jelly), Field of Dreams (Yukon potato, roasted mushrooms, pickled beets and kale-pistachio pesto), and Pineapple Express (barbecue sauce, pineapple, bacon and jalapeno).
Other offerings include Holy Cheeses! (mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and oregano), Moonstruck (sausage, fennel, basil oil and Calabrian chile oil), and Casablanca (pepperoni, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano).
Pizza are sold by the slice and whole pies. Among those I tried the True Grit and Field of Dreams stood out. Patton’s beer jelly compelled me to sop and swipe until all vestiges of crust were gone. Tallegio is practically sacred cheese. When available, hesitate not.
Pizza crust are thin and tasty, if a little less crisp than I prefer. Be sure to pile up the napkins if you’re taking slices into a theater.
Also tried the Baked Wings, which were tasty thanks to a bath of Patton’s crack-butter sauce. These brawny wings aren’t the crispy, ultra-spicy wings from your favorite old sports bar. The rich butter sauce is lip-smacking but will also require stuffing your pockets with napkins if you’re taking them into the cinema.
Also had a couple of Chili-Cheese Nachos, which are served with Patton’s jailhouse chili, onions and jalapeno with a scoop of sour cream. If you’re a slow eater, you might ask for the chili on the side since it will turn the tortilla chips soft after 10 minutes. Of course, if you’re looking for more of a cheesy chili-pie experience, lean into it. Mix it all up and eat it with a fork.
Everything on the dining menu is under $9 except whole pies, but the best bargain is the popcorn. No, it isn’t sold by the bucket, but it only costs $2. Well, that’s only partially true. For an extra buck you can add crack butter sauce and fresh chives, and there’s no way you want to order the popcorn without it. DEE-licious.
Other snacks include Tasty Bread, which is toasted with garlic butter, Pecorino Romano. The Onion and Poppy Pretzel comes with house-made ground mustard, and beer cheese. Both are served with sweet pickles.
The menu also has a pair of salads and plenty of dessert. Tried the Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie, which was far too delicious for me to continue eating. Seriously. Fresh out of the oven, the house-made cookie was sweet and gooey in the middle, which jelly-legged me.
A rainy, sad autumn mood, a tear-jerker on the screen and the right scoops of Tillamook Ice Cream could provoke a half-dozen cookie incident. Puppy Chow is also on the menu, a blend of Chex Mix, chocolate, and peanut butter sweetened with powdered sugar.
The cocktail menu includes six signatures. I tried the Weekend at Bernie’s and despite my profound hatred for that film franchise, I would definitely throw down $8 for the cocktail bearing its name thanks to New Amsterdam gin, pineapple juice, lavender simple syrup and prosecco.
Wine is sold by the bottle, ranging from $15 to $52 with three wines on tap. More than a dozen beers are available on tap, two rotating. You can even get a pitcher of Coors or Coors Light.
Wheat said the films Banquet shows will be a mix of first-run titles along with classics, which will be celebrated in various ways.
Banquet Cinema Pub is a major addition to the ongoing development west of downtown. Nearby Revolucion, The Flea, and Stonecloud Brewing are all rejoicing.
Nevertheless, there is still plenty more development under way where Midtown and Film Row meet.
The new cinema will operate Tuesday through Sunday. It will close at 11 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. It opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Get updates on the official opening on the Banquet Cinema Pub website.
Jimmy Mays (Café 7) will introduce a new restaurant and lounge called The Hamilton in Northpark Mall later this year … Chef Taylor Desjarlais has left Café Cuvee to join the kitchen at Osteria, the concept from chefs Jonathon Stranger and Fabio Viviani. … Chef Kevin Lee recently left the kitchen at Vast to become Culinary Director for The Social Order Dining Collective. That group brought Fuzzy’s Tacos and Texadelphia to town and also has Seven47 in Norman and The Jones Assembly. Meanwhile, he still has a stake in the fast-casual concept Gogi Go, which will expand into Edmond later this year. Meanwhile, Gogi Go has some new chicken for you to try in its signature bowls and burritos. Instead of grilled chicken, Lee’s menu now offers Korean fried chicken and oven-roasted chicken thighs. …
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