Friday, March 14, 2014

Studio Movie Grill SMG, Charlotte, NC Epicenter Review-Dinner and A Movie

Studio Movie Grill SMG, Charlotte, NC Epicenter Review
Looking for something new to do in Charlotte? Well if you've heard of the Epicenter but never had a chance to visit. I urge you to check out the Studio Movie Grill located inside the Epicenter.
I was first introduced to this theater when my sister gifted my child a viewing of "The Hunger Games, Catching Fire" for her birthday. Both were ecstatic about the experience, so I knew this would be perfect for my mothers birthday outing. I let her pick the movie and honestly, after she reviewed the website and I purchased our tickets, she could barely wait for the day!
The Studio Movie Grill is not just any movie theater. It is a dinner theater. Meaning you can leave your pastrami sandwich at home because this place has a fully stocked bar and a full menu to order from. And what's one of the nicest perks of watching a movie here: Everything on the menu is delivered to your seat! As well as anything made at the bar. So grandma can nurse her high ball, the men can enjoy their beer and the girls night out ladies can have their fancy cocktails if they choose to. Or visa versa.  
Food is more on the scale of a sports pub and prices are about the same as if we ate at Chili's. On the menu, I saw pizzas, sandwiches, salads, appetizers and plenty more to choose from. Along with desserts and specialty drinks. But again, you can purchase any adult beverage you would normally get at any bar.
I'll run down a few things here which you may wish to know....
Order your tickets online and pick your seats ahead of time, If you have printed your tickets out at home, you will need to go to the 2nd floor kiosk - enter your confirmation number or scan the bar code to have your actual tickets printed out. The have a 100% seating guarantee.
Walk ins will go to the 2nd floor to the ticket booth. I believe you will pick your seats here as well, as they will let you know what's still available.
3rd floor is the bar area and the entrance to the actual theater.
There's an escalator connecting both floors within the theater that your kids will enjoy riding with it's blue glow lights.  
If you are worried about parking in the city, don't be, there is a parking garage underneath the Epicenter . AND if you bring your parking ticket into the theater, you can have it validated on the 2nd floor for up to a 4 hour visit.
Do not make the mistake of forgetting to validate your ticket or you will have to pay for that convenient parking space.
We arrived super early so we had time to sit down in the bar area for some great conversation, cocktails and much needed time to look through the menu ahead of time.
Studio Movie Grill has great seats no matter where you sit. If you enjoy sitting close to the screen, they looked like bucket seats that recline a bit further. Obviously, the best seats would be the middle upper sections. These 4 seat clusters consists of two love seat type chairs so a party of 2 or 4 can sit together.  They are individual seats, but the arm rest can go up if you feel like snuggling, or not- guess that depends on who you're with. LOL  
All upper seats have the arm chair swing top table and cup holder. I don't know about the lower section but would believe they do as well. These are a bit bigger than normal theater seats so you'll find these quiet comfortable. The cup holder is in the most odd location though, to get to your cup you will have to continually swing your tray because your cup goes under it. Very odd and awkward.  For me, I would have preferred the cup holder to be contained within the tray. It was just hard to make sure I didn't swing my food off my tray to get my drink. Honestly didn't seem to be a problem for anyone else in my party so next time I think I'll just hold my drink. LOL
I would comfortably compare the prices to eating at a Chili's Restaurant. You can find their menu posted online or click here. You can order anything on the menu from appetizers, entrees, desserts, drinks and yes, even popcorn. ( Which my sister swears is the best popcorn she ever had in her entire life. I don't eat popcorn, so I don't personally know).
I had a steak sandwich with some sort of wine dipping sauce. It was pretty good. Although I noticed it wasn't tagged as a SMG favorites. Now I normally don't eat fries, call me what you will, but I don't. However I did taste a few and was surprised these seasoned fries were quiet good. You can even order a side of queso cheese if you wish.
Below is my meal:
Sadly, my entire meal was ice cold when it arrived, even those seasoned fries. It must have been waiting on the rest of our order to be completed. But when I whispered the issue to my waitress, she was so apologetic and to my pleasant surprise, actually replaced my entire meal.  
On your swing top table there is a call button. This lights up to let the waitress know to on come by during the movie. You can get drink refills or place an order at any time during the movie. But beware, your elbow can easily hit it without even knowing it.
The movie we saw was NON STOP with Liam Neeson.
More on this later.
Only thing I could even remotely wish to change.
When does the bill arrives? 30 minutes before the movie ends. It is announced on screen before the movie begins and it is stated that they want it paid for at that time. So be forewarned. I think this is the only thing I would find issue with.
It may be just me but when you have 30 minutes left of a movie, its just about the point when things start to come together. I may be at the edge of my seat, with a wide-eyed stare, trying to follow along without missing a beat.  Yes, this is when I want my bill. I want someone to step in and present my bill so I have to look down, missing those two words in that scene, rumble through my purse looking for my card. Err. But I suspect there are very good reasons they do it this way... Ever heard of dine and dash?  Yeah, not everyone is very nice in this world of ours so the rest of us pay for their behavior. Next time I'll keep my card handy.
Immediately afterward, we are planning another trip. My mother said it was the best time she ever had at the movies and the movie had us at the edge of our seats, eating our dinner and enjoying our drinks. It's definitely a place I would recommend as you can see here
The best perk about this movie theater is that you are able to reserve your seats in advance. I just can't say enough about this. They call it their 100% guaranteed seating. It's amazing not to have to rush to the theater just to try to find a seat... "Outa my way lady!"

No more pushing, no more shoving. No more searching for a seat in the dark and having your viewing party split up because you can get 4 seats together. Makes me a whole lot, less stressed. Therefore it generates a more pleasurable viewing experience. And it's got my mothers seal of approval, so I'm thrilled!
Great seats-Theater small enough to enjoy from all seats
Food Tray
Adult Drinks
Seat Side Service
Call Button
In house fully stocked bar
Parking is Validated for up to 4 hours
Nobody's head in the way. (Stairs are steeper than traditional theaters)
Timing of Bill-30 minutes before movie ends.
Cup Holder needs a new location. ( LOL Ok, I'll just hold it next time. LOL )
The concept of dinner and movie combined into one is not new. I remember way back in 1985 going to see Rambo in a dinner theater in Daytona Florida while on vacation. Yeah, I was suckered into that one.

And although I know, but have yet to visit,  there is one up in Davidson NC called Our Town Cinemas, which features four screens, adjustable seats, and bistro tables for every two seats. I may just try that one too. But for now SMG has my business.
No matter if your young or old, are on a date, a family outing or just hanging with friends, the Studio Movie Grill can be considered a pleasant surprised and easily worked into your uptown plans. There are many different things to do inside the Epicenter. There are bars with live music and one with dueling pianos (Howl at the Moon); restaurants in many different ranges from pizza to sit down: a bowling alley and the Charlotte Checkers, Bobcats Arena, Blumenthal are all about a block away as well as Museums. And a few more blocks away is Discovery Place and Imaginon. Which is always first on any child's list!
So in the end, we have made plans to go again. Next time having dinner at one of my favorite uptown restaurants and then on to enjoy a movie and dessert at the SMG. And we've made plans to go as an entire family and take the kids as well. Which will be a stress free outing when it comes to finding seats together now.
So there you have it, if you ever thought about going, or are just learning of this type of movie theater, now may be the time to grab your better half and enjoy an evening out!
*Remember when you are booking your tickets online that it is called Epicenter, NOT Citycenter. Heck, I don't even know where that is. Oh, wait, is that VEGAS?!
*You WILL be charged an extra 1.50 ticket booking fee to every ticket purchased. No way around it.
Here's their video that explains the entire experience of Studio Movie Grill, click here
PS. this, in their video, is not the one at the Epicenter, but similar.

Adult Non-Peak Evening $10.25Adult Peak Evening $10.25
Adult Matinee $7.50Before Noon $6.00
Child (10 and under) $7.00Student (11+ with ID) $7.50
Senior (55+) $7.50Midnight Screening $10.25
3D Experience Charge $3.00
Studio Movie Grill




  1. Groupon regularly has tickets for Studio Movie Grill or $5 - $6 each. Also RetailMeNot . com has a code for $5

    1. Yes! This is what I used, so far twice, Groupon has it for 5.00. You will have to pay the seating fee online when choosing your seat through the theater, but still it's a great price!

    2. Would love some help. I bought 4 Groupons. I have 4 people going. But it keeps wanting me to "book" 2 seats per Groupon. That is confusing me. I can't get anyone to answer at the Theater. How does this work? I have looked on the frequently asked question page and I am still not sure of how to book it. Did I purchase too many Groupons? Any help would be appreciated! Txs!

  2. I had the same problem. You dont need to book any seats until the next page.