Kister’s Connection: Better Bites and Decadent Delights Raise the Bar at Local Cinemas


Kurt Strazdins/MCT

Although still popular, a box of movie theater popcorn is taking a back seat to the latest trend in higher end theater food offerings like those available at Star Cinema Grill.

A night at the movies is not what it used to be. This is especially true for movie-goers spending an evening kicked back in a recliner enjoying “Rogue One” while scarfing down a Kalifornia burger chased with a Jack and Coke to the sounds of blaster rounds firing in the background.

Nowadays, Houston movie-goers expect more than just a seat and a screen to watch their film of choice. They prefer movie theaters with comfy seating and upscale dining rather than the old cramped version everyone grew up with during their adolescent years.

Improved sound and picture quality have long been ideal preferences for customers, but luxurious seats and higher end meals, like those offered by the Star Cinema Grill at Baybrook Mall, are gaining in popularity among movie-goers.

This new style of movie watching was created to make the movie-going experience more attractive now that audiences have the choice of watching on multiple platforms, like TV, computers, tablets, and phones, that are far more convenient and much less costly than visiting a local theater.

Star Cinema Grill’s manager Jason Petro says many college students prefer the convenience of the new style of theaters.

“The demanding schedule that many students endure allows them to further appreciate an opportunity to have dinner and a movie in one place,” he says. “The atmosphere is modern and inviting, making it a great place for a date or to visit with a group of friends.”

Furthermore, Petro noted, many movie-goers expect the theatrical experience to be a big event hoping the film will not disappoint and will in fact exceed expectations. When that is not the case, the surroundings ease the shortfall.

“They take comfort in knowing that if that does not occur,” he says, “the atmosphere and amenities delivered.” 

Uniquely, they allow customers to pick their seating ahead of time. The luxury leather seats with call buttons at each table allow for a comfy and fast-service experience.

They offer discounts for seniors, students, and military personnel and admission is discounted to $7.00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Normal admission is $8.50 for matinees, morning and afternoon showings, and $10.50 for evening shows.

An additional feature of new-style movie theaters is the option of good quality food and beverages, including a fully stocked bar for the 21 and up crowd. Star Cinema Grill offers a modern fair priced menu that provides a variety of choices ranging from appetizers like scratch-made hummus and pizzas featuring dough rolled in-house to grilled sandwiches and half-pound burgers. Lighter fare includes fresh salads featuring fresh produce, and patrons can end their meal with “an impressive array of desserts,” Petro adds.

Likewise, these upscale movie theaters are not just for the older crowd but are also suitable for children. Petro explains many parents have commented that they prefer this setting in contrast to confining their kids to a cramped space in a traditional theater for two hours.

“The combination of lunch or dinner with a movie better accommodates the attention span of their children,” he says.

Moreover, on the first Wednesday and following Saturday of each month, Petro notes, Star Cinema Grill offers “Our Little Stars” and “Bright Stars” presentations  that allow children under the age of three and families with special needs to enjoy the “magic of movie-going.”

Also, parents prefer this type of venue because they “love the idea of consolidating lunch with entertainment in an environment that relieves them of cooking, washing dishes, and cleaning the house for hours/days,” Petro says.

In addition to Star Cinema Grill, other theaters such as AMC 30, iPic, Studio Movie Grill, and Alamo Drafthouse are part of the trend offering similar services meant to make movie-going better.

“The experience offers more than a traditional theater,” Petro says. “Interaction with our staff is a pleasant offering to which guests of all ages look forward.”

Star Cinema Grill is located at 702 Baybrook Mall, Friendswood. More information is available at