CineCafé: Nevada County’s first dine-in movie theater

DINNER AND A MOVIE HAS BEEN AN American entertainment tradition for decades. Now the quintessential “night out” is getting a makeover: dinner at the movies, with fresh, made-to-order food, friendly service, craft beer, and eclectic wine lists.

Dine-in theaters, where guests can nibble on small plates and sip wine or beer while watching a flick, are booming all across America. They run the gamut, from CinéBistro to Gold Class to Studio Movie Grill, redefining the moviegoing experience.

In Grass Valley, the owners of Sierra Theaters have opened CineCafé at the Sierra Cinemas at 804 East Main Street and Hughes Road—a dine-in movie concept that is decidedly “fresh and local.”

“We wanted to give Sierra Cinemas a makeover, and with a vacant retail space next door, it seemed like a good opportunity to try this idea of adding a café,” says Michael LaMarca, vice president of Sierra Theaters, a family-run operation that epitomizes local entrepreneurism.

During a 1-1/2 year project, walls were knocked down to connect the movie theater and cafe, and the result is a spacious theater lobby that flows into a 1,200-square foot space next door that has been transformed into the CineCafé. It features a kitchen, bar and seating area, ideal to share a glass of wine or a pint of locally brewed beer and made-to-order food.

“Food you can eat in the dark was one of the criteria for our menu choices,” says Azriel LaMarca, daughter of owners Mike and Barbara Getz.

The menu features items such as a Niman Ranch pulled-pork sandwich on an Acme deli roll; artisan cheese plate that includes Sierra Nevada organic white cheddar; homemade cookies from Emily’s Catering & Cakes in Grass Valley; and Three Forks Emerald Pool IPA and ol’ Republic Brewery Frontier Amber from Nevada City.

A handy tray, with a novel swivel attachment for your seat, can be carried into the theater next door. Ticket prices remain the same, and popcorn, soda and candy remain available.

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