El Pasoans will soon be able to get both a restaurant and movie-theater experience at a new Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, which is planned for West El Paso.
A nine-screen cinema will be built in the heart of the 300-acre Montecillo Town Center community, which is still under construction at 5001 N. Mesa by EPT Land Communities.
David Bogas, director of development for EPT Land Communities, said the Alamo Drafthouse will be an entertainment catalyst for the Montecillo community and city of El Paso.
"We don't have anything like this in El Paso," Bogas said. "It's a very social environment, which is what we want to bring here." EPT Land Communities has not finalized an opening date.
"We are early in the planning and we don't have a timeline set, but I can tell you it's coming and it's coming soon," Bogas said. "We are building it as quickly as possible."
Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas are movie theaters that also act like a full-service restaurant. Customers can order, eat and pay for their meals while enjoying a movie in a full-size movie theater.
Movies range from first-run showings to independent films and special events. Bogas said there are also plans for outdoor events at the Montecillo Town Center.
Food is made from scratch in a kitchen and served to moviegoers discreetly on a table in front of every seat.
Customers can order food and drinks before or during the movies by writing it on a note. A waiter or waitress will take the note and return with food quietly like a "ninja," according to the Alamo Drafthouse website.
Alamo Drafthouses are also known for having a strict zero-tolerance policy for talking and texting during movies. Customers have been thrown out for not following the rules, according to the franchise's website.
Unaccompanied minors or any children younger than 6 are also not allowed. According to the website, the rules are intended to give moviegoers the best experience possible.
The first Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was opened in Austin in 1997. Since then, other cinemas have opened in San Antonio, Houston and Winchester, Va.
In a news release, Neil Michaelsen, president of Triple Tap Ventures LLC, said he is excited to open an Alamo Drafthouse to El Paso. His company owns and operates the franchise cinemas in Houston and other Texas cities.
Bogas said the cinema would be built in the middle of an area where restaurants and other business are under construction.
The Montecillo Town Center will also include about 4,500 apartments, townhomes and single-family houses. The Venue at Montecillo Apartments has already opened.
"We're just thrilled that a group of people were able to work to bring this to El Paso," Bogas said."We believe this can and will work here."