This post started out because I took one for the team! Unlike my usual approach to researching before I go somewhere new, I decided to wing it at Studio Movie Grill. Popcorn is generally safe right? Corn chips are about 50/50 and salsa is usually ok. Imagine my surprise when I got there and found that my failure to plan resulted in a plan to fail. $43 later and a stomachache bring me to my latest endeavor. There is also a point worth noting here that practice does not make perfect. I am in a constant state of learning and I sometimes make mistakes because I misread, or simply overlooked the preparation stage. My hope is to prevent you from having the same negative experience I did.
Let’s backtrack a bit, shall we? This was my second ever trip to Studio Movie Grill, and first since eating a gluten free diet. If you are not familiar, Studio Movie Grill is a small theater chain located in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It’s a dinner and dine concept with leather seats (some reclining), special handicapped seating, trays with drink holders, and restaurant style food service. It’s a fun experience, dinner and a movie all in one. Note: it’s expensive, so prepare yourself. As previously stated, I did not look at the menu or do any research before going. My children and I attended one of the Summer Movie Series options ($1 per ticket so a great deal!!!), and I was in a hurry the morning of.
When I scanned my tickets I received a standard menu from the hostess. I asked her if she had a gluten free menu, and she checked her tablet, told me no, and suggested I ask my server. When I got into the theater, I pressed the button and asked the server if he had access to a gluten free menu. I was told no. I then asked if he could tell me which menu items would be gluten free. He had no idea, but offered to go ask someone else. He came back and told me that everything was basically made with flour and that the only options were gluten free buns for burgers, gluten free pizzas, and the salads. This truly isn’t acceptable information for someone with a wheat allergy or Celiac Disease: the answer for them would be absolutely nothing worth risking.
After I got home I composed an email to Studio Movie Grill, explaining my experience and requesting a list of gluten free foods on their menu. They responded promptly but did not provide any more information than I was given at the theater. Specifically, “We do serve gluten friendly items. As the server mentioned, we have gluten friendly pizza dough and buns that are available by request. We will do our best to accommodate guest dietary requirements but cannot guarantee we will be able to meet all requests.” I replied asking for clarification on menu items that are traditionally gluten free by definition. The representative replied stated that several more menu items were gluten free.
Based on this information, the only options would be to order one of the following:
- Chips and salsa
- Burger, no fries, request gluten free bun, side of seasonal fruit
- Pizza, request gluten free crust
As always, use your own judgment and comfort level when eating out. There are very few public eateries that are 100% gluten free, unless it is a dedicated gluten free restaurant. There is always the possibility of cross-contamination. This is intended only for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice. Please see full medical disclaimer.