Staff Photo: John Bohn Jennifer Dunn, of Snellville, left, and Lori Moon, of Lawrenceville, right, sample drinks and food at the new Studio Movie Grill during an opening ceremony in Duluth Wednesday.
DULUTH -- A new attraction has come to town: Duluth's Studio Movie Grill.
The new movie theater located on Venture Drive near Gwinnett Place Mall offers first-run movies, a full bar and complete menu -- and you don't even have to leave the comfort of your chair.
"The closest theater is seven miles away and it's not us," general manager Zach Locker said. "We are inclusive, not exclusive, so we cater to everybody. We have something for the kids, something for the families, something for the adults, something for date night, something for everybody ... that's our mantra. We're a high end place that isn't going to hurt your pocket."
During Wednesday night's grand opening, Gwinnett's "who's who" was out to check out the building, including Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris.
"I think this is a great idea and I think Duluth is lucky to get another entertainment option," she said while sitting at the lobby's U-shaped bar. "We always need more things to do. I'm very happy."
Duluth resident Tracy Dhisna was equally pleased with the facility. Before the current location opened, she would travel to Studio Movie Grill's other Georgia location in Alpharetta to see movies with her young son.
"I think it's great that we have something like this in the area," she said. "The area is central to Duluth because most people know this area from traveling to other businesses. ... We have two kids at home. Instead of a two-hour dinner and a two-hour movie, you can combine it. Usually by the time you get to dinner and leave, you are too tired to do anything else."
Besides a regular night out on the weekend, the theater can save the sanity of I-85 drivers according to Locker.
"It gives people something to do instead of battling the traffic," he said with a laugh.
If you need a break from the county's infamous bumper-to-bumper time of day, the venue boasts more than 100 food and beverage options in the 10 theater facility. Guests can order crab cakes, a kale and avocado salad, turkey burgers and then some. The bar is fully stocked and for the house wine, it is Studio Movie's own label called SMG Cellar Wine from California's Central Coast.
Don't want to see a movie? You can just eat and drink. Don't want to feed your face? Just watch a flick.
And when CEO Brian Schultz was looking for a new spot for his Dallas-based franchise, he handpicked Duluth for several reasons.
"We strategically selected Duluth for SMG's newest location because the area demonstrated a high demand for first-run movies and had an appealing demographic for the concept," he said. "We felt that Duluth was simply the perfect community for our next destination and we are committed to providing superior customer service and becoming its premier location for first-run movies. We believe Studio Movie Grill will become Gwinnett's first choice for movie-watching because we offer both quality and value."
Plus, patrons can reserve their seats in advance and have their selected chairs available when they arrive.
For today and Friday, the theater is hosting a Can Film Festival. Patrons are encouraged to donate a canned good and in return, they will receive one movie ticket. All cans collected are donated to the Salvation Army.
For more information, visit www.studiomoviegrill.com.