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Riverdale 10 Owner Plans Movie Meals in Spa City

2 min read

Matt Smith, owner of the Riverdale 10 movie theater at 2600 Cantrell Road in Little Rock, wants readers to know that his theater also offers patrons the option of dining while seated in comfy leather recliners — much like Movie Tavern, which is coming to Little Rock next year and which Arkansas Business wrote about last week.

In fact, Smith’s formula in Little Rock, which includes 10 screens, the sale of beer and wine and reserved seating, has been so successful he’s planning to introduce it at his Hot Springs Mall Cinema next month.

Smith will be installing electric leather recliners there (complete with tables), along with “the exact same food menu” that features cookies, nachos, hot dogs, pizza and Loblolly ice cream all the way up to cheeseburgers, chicken wings and fries and chicken strips and fries, as well as the usual candy and popcorn. Oh, and Arkansas craft beers, he added.

“We should have that all up and running — the food and the seats — in our current Hot Springs location by the end of September,” he said.

Smith doesn’t have a permit to sell beer and wine there and doesn’t know if he’ll seek one.

The theater currently has five screens, but farther down the road, Smith would like to add five or six more screens.

“Dinner and a movie will be possible at Hot Springs just like it is at Riverdale right now,” he said.

Smith is “real happy” with his business at Riverdale. “The community support, the support from the neighborhood has been wonderful at Riverdale.”

Smith noted that he’s adding kitchen equipment to the 45,000-SF Riverdale location, which will allow more full-meal food options: appetizers, deserts, entrees, etc.

Riverdale, in addition to first-run movies, also screens independent and foreign films as well as documentaries, classics and retro movies “that no one else is offering,” he said.

Riverdale 10 also offers a monthly classic movie night with 96.5 FM’s Dave Elswick and the monthly Arkansas Times Film Series and partners with Diamond Bear Brewing Co. of North Little Rock on a monthly movie.

“We’re extremely independent and extremely local,” Smith said.

Millions of Dollars

The Hot Springs investment is “millions of dollars,” Smith said. “It’s about a million dollars a room to go into the movie theater business.”

“By the time you build the room, you put in the screen, you put in the drapes, you put in the speakers, digital projectors, digital sound, you put in the seating, carpet, lighting — I don’t think people understand how capital-intensive the business is.”

Smith, who employs more than 100 people, also has theaters in Searcy and Cabot, which have traditional seating.

“After the Hot Springs project, I may look at recliners in Cabot and Searcy.”

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