Imagine yourself settling into a comfortable recliner, delicious burrito in one hand and a cold brew in the other. On the movie-theater screen in front of you, a much-anticipated blockbuster begins to play.
Sounds incredible to me—and now it’s a reality in Middlebury, VT.
The Middlebury Marquis Theater has remodeled; no longer just a theater, the Marquis houses Middlebury’s only Southwestern restaurant.
I visited the Marquis theater while it was under reconstruction to meet with Ben Wells, new co-partner of the theater. Ben has a lengthy history in the restaurant business, working on and off as a manager of a restaurant in Bolder, Colorado for years. Before becoming a co-owner of the Marquis, Ben’s roles were twofold: coach of the Middlebury College Rugby Club (alongside John Phillips), and stay at home dad.
Yet, Ben was always interested in the idea of a movie theater with an in-house restaurant, or something of the sorts. Last winter, a friend finally asked him if he knew Bill Shafer, the (now co-owner) owner of the Marquis. Ben and Bill quickly clicked, learning their visions for the Marquis renovation were quite in tune. Previously, Bill worked at Big Vision in Waitsfield, and has an extensive background in movies and music; with Ben’s culinary expertise, the pair were set to begin their venture in earnest.
After closing the Marquis’ doors, the renovations began. The Marquis, originally a vaudeville theater built in 1939, was transformed.
As one walks in to the theater, the kitchen is off to the left, with an ordering station, featuring an extremely affordable menu (everything is less than $10!). Did I mention that there’s beer? There’s beer. That you can take in to the theater. Not to mention the mouthwatering Southwestern cuisine, including burritos, enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, GUAC, smoked meat, the whole nine yards. The snack/ticket bar remains much the same, with the typical movie theater fare provided. The restaurant seating area is behind the snack bar in the now-gutted downstairs theater, and has both regular and high top seating. There won’t be wait staff, rather patrons can order at the kitchen counter, and then either take their food in to the seating area, or into the two upstairs theaters. The seating area screen will show a variety of TV shows, sports, flicks etc., and Wells envisions showing black and white films during lunch.