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When the executive management of CinéBistro, opening in Cary’s Waverly Place shopping center this fall, says it’s the kind of theater you can come to and not even see a movie, they’re not joking. It’s also a full-service restaurant and bar where you don’t have to get past the lobby to enjoy upscale cuisine.

In August, that lobby is still under construction. When CinéBistro opens Sept. 4, gourmet chef Jason Bianco will be preparing such fresh dishes as New York Strip Steak and Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon. Sandwiches and appetizers (cutely called “Previews”) such as Wagyu Beef Sliders run in the $10–$15 range; entrées (or “Features”) hover around $20 and upward. A popular appetizer from the Cobb Theatres chain’s seven locations in other states, I’m told, is “popcorn” that can be a combination of popcorn chicken, shrimp and calamari. Actual popcorn will also be available, with free refills, for $8.

CinéBistro is one of several new boutique theaters in the Triangle seeking to compete with Redbox and Netflix by making a night out at the movies a luxury experience. A 21-and-up establishment that will not play animated films, it does let in children with adults for matinees, and plans to showcase independent and foreign films.

Meanwhile, CineBowl and Grille, which opened in Cary’s Parkside Town Commons in July, offers a more casual, family-oriented take on the dinner-and-a-movie experience, with bowling and an arcade. Its menu, slightly cheaper than CinéBistro’s, runs more to Loaded Tater Tots than Moroccan Lamb Chops, but it’s still a far cry from the withered hotdogs that pass for dinner at most theaters.

By Zack Smith for Indyweek

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