Locally owned Dineplex International introduced a new restaurant-movie house concept in Prairie Village two years ago with plans to roll it out in the metro and regional market.
Standees — The Entertaining Eatery opened in May 2013 in the Prairie Village Shopping Center as a “restaurant first and foremost,” but also offering movie theaters, all under one roof.
But the public saw the restaurant as more of an amenity of the theaters, so while sales were “good,” they weren’t as good as if the restaurant stood on its own, the company said.
“I think people thought of it as a giant concession stand,” said Peter Brown, former chairman and chief executive officer of AMC Theatres, and current chairman of Dineplex International.
This week, Dineplex temporarily shut down the restaurant, 3935 W. 69th Terrace, until late May or early June. They’ve brought in Liberty-based Leap Hospitality to create a new concept that will give the restaurant a stronger brand.
It will reopen as the Chocolate Frog Cafe offering breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The “American comfort classics” menu will include French toast and eggs, biscuits and gravy, Puffles (puff pastry dough filled and grilled like a waffle), omelets, specialty salads and burgers, and a variety of sandwiches including pulled barbecue and crispy buffalo chicken.
A featured item will be Bowl Frogs, a meal in a bowl, as well as a variety of shakes using ice cream made in-house. Prices will range from $6 to $16.
Leap Hospitality is a restaurant consulting and management company, as well as a partner in and manager of The Jacobson restaurant in the Crossroads Arts District. Patrick Phelan, owner of Leap, said Prairie Village needed a family-friendly restaurant serving breakfast, something fun and whimsical with a name to reflect that. He said chocolate frogs are a popular confection sold throughout the “wizarding world of Harry Potter.”
The theaters will remain open during the restaurant remodeling. Once Chocolate Frog opens, the theater will be called Standees Theatres.
The original Standees concept was designed to be a neighborhood draw and give customers a choice. They could go into the 211-seat dining room and bar, or the movie theater with three small auditoriums offering stadium-style seating, or both.
The centerpiece of the restaurant is a 70-foot horseshoe-shaped bar. Standees also has 30 seats on its outdoor patio. The concession stand offers traditional theater snacks including soft drinks, popcorn and candy, but customers also can place orders there for the restaurant’s appetizers, desserts, cocktails, wine and beer to take into the theaters.
The restaurant is in the former Macy’s home store. One of the three movie theaters is in the former Einstein Bros Bagels space. Einstein Bros Bagels relocated in the center.
“Chocolate Frog will still be a restaurant right next to the theater, so people can still do the dinner and movie theater experience,” Brown said.
Brown said developers have approached him about opening new locations but he also may expand by taking over existing restaurant spaces.
“All options are open,” Brown said. “But I really want to focus on Prairie Village and taking it to another level.”
Corbin Park updates
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt plans a mid-July opening for its new Corbin Park location at 6917 W. 135th St., Overland Park. Menchie’s is one of the largest self-serve frozen yogurt franchises. It offers a variety of flavors, including pecan praline and devil’s food cake, and toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, candy, syrup and sauces. The company also is looking at other sites in the area.
It joins Ted’s Cafe Escondido, an Oklahoma restaurant chain that recently opened at 7001 W. 135th St.
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