The tradition of the original “dinner and a performance” that began in the 1950s and gained popularity in the 1960s and 1980s has dwindled but hasn’t gone away entirely. You can still find many dinner theaters serving food and beverages while you enjoy a stage production. Dinner theaters are not just old-fashioned entertainment but also a unique alternative to the typical Friday night out. Their specialized menus complement the performances on stage.
Check out these top nine dinner theatres in the U.S. for your next night out.
1. Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
The Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown, Colorado, is an elegant dining and theatre venue that features local actors. You can even find Broadway favorites here! No matter how often you return, you will never get tired of the experience because the menu changes for each show. Add a special touch to your celebration by pairing wine with excellent meals. Get ready for brilliant and unique experiences; from the menu to your server, they’ll be designed to match your ideal show.
2. Hatfield McCoy Dinner Feud
If you are a fan of country-style dinners, Pigeon Forge dinner shows are the best ones out there. There’s magic, comedy, music, feuds, horses, and dogs!
Hatfield and McCoy in Pigeon Forge is a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of Tennessee. Whether you’re a city slicker or a country crooner, you will be thrilled by the songs and dance, dramatic comedy, and jaw-dropping stunts.
Experience country-style cooked food featuring fried chicken and pulled pork barbecue served with mashed potatoes, homemade rolls, coleslaw, buttery corn on the cob, and ‘Granny’s special dessert.’ This restaurant has an all-you-can-eat dinner, which is said to be the best dinner in town.
3. Murray’s Dinner Playhouse
Located in Little Rock, Arkansas, Murray’s has been providing cinema and food to the locals since 1977. Their primary focus is comedy and Broadway musicals, and both promise to be entertaining. With a show-specific menu, the entire evening becomes a complete experience. For example, if the show follows an English theme, they will serve you Yorkshire pudding.
Furthermore, Murray’s is committed to giving back to the community; it sponsors a scholarship in conjunction with the National Dinner Theatre Association for students studying dance or theatre at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock.
4. Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater
Candlelight Pavilion is a lovely theater and restaurant located in Claremont, California, near Los Angeles. Recently, they celebrated their 200th show along with their 30th anniversary. As a result of their location, all of their shows have won Tony Awards. It would be foolish to disregard their highly acclaimed cuisine, even if they have charming sets and an elegant interior. A trip to Candlelight Pavilion in Los Angeles will put you in the mood for elegance on all levels.
5. Jackson Hole Playhouse
While in Jackson Hole, you can explore national parks and view stunning scenery, but you must not miss Americana. Providing multiple classic American experiences, the Jackson Hole Playhouse is everyone’s favorite. Besides being a vintage dinner theater experience, it also includes a saloon filled with the Wild West décor where guests are served dinner before the show.
You’ll get to know the performers during dinner because they are your servers. As you sip and chew, they sing to keep you entertained. After dinner is served, the show will begin, which is usually themed after the American West. The theater originally served as a livery stable in 1915 before becoming a theater in 1948.
6. Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
With its simple elegance, the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, creates an ambiance that is both relaxing and enjoyable for all. There is always something to enjoy at the Dutch Apple, from Broadway favorites to professional set design and acting. The theatre hosts a buffet as part of their excellent experience that includes local treats like shoofly pie, a specialty of the Amish community since it is located there. In terms of aesthetics, it is a grand and comfortable theatre where you would enjoy returning time and again.
7. Pines Dinner Theatre
Compared to other dinner theatres, Pines Dinner Theatre is more casual, but that does not mean its experience is less impressive. They adjust their menu depending on the show, and they will bring it to your table, so you don’t even have to leave your seat. In addition, since their shows are still growing in popularity, it offers an excellent opportunity to experience something new and exciting.
8. Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse
Originally founded as a vaudeville (a silent movie house) in 1921, Circa ’21 dates back to a time when no other film house existed in the area called Quad cities. However, that didn’t work out so well for them, so they decided to try their luck with a dinner theatre. The idea worked out pretty well, and since 1977, the theatre has been the premier dinner theatre in Quad Cities.
Moreover, they started holding auctions in big cities like Los Angeles and NYC to draw the best American performers to feature in their shows. Since its recent renovation, the theatre has regained its original splendor, making it almost as if you are back in the wild 20s. As for the menu, it changes depending on the production. For instance, French cuisine will complement ‘Les Miserables.’
9. The Barn Dinner Theatre
As the oldest dinner theatre in the U.S, The Barn is located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Since 1964, they have been offering guests Broadway-style shows with delicious dinner buffets to add an extra level of enjoyment.
The menu features grill favorites like Angus roast beef and honey-glazed ham to fill you up in the tastiest way. For dessert, there’s banana pudding and fried okra.
They specialize in concerts, as well as shows of all kinds. You can watch “A Raisin in the Sun” if you’re in the mood for serious or enjoy “A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Christmas” around the holidays.
Over their 2,800 miles, east to west, several theatres throughout the U.S. offer exceptional entertainment and mouth-watering cuisine. Although entertainment theatres fell off a bit during 1960-1980, they haven’t ceased to exist. Many have kept up with the times and continued to excel. There are options in all genres, from Candlelight Dinner Playhouse to The Barn Dinner Theatre, so there is something for everyone. Whether it is a musical, a comedy, or a play, there is something to please all tastes.