Northern Lights Theater Pub

This one came in from mama2dylan.
On Saturday, September 20, my son and I attended the Get Smart movie at the Northern Lights Theater Pub on South Commercial. Their claim is "bringing dining and movies together in Salem". What a great concept! When you arrive you purchase your ticket to the showing of your choice of 3 different movies in 3 theaters. All movies for all ages are $3.00 each. Then you get in the food concession line to order form a beefed up menu, not your usual popcorn and candy fare, but much more. In fact that's why we chose to wait to eat at the theater rather than at somewhere else before hand.
Their menu can be found on their website and it is recommended that you know what you want before arriving to keep the line moving quickly as it does get long. Also they don't take debit/credit cards in the food concession line, so bring cash or purchase vouchers at the front door when you purchase your movie tickets. After you place your order you are given a table # to be placed on your table so that the staff can deliver it to your seat when it is ready. They also offer a nice selection of beer on tap or in the bottle as well as Willamette Valley wines. The theaters have been renovated by removing rows of chairs to be replaced by tables that sit right in front of your seat for ease of dining.
We arrived at 5:20 for the 5:50 showing. We waited in the food concession line and placed our food order at about 5:30. We ordered the bean dip appetizer, the bacon burger, the beef nachos, popcorn, lemonade and M&M's. Our total came to over $25.00 I tossed $2.00 into the service staff tip jar at the register. I then ordered a Coors Light for another $3.00 and tipped the bartender a dollar. I'm up to $31.00 now not including admission.
We waited and waited for our food to arrive. Finally I went up front to inquire and was told the kitchen was "backed up". I saw numerous people get their food way before us. I was one of the 1st people in line for food before the show started. My number was 126, I saw people in the 200's being served before me. We finally received our order at 6:40, that's an hour and 10 minutes after ordering. Try explaining that to a very hungry 10 yo boy who was told before we left the house that we would just eat at the theater.
When the food did arrive it was cold and mediocre at best. The nachos were a cold clump of cheese and beef. I also thought appetizer meant just that and that the bean dip would arrive ahead of the rest of the order. I also found the beer to be on the warm side. In the future if we do return to the theater we will be eating elsewhere before we come.


jeff said...

My opinion? Someone needs to cut down on their font size for readability.

Anonymous said...

I have been to Northern Lights numerous times. I love that it only costs three dollars to get in. If they ever raised the price I probably would not go anymore. I have never had a problem waiting on food, but I agree that they could use some work on the quality of the food... especially for how much they charge. I have had similar experiences with the taste and quality of food. The desserts are very good and are affordable. If they were to charge $2.00 to $2.50 for a beer, I think they would sell a lot more. Overall, I hope that they continue to succeed and wish them best.

h said...

I love Northern Lights and have always been happy with their food prices and choices (not to mention the movies). I'm not sure about your assessment of the order in which food was delivered because it seemed to me that the numbers were random, not kept in numerical order. Perhaps someone who isn't in love with chain restaurants like Red Robin should be reviewing our hardworking local establishments instead. And yes, Jeff, the font size is atrocious but that might not have been intentional.

Salem Man said...

fixed the font.

mama2dylan said...

h, I'm curious, what (or to whom) did you mean by your comment "Perhaps someone who isn't in love with chain restaurants like Red Robin should be reviewing our hardworking local establishments instead."

h said...

M2D, I was referring to you and your blog wherein you reviewed almost entirely chain restaurants (as of the last time I had looked at it anyway, it seems to be gone now). Sorry for the catty comment, but I don't trust your reviews. I do not see any point in reviewing chain restaurants, they have plenty of money for advertising and people will go there on their own. I feel that we need to try to eat, shop and be entertained locally in order to improve our local economies and support our local small business owners.

mama2dylan said...

h, I haven't posted on my blog since May. And yes I did shut it down. I have contributed to posts on this blog and recently reviewed Northern Lights, Cafe 22 West, Court Street Dairy Lunch, La Hacienda Real West and Willamette Noodle Co. Maybe you missed those.

I have eaten at many restaurants in Salem and the Portland area that are not chains. I didn't know there was a no chain rule on here especially since there are at least 20 chain restaurant reviews on this blog alone.

I did think your comment was catty and don't trust my reviews if you don't want to. I have been in the restaurant business for 40 years in other states as well including NYC. I dine out often, watch food network TV, cook often and well and have a passion for food. Come try my homemade soup at The Queen of Tarts Café sometime.

I think I am a good critic. In fact I may even open a food concession booth at Saturday Market next year for the 1st time. I don't remember any reviews by you. Can you refresh my memory? What restaurants in Salem do you dine in? What is your culinary background?

Chain restaurant reviews on this blog;
Buster's Texas Style Barbeque
Muchas Gracias
Charley's Grilled Subs Commercial St.
Dunkin Daylight Daynight
Dunkin' Donuts
Great Harvest Bread Co.
Great Wall Buffet
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Love Love Teriyaki
McGrath's Fish House
Muchas Gracias
Pita Pit
Regal Movieland 7
Sandwich Express
Sonic Drive In
Taco Del Mar,
Thai Orchid Restaurant
The Old Spaghetti Warehouse
Walery's Premium Pizza

KandN said...

The Spaghetti Warehouse is a chain? I know The Old Spaghetti Factory is. Also, I can't find information about other Walery's Pizza joints on the web.
I may be biased, but I don't have as much of a problem with NW chains as I do with the humongous national chains.

Liseanne27 said...

Buster's Texas Style Barbeque - Northwest chain
Muchas Gracias - Northwest chain
Applebee's - M2D rated this national chain
Charley's Grilled Subs Commercial St. - chain
Dunkin Daylight Daynight - chain turned local restaurant
Dunkin' Donuts - again, chain turned local restaurant eventually (see above)
Great Harvest Bread Co. - chain
Great Wall Buffet - if its a chain its a small one
Kentucky Fried Chicken - yes, but was this a serious review?
Love Love Teriyaki - local Salem based, has multiple locations now
McGrath's Fish House - local Salem based, has multiple locations now
Pita Pit - yes, a chain
Regal Movieland 7 - chain
Sandwich Express - multiple locations but not confirmed as a chain (a google search brought up many places named sandwich express but not all the same)
Sonic Drive In - chain, but new to the area and a weird phenomenon
Taco Del Mar - new to the area
Thai Orchid Restaurant - northwest chain
The Old Spaghetti Warehouse - there is only one of these that I know of
Walery's Premium Pizza - there is only one of these that I know of

That leaves only a possibility of seven serious national chain reviews for this blog, which is not too many, IMO. I don't think we should focus on chains, and probably should try to avoid them, but a new chain creating a commotion is worth a review and I think that's what (most) of this blog has done.

mama2dylan said...

The thing to remember with chains in Salem is that with so many here or anywhere for that matter think of all the jobs they created. If they were to close many people would be unemployed. And IMO a chain is a chain weather it is a "serious national chain" or just a NW chain. If they branch out they eventually become national. When I worked for Chevy's Mexican Rezstaurants in the 80's they had 30 stores based in California only. Now they are national with nearly 100 stores nationwide.

Salem Man said...

My favorite chain, Baja Fresh. I used to eat at their very first stores in so cal. Back then it was a chain of two restaurants. They have done a relatively good job of quality control and consistency since they have spread across the country. Since the early 90's I've only ordered two things from the menu, Baja Burrito with chicken and a soft taco with chicken with mild salsa. Love that place.

KandN said...

We've enjoyed McGrath's since we first moved to Salem 17 years ago. They also have done a good job (for the most part) with quality control and consistency. I was surprised to see on their website that they're up to 20 locations now. Looks like their hometown is the only place with two locations.

Anonymous said...

We ate at a McGrath's outside of Denver this spring and all of the pictures on the wall were from places in Oregon. It was pretty funny to see them showing off the oregon state capitol building and the astoria cannery.


Jassy said...

I got to Northern Lights frequently and I've never had an issue with food being cold or arriving really late. The food usually arrives when the movie begins, I often order desert which arrives halfway through the movie. When I ordered the bean dip they gave it to me at the counter.

Anonymous said...

I think Northern Lights' food is atrocious and often takes too long. Plus their popcorn tastes like styrofoam. I only go there to see movies with my kids that we didn't want to pay full price for at Regal or on the rare occasion that I want to have a beer while I watch some mindless mainstream flick. I don't bother ordering anything but junior mints off the menu. I hate the distractions of them walking in and out of the auditorium, but I guess for a $3 movie, that's what you get.

Anonymous said...

I used to work at NLTP. The numbers aren't in order. The numbers are 100's, 200's and 300's and only depict whether you are in theater 1, 2 or 3.

The problem with NLTP, is that their kitchen was never made to serve 200-300 people. They try to do a lot with a little. They succeed most of the time, but I don't recommend going on weekends when it's slammed. Weeknights are much better.

Chuck Bradley said...

"Great place for dinner and a movie!" These folks were the first in the area to put this novel concept into practice. What they have done is take an existing movie theater, remove every other row of seats and install tables. Lots of leg room. They serve beer and wine and a menu of Pizza, sandwiches and wraps. You can enjoy a reasonably good meal, a beverage and a movie in much more comfort than the pack-'em-in multi-plexes afford. The movies are not first run, but the ticket is less than half what you would normally pay.