Theater giant, restaurant join forces

CHAIN TO SHOWCASE LESS PRICEY DAVIO'S

Theater giant, restaurant join forces

Boston Herald / Donna Goodison (September 12, 2012)  The typical dinner-and-a-movie date will have a new Italian flavor — and added convenience — thanks to a deal between two Bay State business powerhouses. 

The owner of Davio’s is partnering with National Amusements on a new casual restaurant for Chestnut Hill that will be part of the movie theater chain’s debut Showcase Super Lux cinema complex.

Davio’s CEO Steve DiFillippo and National Amusements president Shari Redstone hope that if Davio’s Cucina is successful after launching at the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center next spring, it can be replicated at other National Amusement cinemas.

The stand-alone, 250-seat restaurant will have a full bar and lower-priced menu of pizzas, pastas and “plates of the day,” including braised short ribs, pork Milanese and lamb osso bucco. Open for lunch and dinner daily, it will have entrances from the street and lobby of the Showcase Super Lux.

“We think it’s a really great concept and it has a lot of potential,” said Redstone, whose Norwood company has 950-plus movie screens in the United States, United Kingdom and Latin America. “We wanted to create ... a destination in and of itself within the theater.”

But Redstone’s first goal is to make the movie-going experience at the six-screen, 600-seat Showcase Super Lux the “best in the world.”

She plans to take the best of National Amusement’s Cinema de Lux at Dedham’s Legacy Place and integrate more technology and luxury, including concierge service in place of box office seating, plusher recliner seats and in-seat ordering, perhaps from an iPad or other tablet device. “We will be going to a whole new level,” Redstone said.

Davio’s Cucina and the cinema will share a kitchen, with the cinema serving its own menu to customers watching movies and some signature Davio’s Cucina items, according to Redstone.

Her company operates its own eateries at its Cinema de Lux locations in Dedham and Foxboro.

The new venture marks the first time in his 27 years of business that DiFillippo has taken on a partner. “(Redstone) sees it as a great draw to bring people to the cinema, and I see it as a great future for us,” said DiFillippo, whose restaurants include Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouses in Boston, Foxboro, Philadelphia and Atlanta, and Avila in Boston. “I can partner with someone like that, and I can grow this concept to other parts of the world.”

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