ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- "Wow."
That was my first impression after visiting Carmike Cinemas’ Ovation Cinema Grill 9, which held its grand opening Monday in Anderson Township.
The "wow" was in response to the $10 plus tax ($12 total) I paid to see the 7 p.m. showing of "Patriots Day" in the theater’s flagship "Big D Experience" auditorium. (The "D" stands for digital.)
The price was a pleasant surprise: I had expected to pay more for the "Big D," which let me choose a high-back, rocking luxury seat with cup holders and retractable armrests and watch the movie on a floor-to-ceiling screen. According to the theater's website, the screen features a state-of-the-art sound and projector system with "noticeably higher resolution than HD."
The ticket price also allowed me the option of pressing a button near my seat's armrest to summon a waiter who took my order from a menu that included food and alcohol.
Carmike's Ovation theater concept, located at 7490 Beechmont Ave., is not new to the Greater Cincinnati movie market. It joins the Cobb Luxury 15 & CinéBistro at Liberty Center and the Eastgate Brew & View in Union Township, both of which opened in November 2015 and offer similar seating and food service amenities.
Ovation is about a dollar cheaper for a movie ticket than either competitor and offers $5 movie tickets all day Tuesday; Eastgate's Tuesday discount price is $6.50. All three places allow visitors to reserve specific seating either online or on location.
Ovation, unlike the other two locations, offers valet parking, along with plenty of nearby spots to park your car yourself.
Ovation's menu was more akin to Eastgate's offerings than Cinebistro's four-star dining experience. (Sorry, there's no steak on the menu.) Ovation offered staples such as hamburgers, appetizers, wraps, tacos, salads, mac and cheese and desserts at about the same price point as the Brew & View. I found Eastgate's menu to be a bit more creative with brunch options, which served on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and its meatloaf sandwich. (As a fan of a good meatloaf sandwich, I don't know too many places that serve them.)
About 30 minutes before showtime at Ovation, I ordered the Kevin Triple Bacon cheeseburger and french fries for $12.50. The friendly wait staff delivered my burger in enough time for me to finish it before the end of the movie's trailers. It was a decent burger, and I loved the crispy fries.
Staff continued to fill additional drink and food orders up to 45 minutes before the end of showtime. I reclined in my seat, feeling quite cozy, and finished watching "Patriots Day" after staff cleared my empty dishes.
Ovation offers about eight beers on tap, with a fair amount of local craft offerings, a lot more beer in cans and an impressive list of mixed drinks.
There is also a bar and lounge in Ovation's lobby, where I sat before the movie. The very knowledgeable and friendly bartender pointed out that guests can take any drink ordered from the lobbybar into the movie auditorium with them. A glass of Bad Tom Brewing Co.'s Red Fink ale cost me $8.
For any Anderson Township resident, or those nearby, Ovation makes for relatively affordable, fun night out at the movies.