Violet Crown Santa Fe

Violet Crown Santa Fe: Santa Fe spin-off of Austin-based cinema

Violet Crown Santa Fe (Source: Santa Fe Reporter)

I’m pleased to report on our thoroughly enjoyable evening at Violet Crown Santa Fe (Santa Fe Railyard, 1606 Alcaldesa Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501, 505-216-5678, last night. Here’s the skinny.

Violet Crown Santa Fe’s 11 auditoriums feature state of the art technology, wall-to-wall screens, and large and luxurious cinema chairs. (Source: Violet Crown Cinema, Santa Fe )

Too skinny! Aside from the excellent location, the food (and refreshments) are what sets this cinema apart. Here are a few of my reactions after an enjoyable first visit.

Food+Film Fusion in Santa Fe Railyard

Violet Crown Santa Fe is located adjacent to Santa Fe Farmers Market in Santa Fe’s Railyard District, ideal walking distance from Adobe Oasis. (If you’d rather drive, you can park for free (4-hour max) in The Railyard parking garage. Just bring your parking ticket to the cinema and request validation.) It was cold, so we drove. But next next we’ll walk to burn off the calories…

No, not a jumbo bucket of popcorn with ersatz butter. Local food. Tasty local food.

I started with the brussel sprouts.

Brussels sprouts are… flash-fried for crispy outer leaves and lightly lacquered in a sweet-tart apple-cider gastrique, but ours needed some par-cooking — their tough, overly firm centers made for onerous chewing. (Source: Laurel Gladden, Santa Fe New Mexican)

Mine were tasty (I added bacon which complemented the garlic, red onion, and apple cider gastric perfectly) but likewise undercooked. Almost impossible to skewer with my fork, especially in the dark. I’ll order them again next time, but I’ll request that they pre-steam or parboil mine.

I also ordered the chicken flautas which were crispy and even tastier than I had anticipated. I kept wondering if cheese had been added despite being absent from the ingredients listed on the menu:

All natural chipotle chicken rolled in New Mexico blue corn tortillas, quick fried until crisp, with guacamole and jicama salad. (Source: Violet Crown Cinema, Santa Fe )

They were delicious, but the texture and richness of the chipotle chicken suggested cheese. I’ve been dairy free for several years, so perhaps it was just my mind playing games. Next time I’ll ask before I order. And if there’s no cheese I’ll order again. And again. They were that good. Perfect movie noshes!

I washed everything down with Santa Sidra dry cider which they offer on draft in addition to dozens of other local brews. This is luxury enough, a vast selection of microbrewer beer to lubricate your next film. Win-win.

Reservations, Seating & Timing

We discovered dining tables that folded out (à la airplane dining) and generously proportioned drink holders.

No more waiting in line unless you relish pre-film banter against a backdrop of popcorn and french fry aroma. Violet Crown Santa Fe seats are all reserved (Bonus: no scrambling in the dark for good seats!) online (in advance) or at the cinema. We purchased our tickets online and it was quick, easy, and user friendly. You even get to pick your own seats. By reserving and paying online we were able to skip the ticket line and head straight to the food ordering counter.

Since it can take a little time to prepare your meal, Violet Crown Santa Fe recommends arriving about 45 minutes before screening in order to ensure that your drinks and meal are ready for you to bring in to the theater. We bumped into friends while waiting and enjoyed a drink together. We refueled just as our meals were delivered and headed in to see The Big Short. We located our comfortable chairs and happily discovered dining tables that folded out (à la airplane dining) and generously proportioned drink holders that easily accommodated our pints.

Innovation & Reinvention

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade or so you’ve realized that movie theaters are struggling to adapt to new consumer habits. The convenience and accessibility of on-demand digital entertainment has cut into once standard go-to-the-movies habit of many Americans. Despite the superior viewing experience of a large screen with great sound, I frequently find myself one of only a handful of viewers in an immense theater. Violet Crown Santa Fe responds to this social shift by combining comfort, fresh films, local food, and lots of libations.

Railyard’s new Violet Crown ups the ante for films in SF

Railyard’s new Violet Crown ups the ante for films in SF (Source: Albuquerque Journal)

“We’re trying to marry the two things” – food and film – “in the most pleasant viewing experience we can imagine,” said Bill Banowsky. “We want to give people a reason to get off their couches and come down to our cinema,” he said. “That’s the biggest challenge for theaters anymore… You really have to change the experience so that people really have a reason to go out to a movie.” (Source: Albuquerque Journal)

In short, Violet Crown Santa Fe is reimagining the cinema experience.

Like every other industry reeling from the effects of globalization and a dizzying pace of technological innovation, cinema is in the midst of reinvention. Jacques Paisner, executive director and co-founder of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival… said Violet Crown’s opening is a harbinger of the city’s willingness to evolve accordingly. (Source: Santa Fe New Mexican)

Smaller, more intimate viewing rooms combined with good food and drink seems like the perfect way to reinvent movie theaters. I’m thrilled with this newest Railyard addition, and my bride and I are already plotting our next visit. See you at Violet Crown Santa Fe!