The Spotlight Theater in Hartford is officially open for business.
This is the first time in more than 40 years that the downtown area of Hartford has a movie theater. After almost 10 years and three developers, the first commercial enterprise in the Front Street complex opened with the Spotlight Theater on Friday.
"I think Hartford is champing at the bit for this for a long time," said Justin Morales of Front Street Bistro. "We have a lot of people looking in the windows, and I think our happy hours are going to be pretty intense."
The concept, which has seen success in other cities across the country, is to team a full-service restaurant with everything from soup and sandwiches to sirloins and shrimp a la vodka with a state-of-the-art, first-run movie theatre.
"We're going to play around with movies and films and food," said Spotlight Theater Managing Director Steve Menchell. "You know we have a French movie. We'll have a French meal and some French wine at the bar.
The theater on Front Street also has a snack bar with a theatre window and bistro. In addition to the restaurant, there's the standard concession stand and a private area room for small groups and functions. The theatre features four digital screens with leather seats.
Connecticut residents have already expressed interest in visiting the new theatre.
"We come from Glastonbury so we come down here and walk through Hartford and we see it improving down here," said Keith Erickson of Glastonbury. "So, we're going here."
Business was rather slow at noon, which was not surprising, and management knows it will take a while for the concept to take hold.
"It'll be a little slow just getting people to come and experience us," said Spotlight Theater CEO Joe Paletta. "We realize that but once the come here we have no doubt they'll make us the theatre of choice."
The first movie showing, Flight, played on Friday morning.