Santa Fe movie theater set to re-open as restaurant


SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Businesses have taken a big hit this year during the pandemic. For one Santa Fe movie theater owner, he says it’s been especially hard for his industry, but he’s found a new way to safely re-open.

It’s been a long seven months for Violet Crown Cinema in Santa Fe. It doesn’t seem like the theater will be re-opening anytime soon with the recent spike in positive Coronavirus cases in the state, but owner Bill Banowsky has been hopeful. “During this seven [sic] months of closure, we have found a lot of opportunity to improve how we’re going to operate when we can re-open,” says Banowsky.

Located in the Santa Fe railyards, the Violet Crown was known for serving food and drinks along with their showings. Banowsky figured there was still a way for his business to thrive during this time.

“We decided we should re-open as a restaurant as soon as we reasonably can. We have a large outdoor patio space. We’ve gotten approval from the city and the railyard now to greatly extend that patio,” he says.

Before the pandemic, Banowsky says his business did well on the restaurant side of things. Now, he’s hoping to hone in on that by making some changes to the menu and hiring a new chef. “Our goal is to have a really great pizza and other good pub fare, and activate that portion of the railyard again,” he says.

Hoping to get the restaurant open in the next two to three weeks, Banowsky says he and his team will get the theater ready for re-opening as soon as the state allows for it. “We’ll continue to clean it up every week, and keep it polished, and paint when we need it,” he says.

In the mean time, Banowsky has faith his new restaurant business model will succeed. “We expect we’ll be able to deliver some quality food that will compete with other restaurants,” he says.

Once the state lets theaters re-open, Banowsky plans to let people privately rent auditoriums. He’ll be calling it ‘RSVP Cinema.’

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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