I'm pretty sure my kids are ruined for just about any other movie theater now that we've been to the Raleigh Grande a few times.
My family's first experience in the plush seats at the north Raleigh theater came earlier this summer during opening weekend for "The BFG." My neighbor had been several times and was constantly singing its praises.
Reclining seats, she said. Real food. Reserved seating. Actually not that expensive.
Wait. What? It was that last bit that caught my attention. And it's true, relatively speaking, if you look at movie ticket prices across the region. If you go to the first showing of the day at the Raleigh Grande, tickets are just $6.25 for all ages. Those early bird movies often are scheduled mid-morning, perfectly timed for kids who have been awake for a few hours and are about ready to wind down before lunch. (I've seen them as early as 9:40 a.m. or so on weekends).
It gets even cheaper on Tuesdays when all shows are just $6. Tickets are usually $10 for adults and $7 for kids and seniors (add $3.25 for 3D movies).
Raleigh Grande was renovated about a year or so ago. The renovation included pulling out the typical movie seating and replacing them with big, comfy recliners. (Yes, I did fall asleep in one during "The Secret Life of Pets"). CineBowl & Grille in Cary and Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill offer similar amenities.
At Raleigh Grande, it's best to get your tickets ahead of time as seats are reserved. I've seen people turned away because the movie has sold out or only seats in the very first row are available. With reserved seating, you can roll in right as the lights go down and don't have to worry about not finding enough seats together.
And the staff has been wonderful each time we've been there - four total this summer. This week, they went out of their way to try find a small toy that a friend had left behind in the theater.
We haven't had more than popcorn and drinks here, but the menu includes everything from fried Brussels sprouts to pizzas, salads and sandwiches. They also serve up craft beer, wine and other drinks.
We'll definitely be back.
Raleigh Grande is at 4840 Grove Barton Rd., Raleigh.