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Iron Horse Theater Reopening Soon In Scranton

December 3, 2018

Iron Horse Theater Reopening Soon In Scranton

SCRANTON — Iron Horse theater, take 2.

Cosmic Cinemas LLC, the new operator of the former Iron Horse Movie Bistro at Lackawanna and Penn avenues downtown, hopes to reopen it during the week before Christmas or, failing that, in mid-January, company Chief Executive Officer Terrell Braly said.

Like its predecessor, “Cosmic Cinemas Iron Horse” will feature movies shown on big screens and food and drinks served to viewers in lounge chairs, Braly said.

“From an infrastructure standpoint, this is an exceptional theater,” Braly said. “(Owner) John Basalyga spared no expense. I’m not even going to call it first-class. It’s ultra-class.”

Iron Horse Movie Bistro opened on April 28, 2017, but closed less than nine months later, when Basalyga, who also owns the Marketplace at Steamtown mall across the street, cut ties with the previous theater management firm, Phoenix Theatres Entertainment.

At that time, Basalyga said he was committed to keeping the theater going, but it would remain closed until a new operator could take over.

“We believe that new management of the theater will do a better job of appealing to the Scranton market than has been the case so far,” Basalyga had said in a statement.

As the Iron Horse essentially remains all new, the interior mostly will remain as-is, Braly said in an interview there Thursday.

The downtown theater has a good location and area demographics also are “quite good” for Cosmic’s business model of a cinema eatery with finger foods, drinks and “quality service to your seat,” Braly said.

“We’re really an entertainment destination,” he said.

A movie ticket will be comparable in cost to other first-run movie theaters in the area, and food-and-drink prices will be comparable to a TGI Fridays restaurant, he said. The Cosmic Cinemas Iron Horse menu will offer “limited, quick service, but made-from-scratch” pizza and wings. He’s also considering serving burgers.

Orville Redenbacher popcorn will be topped with melted real butter.

“There’s no $7 water bottle or $13 popcorn. There’s no price gouging,” Braly said.

The theater will require children between 3-18 years old to be accompanied by an adult, and kids under 3 will not be admitted, he said.

This Iron Horse sequel still needs a few finishing touches, said Kris Johnston-Keisling, company chief operating officer/vice president in charge of food and beverage.

“It’s just a matter of us getting the appropriate licenses and permits,” he said

It’s a movie-dinner model that Braly knows well, as he brings nearly two decades of experience running similar, pioneering cinema-eatery venues throughout the country.

In the early 2000s, Braly was CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and founded an expansion arm, Alamo Drafthouse Franchise Systems Inc., according to his biographical information on the Cosmic Cinemas LLC website.

In 2007, Braly became a founder and CEO of Cinebarre LLC, a joint venture with Regal Entertainment Group.

Regal owns the Regal Dickson City Stadium 14 & IMAX theater in Dickson City.

With Braly at the helm of Cinebarre, it expanded to 70 screens in eight locations in five states — North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, Washington and Oregon — reaching gross sales of $35 million and having 500 employees, his bio says.

The Cinebarre name meshed the words cinema, bar and restaurant, he said.

“Cinebarre theaters won numerous local and regional ‘Best Of’ awards, and received extensive media coverage for redefining the meaning of ‘dinner and a movie,’ Cosmic’s website says.

Cosmic Cinemas LLC incorporated in December 2017 and it now has three locations — two in upstate New York and the Iron Horse in Scranton.

Other members on Braly’s executive team also have worked at either Cinebarre, Alamo or both before Cosmic.

Cosmic opened Cosmic Cinemas Hudson in Hudson, New York a few weeks ago and plans to open Cosmic Cinemas Madison in Albany, New York, in about three weeks.

Contact the writer:

jlockwood@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5185;

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