CARROLLWOOD — For more than 30 years, the Tampa Pitcher Show, at 14416 N. Dale Mabry Highway in Carrollwood, has offered a tasty alternative to the typical movie going experience.
“We’re not just a regular theater. We’re considered a cine-bistro – a movie theater, restaurant and lounge. We serve full dinners while you’re watching the movie,” explains Wayne Valenti, who with wife Cindy, owns the establsihment.
Instead of standard cramped theater seating, Tampa Pitcher Show features individual thick padded seats with tables. Rather than a limited snack bar of overpriced junk food, Tampa Pitcher Show has a menu of more than 60 items that includes classic theater fare such as popcorn and nachos, as well as steaks, hamburgers, fresh fish, pizza, spaghetti, wings and subs, which patrons can enjoy while watching first-run movies in full digital surround sound.
“All of our dinners are made in house. We make our own salad dressings and sauces as well as our own red sangria and white sangria. We’re known for our spaghetti sauce and red sangria,” Valenti says.
The sangria is just the tip of the full bar menu and wine list, which includes a variety of domestic and imported draught and bottled beers as well as wine by the glass or bottle.
Years ago, Valenti was working in the restaurant business, but he wanted to do something different.
“I saw something similar to Tampa Pitcher Show, but on a very bare-bones scale,” Valenti recalls. “We decided to create our own version of what we thought a cine-bistro should look like.”
Valenti developed Tampa Pitcher Show into a unique version of a movie theater as well. Along with first-run movies that change weekly, the establishment screens independent films and the occasional cult classic, puts on film and live stage events called shadow casts, as well as live burlesque shows, live comedy, live music and live improv.
“Shadow casts are very popular. We screen a movie, while a live cast dressed like the film’s characters performs to the movie,” Valenti explains. “It’s like theater in the round with lots of interactive stuff going on.”
“Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the most popular of the shadow cast productions and it takes the old midnight-showing audience-participation event to a whole new level.
On June 20, Tampa Pitcher Show presents the cult classic “The Room” — the greatest movie ever made or the worst movie ever made, depending on who you ask — while on June 22, the screening of the cult classic “The Brain From Planet Arous” will be followed by a meet-and-greet with original actors from the film.
For information and schedules, visit www.tampapitchershow.net, or call (813) 963-0578.