“Dinner and a Movie” – A Cinematic Twist for a Landmark Hotel!
The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa is hosting a “cinemagic” date night twice a month through the end of the year in the luxurious ballroom of their Memorial-area resort complex. The brainchild of hotel General Manager Steve Fronterhouse, the “Dinner and a Movie” nights offer hotel guests and Club Members a safe and fun night out at the posh level of Houstonian-style wine dinners for which they are known. If “adapt” is the watchword of the pandemic climate, Mr. Fronterhouse and team are leading the way for the hospitality industry with creativity and go-all-out gusto!
For example, on August 21st, for the hotel’s “Urban Cowboy” movie date night, they rounded up the movie’s namesakes, cast members, and even “El Toro” the original Gilley’s mechanical bull.
It was a rollicking, socially-distanced fundraiser featuring the classic honky-tonk movie filmed in Houston 40 years ago. Also celebrating The Houstonian Hotel’s 40th anniversary, Western-clad, masked and oh-so-ready-to-get-out-of-the-house guests enjoyed Executive Chef Neal Cox’s four-course dinner themed to the movie, with Sommelier Dat Le’s wine & cocktail pairings. Chef Cox’s themed cuisine included Bacon-Wrapped Bandera Quail with Mezcal glaze (a nod to the memorable scene where a character “drank the worm” from a Mezcal bottle), Seafood Enchiladas (a Travolta favorite during filming), a Bull-Rider’s Special with Fixins’, straight off the original Gilley’s Restaurant menu, and a replica of Bud and Sissy’s Wedding Cake, paired with Champagne, Pol Roger, ‘Brut Reserve’, NV.
Country singer Mickey Gilley (proprietor of the eponymous, world-famous Pasadena nightclub prominently featured in the Urban Cowboy story) agreed to loan the mechanical bull for the fundraiser, but GM Fronterhouse and Chef Cox had to hitch up a trailer and take an 11-hour road trip to Branson, Missouri to wrangle the 600-pound beast back to Texas. Mickey and wife Cindy treated them to dinner and the next morning they were headed back with El Toro in tow.
The dinner/movie crowd was greeted by Gilley himself with a surprise call patched into the ballroom. Several real-life Gilley’s regulars (who were also cast in the film) were on hand to tell their stories and enjoy the limelight, including Dew Westbrook (the inspiration for John Travolta’s character, Bud) and Jessie Mapes (Debra Winger’s best friend). These folks were called “Gilley Rats” back in the days when Gilley’s was billed as the “largest honky-tonk in the world.”
Following the movie, masked-up and socially distanced guests danced to the Allen Brothers Band and bid on Houstonian-lux gifts, hotel stays, spa packages and other items to raise funds for Houston Police Officers Union’s “Assist the Officer” program.
Coming in October to “Dinner and a Movie” nights are “Apollo 13” and “Halloween.” The fall/winter movie lineup and tickets are available at https://www.houstonian.com/events/dinner-and-a-movie-date-night