Movies and meatballs? Vetted Well says, ‘Yes!’

By Sara Newberry

Alamo Drafthouse started in Austin in 1997 and has since expanded to 29 locations nationwide. The first Dallas-Fort Worth theatre opened in 2013, in Richardson, fo llowed by The Cedars in 2016 and now, Lake Highlands. The movie-going experience is the best I’ve had; they are serious about the no talking/texting rule, and I have never seen anyone break it. You can order food to eat during your movie, or, if you prefer to keep your dinner and movie separate, you can still make it a one-stop adventure and try Vetted Well, the restaurant located within the building.

The food menu is surprisingly varied, with burgers, hot dogs and pizzas as well as salads and entrees. Often there are specials related to the films currently in rotation, like the recent African-inspired menu in honor of “Black Panther,” or space-themed drinks and dishes during the run of “The Last Jedi.”

Burgers are my usual choice at Alamo, and of those, I tend to stick with the Royale with Cheese (a reference to the movie “Pulp Fiction”), which is topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled onions and a lemon-garlic aioli. It’s a standard burger and has been satisfying every time I’ve tried it. I splashed out once and tried the Fancy Pants burger, with Brie, truffle aioli, arugula and red onion jam. While I enjoyed each individual component, there was too much happening, and the flavors competed with each other instead of complimenting each other.

A chili dog was messy, like you want a good chili dog to be, and the Hatch green chile queso added a satisfying kick of heat. The dog itself was pretty salty, so the whole thing was intensely flavored and left my husband parched (good thing you can get beer AND water delivered to your seat).

The pizzas range from traditional — pepperoni and veggie supreme are two options — to more eclectic, like the Brussels sprout and squash pizzas on offer. The Carnivore pizza (might be called “Meat Lover’s” elsewhere, is loaded with sausage, pepperoni and salami. While it’s not going to make Cane Rosso shake in their boots, it’s a pretty good pizza. The crust was crisp and golden, and the tomato sauce has a lovely balance of acidity and sweetness. On a recent visit, we wanted to try the Brussels sprout pizza, but were brought a squash pizza instead. While the crust was crisp and tasty, unfortunately, the squash and goat cheese mixture on top was so salty we couldn’t eat it.

We used the crust to dip into the delicious tomato sauce that surrounded our chicken and ricotta meatballs! The meatballs themselves were also tasty, if a little heavy on the fennel. The ricotta in the center of the dish was a creamy contrast to the other flavors happening.

A fried goat cheese salad was also a satisfying exercise in contrasts, the salty goat cheese combining beautifully with dried cranberries and a white balsamic vinaigrette. (White balsamic is under-utilized in my opinion, so I was excited to see it here.) The coating on the goat cheese was crisp and well-seasoned.

Fish and Chips was a pleasing version of the dish; again, better than you’d expect at a movie theatre. Seasoned fries (also served alongside the burgers and the chili dogs) are consistently crisp and just salty enough.

If you need popcorn at the movies, that it also an option; Alamo offers a “bottomless” bowl. We’ve gotten a second bowl once — it’s a lot of popcorn for two people to share. It’s not usually hot, but it’s salty and crunchy, so it still scratches the itch.

Milkshakes, brunch items and a few desserts round out the menu. Milkshakes are thick and rich and range in flavors from vanilla to strawberry cheesecake to adult flavors containing alcohol. Chocolate chip cookies are delivered warm and are a perfect accompaniment to a big bowl of popcorn (though you can get peanut M&Ms if that’s your preference).

If you have not gone to see a movie at Alamo Drafthouse, I encourage you to give it a try, especially now that there is a location at the intersection of Skillman and Abrams. The seats are comfortable, texting and talking are strictly forbidden, and you can enjoy a delicious meal (and an adult beverage) while enjoying the show.

Alamo Drafthouse

6770 Abrams Road


Hours vary due to movie show times.

Chicken and Ricotta Meatballs and a Squash and Goat Cheese Pizza at Vetted Well, the restaurant at Alamo Drafthouse.
Photo by Sara Newberry