When Lincoln Square’s historic Davis Theater closed its doors in January, Star Wars: Episode VII was among the last films to grace its storied screen. Now, a year and almost $5 million in renovations later, the theater will reopen on December 15—just in time for the next Star Wars installment—with a few particularly welcome upgrades. First and foremost, Carbon Arc Bar & Board: a 100-plus-seat eatery helmed by longtime Lincoln Square resident Gilbert Langlois (Chalkboard, Millie’s Supper Club).
While patrons can mosey into both the theater and the adjoining concessions area without stepping outside, Langlois aspires to reach beyond the pre- and post-show crowd. “You can bring anything you order into the theater—including drinks,” he says, thanks to trays that lock into the theater’s cup holders. But, he stresses, “You can just come for dinner, too! You don’t have to see a movie.”
Langlois’ menu focuses on easy-to-transport fare like tacos and flatbreads, though, he admits, “the tacos won’t all be what you might consider a typical taco.” Think chicken vindaloo with cucumber, lime, and jicama on tortilla-like paratha bread in an arrangement that roughly resembles a taco. Also notable: Carbon Arc’s dedication to younger patrons. “I didn’t want to just have chicken fingers and French fries [on the kid’s menu],” says Langlois. He’s got a perfect sounding board for his ideas in the form of 10-year-old son Owen. Entrees like the mac and cheese (Owen’s favorite) and PB&J come with a variety of sides, ranging from a giant pickle to an ice-cream cone full of mashed potatoes.
If that all sounds a little homier than your average cinema, says Langlois, good. “Everyone here has a really positive attitude,” he says. “The majority of our employees live around here and know the history of the theater. We’re all invested in making sure it does really well.”