Consume meal and movie in 2 hours at Easton

Taking youngsters out to dinner and a movie can be an exhaustive and expensive endeavor.

One way to do both in about two hours is at a dinner theater, where you can consume a restaurant-style meal and a movie at the same time.

My family of four tried out this concept at Easton Town Center’s Fork & Screen dine-in theater, which opened at the Columbus shopping mecca in 2012.

We found the experience to be a good destination for families wanting to do something special together. The evening was no less expensive than having dinner and seeing a movie separately, though. Expect to pay upward of $100 for a family of four. That’s without dessert or adult beverages.

Easton’s AMC theater offers 30 auditoriums, 17 of which are reserved for dining experiences. There are two options: Cinema Suites is for the 21 and over crowd, offering upscale dining and personal recliners. Fork & Screen serves casual meals to guests seated at leather rocking chairs with swing-out tables. Both options offer seat-side service at the push of a button.

I ordered our tickets online for a same-day showing of “Monsters University.” The PG-rated, 3D-animated movie seemed like a visual feast for our children’s eyes and a good pairing for a feast for their bellies, too. When ordering online, you also can select your seats, as you would ordering tickets for a concert. I chose the remaining adjacent seats in the second row. All seats appeared to offer a good view of the movie screen.

We arrived early to place our carb-filled orders of pizza, grilled cheese and quesadillas. I found our servers to be friendly and unobtrusive. (To save time, you can review the menu online beforehand.)

We seated our 4- and 6-year-olds between us, to prevent them from wandering astray during the movie. This theater offers lots more personal space than regular theaters. I had to get up and take a couple of steps to pass a drink to my husband. There also seemed to be more previews for upcoming movies than at regular showings.

My son, Max, especially liked his personal space with its own little light, food tray and self-service button. Our kids behaved exceptionally well, being preoccupied by the movie and their intimate surroundings. They did get cold, however, so we covered their legs with their own little cloth napkins.

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