In search of a date-night idea that’s a step above what you’re used to? Look no farther than Fort Lee. The new iPic Hudson Lights {2023 Hudson Street, Fort Lee; 201.582.7100;} raises the bar on the classic “dinner and a movie” standby with its high-end cuisine and cocktails, delivered right to your seat while you’re enjoying the most recent blockbuster.

iPic Theater in Fort Lee - Gourmet food and drink for dinner and a movie

iPic Theater in Fort Lee brings gourmet food and libations to moviegoers

Gourmet Theater Menu

Make no mistake: iPic doesn’t offer your average chicken fingers and fries fare. James Beard Award-winning Chef Sherry Yard, chief operating officer of iPic Entertainment’s Restaurant Division, has created spectacular dishes that transcend typical or traditional theater “grub,” offering guests an award-winning “dining-in-the-dark” menu conveniently designed to be eaten quietly without cutlery. We’re talking delectable menu items such as Grilled Beef Tenderloin Skewers ($19,) Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos ($15), and the Lobster Roll ($18), prepared by City Perch Kitchen + Bar right next door, also recently opened and owned and operated by iPic. And don’t pass up the Filet Sliders—they’re to-die-for.

iPIC food and drink

iPIC food and drink

Full Bar Service at Your Seat

Guests can also enjoy the services of a full bar, including beer, wine, Champagne, and a selection of hand-crafted, farm-to-glass cocktails at their seat, designed by award-winning master bartender/advanced sommelier Adam Seger, rated as one of the top three spirits meisters in the country by Playboy magazine.

iPIC bar scene

iPIC bar scene

More than Dinner and a Movie

Everything is high-end here. There are no paper napkins and cups. Food is served with cloth napkins, and all drinks are served in glass and kept cold in retracting, insulated cupholders. And those theater seats? They’re not your old, ordinary, back-killers. iPic prides itself on its plush, leather seats.

Hamid Hashemi, a 25-year veteran in cinema entertainment, founded the first iPic in Milwaukee in 2006 “to establish a premium movie-watching experience for an ‘affordable luxury’ customer.” Ten years later, Hashemi’s vision is now a chain with 15 locations across the country—from Los Angeles to Austin and Seattle to Boca Raton—and 20 additional locations currently in development. As such, iPic is the fastest growing luxury brand of movie theaters, and it’s leading the industry in average ticket price and per-person food spending. The company’s most recent outpost right here in Fort Lee—in the Hudson Lights residential complex—offers 533 seats (split among eight screens, from 38 to 116 seats per theater), allowing guests to choose from indie offerings and the latest big-studio offerings.

While moviegoers can buy tickets at the door just like at any other theater, iPic guests can order tickets online, or—even better—download the iPic app on their mobile devices to select their own seats, and pre-order food to have it waiting at their Premium Plus seats upon arrival. Speaking of which, there are two levels of tickets at iPic—Premium and Premium Plus. They both offer the comfortable seats and fantastic food. The difference is that while Premium ticket holders select and purchase food at the iPic Express counter and carry it to their seats themselves, Premium Plus ticketholders have dinner brought to them by “ninja servers,” a title meant to connote stealthy service. (What’s more, the theater food has been chosen because it can be quietly consumed. Goodbye, crunchy nachos.) The plush leather seats for Plus ticketholders recline as well, complemented by courtesy blankets and pillows. Did we mention there’s free popcorn, too?

As for the adjacent, full-service restaurant, City Perch Kitchen + Bar: The seasonal American dining concept is shepherded by Yard, whose previous experience includes working at the Rainbow Room, Montrachet, Tribeca Grill, and at Wolfgang Puck restaurants, and features localized options that showcase each location’s local ingredients.

Yard’s dinner menus are heavy on seafood, pizza, seasonal skillets—even a bread section of the menu (popovers, cornbread, biscuits). Drinks cover cocktails with locally inspired ingredients, selection of whiskeys, mezcals, and Cognacs, plus quite a few other concoctions. City Perch is open seven days a week for dinner, as well as late-night when the bar menu reigns, and reservations can be made via OpenTable.

iPIC appetizers and soups

iPIC appetizers and soups

One last note about iPic and its sister City Perch: Fort Lee can be a bit trying when it comes to parking, but no worries. There’s a parking garage right across the street for the Hudson Lights development for which the theater offers validated parking. Just pull up, grab your ticket, and then wine and dine your date in unparalleled, carefree opulence. Did we mention they have Truffle Fries?

By DiningOut Staff