The World’s Most Unique Movie Theater Reveals Expansion Plans in Las Vegas

….and you can make it possible through a perks-packed campaign…

If you only visit Las Vegas from time to time, you might be surprised to learn that Sin City has a lot in common with Hollywood. Not only have dozens of blockbuster movies and televisions shows been filmed here, but there is a vibrant community of filmmakers and actors. Production studios benefit from our gorgeous cinematic locations, wealth of acting talent and the tech industries that call our valley “home”.

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In addition, movie-going itself is a staple activity of our residents and visitors. Nearly every off-Strip hotel casino has a multiplex theater off the gambling floor. Our six-screen drive-in was one of only a few in the nation that were able to operate throughout last year’s closures. And during any normal year, Las Vegas attracts thousands of fans, celebrities and Hollywood heavy-hitters for conventions like Star Trek, Days of the Dead and CinemaCon (formerly known as ShoWest). 

The most recent only-in-Vegas experience came when The 35 Cinema opened this February in downtown Las Vegas. I told you all about the super-cool retro cinema here, and profiled its owner/creator John Lohmann in this piece. The response to his venture was so overwhelming that Mr. Lohmann decided to expand it into a three-screen multi-plex, keeping the concept intact while adding even more unique elements. 

The new location for The 35 Cinema wil be the sprawling, history-rich Commercial Center District World Village (or Commercial Center for short). It’s just a stone’s throw from Sahara Hotel and Westgate Las Vegas on East Sahara Avenue. Regular readers will recognize Commercial Center as the trendy location for businesses like a reborn Vickie’s Diner, ever-popular Lotus of Siam, The Vegas Room, The Nevada Room, Cineloggia Movie Artifact Museum, Hellbound Horror Collectibles and the wonderful Sci Fi Center of Las Vegas

981163_10153415767087452_6134307817601718767_oRelocating to Commercial Center is a no-brainer for The 35 Cinema. As a hotbed for fan-centric activities, this unique plaza will allow moviegoers to visit other movie-related businesses all in one visit. An expanded footprint for the Cinema makes it possible to run three movies at once (the former location was a single-screener) while providing hundreds of free parking spaces, on-property security, expanded hours, all-ages admission (not possible under their previous leasing agreement at Neonopolis), bar service, and lots more.

I so believe in and support this venture that I helped Lohmann to draft crowd-funding proposals to bring a bigger, better The 35 Cinema to Las Vegas. Here is the link to the IndieGogo campaign, which you can see in its entirety below:


The 35 Cinema: Where FILM comes BACK to the Cinema!

There’s never been a better time to rediscover movie-going. And Las Vegas has the ultimate way to experience the magic at The 35 Cinema….movies the way they were meant to be seen.

The 35 Cinema is the only multiplex theater of its kind in the world. What makes The 35 Cinema so special? It’s a retro movie house that presents timeless classics and cult favorites the way they were originally made and shown…with genuine 35 millimeter film and projectors.  

There are only a handful of theaters running 35mm film in the US.  But what make The 35 Cinema stand out above all the others is that it’s the only 100% revival theater in the world running exclusively on 100% film!  We will not be playing anything after the year 2000!

Today’s modern megaplexes utilize a totally digital format, essentially transforming their screens into over-sized televisions. Computers and electronic devices generate sound and imagery that are often called “hyper-realistic”. While the goal of this technology is a perfect presentation, what’s lacking is charm, warmth, and the intimacy of an old-time cinema.

The 35 Cinema restores the original format of movies, once thought to be lost forever. Let the sounds and flickering of 35mm projectors whisk you away on an unforgettable adventure. Classics like The Wizard of Oz, Singing In The Rain, Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Star Wars, Tron, A Nightmare On Elm Street…all of them were created using movie film, and nothing can replace the thrill of watching them that way.

The above video is not ours, but gives you an idea of the workings of a 35mm projector.

At The 35 Cinema, our meticulously-restored systems are a part of the show. Projectors are located within view of the auditorium, not hidden out of sight. Arrive early to watch our projectionist thread your movie through complex gears and pulleys, into a powerful lamp housing and onto massive take-up reels. Grab an ice-cold soft drink and a bag of the best popcorn in town, then settle in for vintage coming-attraction trailers before the landmark main feature.

Along with being the coolest retro theater in the world, The 35 Cinema is the ultimate gathering spot for cine-philes of all ages. We offer an ever-expanding schedule of fan events, celebrity appearances, themed festivals and all-day marathons. Rare props, movie memorabilia, and dozens of autographed photos take you back to when you first saw your favorites on the silver screen.

One of the many events we’ll be hosting will be our “Breakfast with the Toons” every Saturday and Sunday morning. You’ll be served a continental breakfast and get to watch two to three cartoon shorts before an animated feature! The fun part about it is it’ll be just like when you were a kid watching cartoons Saturday morning…you wont know what will be playing until it starts!

The 35 Cinema has so much to offer so…don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the greatest cinematic experience of all time. The 35 CinemaMovies The Way They Were Meant To Be Seen.

Here is a rough draft of the floor plan for our new location in “The Commercial Center” of Las Vegas!

As you can see above, the floor plan for our new location includes a large concession stand, liquor bar and three cinemas. We also have areas of the theater that will be able to host VIP celebrity guests, original movie props and so much more.

Media on “The 35 Cinema”

Here are just a few of the news broadcasts “The 35 Cinema” was featured on at our first location!

What the money will be used for 

We already have some of the 35mm equipment in our possession, but we need more for additional auditoriums. We also require funding to secure our new Las Vegas location, construction, additional concession equipment and more.

As a contributor you can take advantage of our many Rewards:

Risks & Challenges

And what happens if The 35 Cinema doesn’t meet its goal? If we don’t succeed — It would be a sad day for 35mm, cinemas and Las Vegas as a whole. We’re relocating into a space 6 times the size of our first location and we’ll finally be family friendly (our first location was 21 and over due to the venue we were in.)

Our audience is growing and people are finding the magic of 35mm movies is still alive and we would love to keep it that way. You have to try our popcorn as well… It has been called “The Best Popcorn In Town!”

If we succeed with your help, we’ll immediately proceed with showing movies the way they were meant to be seen…on film and on a silver screen! We are The 35 Cinema…together!

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To be a backer of The 35 Cinema and reap rewards like the opportunity to meet movie stars, hold private screenings and much more, click here

Esther’s Kitchen Leads a Wave of Restaurant Re-openings


Chef James Trees and team bring “Seasonal Italian Soul Food” back to Arts District…

It’s an absolute thrill to share news that life as we remember it might just be inching towards “normal”. Of course, there will be adjustments galore for both businesses and patrons…but let’s take what we can get and enjoy the wonderful experience of dining out once more.

The following is a press release I received from Eric. C. Gladstone this morning. Eric represents some of Sin City’s finest restaurants (La Strega, Vegenation, Lotus of Siam) and food festivals (Vegas Unstripped). Continue beyond the press release to my February 2019 write-up of Esther’s Kitchen, which was also featured in BestOfVegas.com. Please note that hours, menu and prices may have changed since the original publication.

Enjoy….and welcome back to the real world!

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Chef Trees during a recent online cooking class May 6, 2020

(credit: Cyndi Graham)

(May 11, 2020) – Chef/Owner James Trees has announced the reopening schedule for Esther’s Kitchen, following the statewide shutdown for COVID-19 quarantine. Esther’s Kitchen will resume dinner service next Friday, May 15 from 5-11 p.m. and open again for the same dinner hours Saturday May 16 and Sunday May 17.

The following week, the restaurant will resume dinner service Wed May 20 through Sunday May 24, and then dinner service will resume a 7 day schedule from Friday May 29. Weekend brunch service will resume Saturday & Sunday, May 30-31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekday lunch service will resume on Monday June 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 pm.

Per guidelines set by the State of Nevada and SNHD, Esther’s Kitchen will reduce the number of tables in the restaurants by 50%, with no bar seating until further notice. Dining on the front and rear patios will also be available. All service staff and kitchen staff will meet and exceed all mandated safety precautions while maintaining highest levels of service. Reservations through the website and over the phone will be strongly recommended, and guests will be asked to respect proper social distancing.

The restaurant will also be debuting a new menu, featuring more new vegetable-forward dishes, more new pastas and more main courses alongside many of diners’ established favorites. “We are excited to be getting back to serving our friends & neighbors,” said Chef Trees, “and especially excited to share some of the new dishes we’ve been working on.”

Key Dates:  5/15-17: Dinner resumes, 5-11 p.m.

5/20-5/24: Dinner service, 5-11 p.m.

5/29: Dinner returns to seven-day schedule, 5-11 p.m.

5/30-31 Weekend Brunch resumes, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

6/1: Weekday Lunch resumes, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.


ESTHER’S KITCHEN TURNS BRUNCH INTO ART

Feb 15, 2019 | By Sam Novak

Sometimes the best new offerings in any city are ones that spring up in gentrified areas. For Las Vegas, the eighteen-block region now known as the Art District was once a collection of run-down warehouses and abandoned shops. These days, a new vibe of hipster-cool is drawing both young and old back to the area.

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Nestled in among the graffiti-style wall murals, art galleries and coffee shops is a grand little place named Esther’s Kitchen. While technically located at 1130 S. Casino Blvd, the cafe physically faces E. California Avenue, unit #110. So while it may be a bit tricky to find, Esther’s Kitchen is definitely worth seeking.

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Esther’s Kitchen is the brainchild of Chef James Trees, whose late great-aunt Esther bequeathed him the funds to make the restaurant possible. A protege of sorts of the world-famous Michael Mina, Trees made his mark in countless establishments on and around the Strip before venturing out on his own.

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Esther’s Kitchen is the culmination of Chef Trees’ storied career…and a wonderful reflection of his upbringing. His goal is for every guest to feel welcome and cared for. The open kitchen, whimsical decor and friendly staff may remind you of visits to a favorite relative, but it’s with the food that Esther’s Kitchen really shines.

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Esther’s boasts a farm-to-table operation. Everything is locally sourced or brought in from the best nearby suppliers. It’s worth noting that prices are far less than you’d pay elsewhere for dishes of this quality and presentation.

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The weekend brunch, for which I was an invited guest, features a variety of familiar favorites given a homespun Italian slant. My companion and I were invited to select two entrees to accompany a sampler of Chef’s choices.

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We started out with a plate of warm fluffy Biscuits with Chive Butter ($5) along with Toasted Italian Bread under layers of cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onions and capers ($11).

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Next came a bowl of Malfada Nero ($19), a dish whose dark mafaldine pasta is colored with cuttlefish ink. The unique wavy noodles are tossed with big chunks of lobster (flown in directly from Gloucester, Mass.), fennel, lemon and truffle butter, and the dish is as mouth-watering as it sounds.

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My main course from the list of “Egg Dishes” was a plate of Polenta with two sunny-side Chino Ranch eggs, mushrooms, truffle butter and frico chips ($14). My guest took a cue from the lunch menu and indulged in an enormous Chicken Parm ($13) smothered in provolone, organic tomato sauce and basil. Sandwiches are accompanied by housemade root chips and a simple salad.

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Some of the other brunch specialties include Ricotta Pancakes topped with blueberry compote and lemon butter ($12), a Breaky Sandwich with sausage, fried egg, fontina cheese, greens and potatoes ($12) and Bread Pudding French Toast Sticks served with maple and golden dipping syrups ($10).

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During weekdays, Esther’s Kitchen caters to the Downtown lunch crowd with fast counter service. Parties of six or more can make reservations for full table service. The lunch menu has a variety of delectable pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches.

Esther’s dinner menu builds on crowd-pleasers from the lunch menu, and adds a hearty selection of main courses. Market Fish with charred orange braised endive ($28), Pachamama Farm Porchetta with squash and brussels ($27) and Rye Tagliatelle with braised duck and mushrooms ($24) should satisfy your cravings.

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Despite the intimate size of the dining room, Esther’s Kitchen boasts a full bar whipping up classics, alongside Seasonal Market Cocktails. It also hosts a daily “Pasta Happy Hour” – from 5 to 7 and 9 to 11, enjoy any adult beverage and get half off a pasta entree at the bar.

Whatever time you show up, you’re sure to enjoy Esther’s Kitchen. And if you’re feeling especially appreciative of your experience, you can send a round of beers to the kitchen for only six dollars.

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Esther’s Kitchen is open for brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for lunch between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Dinner is served daily from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. For reservations, which are suggested, call 702.570.7864.

Photos: Sam Novak unless otherwise credited