How two best friends came to Chandler to open the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Derek Dodd and Craig Paschich are best friends and business partners. While some may shy away from mixing their personal and professional lives, these two wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, their bond is so strong that they both moved their families from Texas to Chandler to open up Arizona’s first Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
“I’ve been a part of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema company for almost 10 years. I’ve helped to build the company and build the brand from five to about 26 locations nationwide,” explains Paschich, a partner with the new Chandler location. “I knew it was time for us to do this [move to Arizona] so it wasn’t much of a leap of faith to move out here on our own. We have family here and it was a great opportunity to bring the brand to a new area.”
Dodd, who has worked with the brand for several years as well, says he joined Paschich in his move from Texas to Arizona because he was excited for the chance to work together and the potential for business ownership.
“Moving away from Texas was hard, but the reason we moved was easy,” Dodd explains. “We also have kids the same age, so we have a lot in common.”
Because of their close ties, opening up Arizona’s first Alamo Drafthouse Cinema became a family affair. Dodd’s wife, Crystal, and Paschich’s wife, Kim, are both actively involved in the business. The Dodds’ children, Landon and Aden, and the Paschichs’ offspring, Ty and Sydney, are regulars at the new location as well.
So what is the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema? Paschich describes it as a “neighborhood theater,” but emphasizes that it’s so much more.
“For most Metro Phoenix residents, this is the first they’re learning or hearing about Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, so it’s really exciting to introduce what we, as a company of true film lovers, are all about,” says Chandler Creative Manager Lauren Knight. “From black-and-white classics to new restorations to interactive movie parties to the weird and wonderful, we’ll have something for everyone.”
he Chandler theater features a total of nine screens with more than 950 seats, as well as a full-service bar and kitchen, in-theater dining, and a strictly enforced no-talking/no-texting policy.
“The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has first-run movies and events, amazing food, beer and wine, and more; all while still being comparably priced to movies and casual dining in the area,” Paschich says. “We want to make it easier for families to come to the movies more often.”
Both also emphasize that the decision to open the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Chandler was part business and part personal. Paschich explains that it involved some market research, but also knowing that both families wanted to live in Chandler.
“My kids love it here [in Chandler],” says Dodd. “The reception to the new business has been unbelievable.”
Because most people in the area may not have heard of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, both Dodd and Paschich welcome guests to stop by to ask questions, or for impromptu tours.
Way more than movie munchies
, the people behind the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema hope that it not only becomes known locally for its unique theater experience, but for its delicious cuisine as well. With several years of culinary experience under his belt, Chef Nate Collins is in charge of the theater’s fare.
“Guests can expect to get quality and consistent food that appeals to a variety of palates,” he explains. “… [Personally,] I really enjoy our black bean dip, our brie and onion burger, and I can never turn down a slice of fresh-made pizza and some crispy wings.”
Collins adds that guests should check out the theater’s upcoming feast events too.
“I invite everyone to come enjoy one of our feasts,” he says. “Our feasts consist of food, beer or wine, paired with a specific movie. These events allow us to not only display the culinary talents we have, but it also allows us to distance ourselves from the competition using food and film to guide us as we provide great experiences.”
To learn more about Chandler’s new Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (located on the corner of Arizona Ave. and Chandler Heights), visit Drafthouse.com.