Omar Khan and his team have a history of raising the bar. They first started elevating dine-in movie theaters in 2005 with Star Cinema Grill, a Houston-based concept known for its top-notch hospitality and delicious menu items. When they acquired State Fare Kitchen & Bar in 2018, it brought them to their next venture: Culinary Khancepts. The locally owned and operated hospitality group now has several restaurants under their umbrella, including two first-to-market concepts in The Woodlands.
Reel Luxury Cinemas and The Audrey are some of the newest additions at Market Street, opened in July 2023. The boutique movie theater and high-end restaurant are under the same roof (in the previous Cinemark location above Uni Sushi), but they're two distinct brands, offering different menus and different atmospheres.
"Market Street was very selective in who they chose to go into the former cinema space,” said Jason Ostrow, Vice President of Development for Culinary Khancepts. “We told them we would create a new brand that wasn’t a Star Cinema Grill. In the beginning, I don’t think either of us knew that we were going to create The Audrey as well.”
As the team went from planning and permitting to design and construction, they realized this space at Market Street could also house the upscale, refined restaurant they had dreamed of opening in The Woodlands. This was their opportunity to try something new – To bring together the two sides of their business and open a movie theater and a restaurant as two separate brands under one roof.
For The Audrey, Culinary Khancepts removed the old concession stands that covered the windows overlooking Central Park, installed two grand chandeliers, and added a bar with gold accents and elevated cocktails. Behind the mirrored door next to the bar, they built a full kitchen to service The Audrey and Reel Luxury Cinemas’ two different menus.
Photos Courtesy: Andrew Hemingway
The five auditoriums in the boutique movie theater were revamped with cushy heated seats, state-of-the-art laser projection technology, and Dolby sound systems. Even the hallways were intentionally renovated, featuring a carpet with a butterfly pattern to symbolize a new beginning and growth.
According to Ostrow, the team had two hopes for The Audrey and Reel Luxury Cinemas before they opened: That people would enjoy the two new brands, and that this project could act as a prototype for future expansion, especially in areas that didn't have the square footage for a Star Cinema Grill.
“I think a lot of our hopes have been answered,” said Ostrow. “The feedback has been spectacular from our guests, and developers are already looking at the space. This was something special for [The Woodlands], and I don't think it could have turned out any better than it’s turned out.”