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Cheap eats before a pricey flick

Meze Greek Fusion at Liberty Station

Melted Swiss cheese doesn't add to the gyro experience
Melted Swiss cheese doesn't add to the gyro experience

The LOT theater at Liberty Station offers a posh moviegoing experience: you sit in cushy, reclining seats, each furnished with a swing out tray so you can eat and drink while you watch. There’s even a call button in the armrest, so you can summon waitstaff mid-movie for another round of food or drink.

Place

Meze Greek Fusion Liberty Station

2820 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego

You wind up paying about 20 bucks per ticket, though, and when you factor in the price of entrees and cocktails — in the $28 and $12 range respectively — modest ordering still sees the cost of this night out surpasses $60 per person before you get to the opening credits.

Whatever you order at Liberty Public Market can be eaten with beer at the Bottlecraft bar

I’m more accustomed to the Netflix and chill price point, so I hopped over to nearby Liberty Public Market before the film started for a cheaper dinner. There were many options of course; the market has seen vendors come and go since opening in 2016, but there’s always a breadth of meals available. A quick browse through its hallways had me deliberating among jambalaya, empanadas, lobster rolls, and pasta.

In each case I asked myself: which dinner will go best with a beer? Half the reason I order food in the stalls of Liberty Public Market is I know I can take my food over to the bar at Bottlecraft beer shop, found in the dining hall at the east end of the building. There are always excellent local beers on tap, and any food from market vendors is welcome.

With this in mind, foodwise I settled on a gyro from Meze Greek Fusion, a familiar local brand behind my favorite Mediterranean restaurant in East Village. This food counter version of Meze is clearly a different class of restaurant, and its menu reflects that. So do its prices. I couldn’t resist trying the cheesesteak inspired Greek Philly: a pita wrap featuring swiss cheese melted over gyro meat and sautéed mushrooms, peppers, and onions for $12.

Apologies to the bartop at Bottlecraft, because despite being neatly wrapped in butcher paper, the gyro proved quite messy, endlessly dripping Tzatziki and mixed oils running off from the veggies and cheese. That’s likely one reason it’s not more common to find cheese in a gyro; the flavor is another. The thick, melted Swiss added too much earthy character to a sandwich that already had plenty, thanks to generous portion of beef and lamb meat. A nice idea, but next time, I’ll keep Meze’s cheese and sandwich offerings separate. Its saganaki fried cheese dish is quite tasty by comparison.

I fared better on the beer side, scoring a pint of Czech-style pilsner to wash everything down before walking two blocks to the theater. One of these days, I’ll go whole hog at the LOT, and enjoy a premium night out. But for this round, keeping dinner and drink under 20 bucks helped me afford a movie night out that surprisingly exceeded the comfort streaming movies from my sofa.

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Melted Swiss cheese doesn't add to the gyro experience
Melted Swiss cheese doesn't add to the gyro experience

The LOT theater at Liberty Station offers a posh moviegoing experience: you sit in cushy, reclining seats, each furnished with a swing out tray so you can eat and drink while you watch. There’s even a call button in the armrest, so you can summon waitstaff mid-movie for another round of food or drink.

Place

Meze Greek Fusion Liberty Station

2820 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego

You wind up paying about 20 bucks per ticket, though, and when you factor in the price of entrees and cocktails — in the $28 and $12 range respectively — modest ordering still sees the cost of this night out surpasses $60 per person before you get to the opening credits.

Whatever you order at Liberty Public Market can be eaten with beer at the Bottlecraft bar

I’m more accustomed to the Netflix and chill price point, so I hopped over to nearby Liberty Public Market before the film started for a cheaper dinner. There were many options of course; the market has seen vendors come and go since opening in 2016, but there’s always a breadth of meals available. A quick browse through its hallways had me deliberating among jambalaya, empanadas, lobster rolls, and pasta.

In each case I asked myself: which dinner will go best with a beer? Half the reason I order food in the stalls of Liberty Public Market is I know I can take my food over to the bar at Bottlecraft beer shop, found in the dining hall at the east end of the building. There are always excellent local beers on tap, and any food from market vendors is welcome.

With this in mind, foodwise I settled on a gyro from Meze Greek Fusion, a familiar local brand behind my favorite Mediterranean restaurant in East Village. This food counter version of Meze is clearly a different class of restaurant, and its menu reflects that. So do its prices. I couldn’t resist trying the cheesesteak inspired Greek Philly: a pita wrap featuring swiss cheese melted over gyro meat and sautéed mushrooms, peppers, and onions for $12.

Apologies to the bartop at Bottlecraft, because despite being neatly wrapped in butcher paper, the gyro proved quite messy, endlessly dripping Tzatziki and mixed oils running off from the veggies and cheese. That’s likely one reason it’s not more common to find cheese in a gyro; the flavor is another. The thick, melted Swiss added too much earthy character to a sandwich that already had plenty, thanks to generous portion of beef and lamb meat. A nice idea, but next time, I’ll keep Meze’s cheese and sandwich offerings separate. Its saganaki fried cheese dish is quite tasty by comparison.

I fared better on the beer side, scoring a pint of Czech-style pilsner to wash everything down before walking two blocks to the theater. One of these days, I’ll go whole hog at the LOT, and enjoy a premium night out. But for this round, keeping dinner and drink under 20 bucks helped me afford a movie night out that surprisingly exceeded the comfort streaming movies from my sofa.

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