Digital Movies, Analog Vibes

Slow Down + Reconnect at the Riverwalk Theater in Edwards

Step under the old school marquee into the four-screen Riverwalk Theater and order an adult Icee (blue raspberry slushy goodness with vodka, whisky or rum) and some smoky brisket tacos. The Edwards community staple is back with a full roster of summer blockbusters and tempting pop-up menus.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, theater screens went dark, and owner Grant Smith and his wife Katherine shifted to selling to-go meals and drinks. This year, the couple is thrilled to present a full and exciting summer box office lineup to locals and visitors craving a side of connection with their entertainment.

“In a world where it’s just easier to sit on your couch and watch Netflix, we believe there is still room for a shared experience and personal connection,” Grant Smith says. “We’re asking people to come out and be with friends, family and strangers to connect over food and entertainment.”

Photos courtesy of Riverwalk Theater

Blockbuster Summers are Back

The Smiths want the Riverwalk Theater to be a destination for folks to come together and have a shared experience — preferably over some of their famous homemade soft serve ice cream and a sunset on the patio topped with a film in the comfy, clean theater.

Largely focused on community and family, the couple strives to provide a reasonably priced activity that the whole family can enjoy together. “I love to see a dad and daughter going to a movie together, as the movie provides the medium for them to connect when they might not have anything else in common right now,” Grant Smith adds.

It has been a rough couple of years for the cinema industry and now, he says, a ton of top-notch backlogged content is coming down the pike. Moviegoers can expect consistent major releases this summer, including Top Gun: Maverick (whose release has been delayed three times), Jurassic World: Dominion, Elvis, DC League of Super-Pets, Thor: Love and Thunder and Nope.

The Riverwalk Theater kicked summer off with a Top Gun release party and fundraiser for the Vail Veterans Program, working closely with Captain Tom Trotter who retired to Eagle in 2000 after 24 years as a Navy fighter jet pilot. Trotter worked as a consultant on both Top Gun films.

Dinner + A Movie

The Smiths are proud of the box office bar menu that has evolved over the last three years and welcome guests to stop in for a Colorado craft brew and yard games on the dog-friendly patio and lawn. The walk-up food window is independent from the actual theater and is open for lunch and dinner, serving up daily specials such as a pork belly BLT, chili cheese dog, pizza and chopped brisket sandwiches. Watch for new homemade taco varieties and fun pop-up menu theme nights — think burger and fry night or fried chicken parties — on rotation this summer. A new roll-up garage door and inside seating will connect the lively indoor and outdoor spaces.

One thing not to miss: the theater’s housemade soft serve ice cream. Flavors change on a weekly basis, and there’s always a non-dairy option. Orange is a popular pick, and watermelon is the summer flavor of choice. Can’t decide? Ask for a twist.

“We are really hoping to draw more attention to our non-theater-related business,” Grant Smith says. “Our food is super legit.”

A Community Gathering Spot

As longtime Eagle County locals, the Smiths purchased the Riverwalk Theater in 2018 as a cash-only movie theater with a basic concession stand. They’ve since installed an exterior patio and a walk-up food and beverage window. They added successful ice cream and coffee menus and an ever evolving bar program.

“The inspiration for purchasing the business was and is all about creating and fostering community,” Grant Smith shares. “We’re a locals first business. And, we hope that visitors come here to experience the authentic lifestyle and live how locals live. If you want to get a slice of Eagle County, come to the Riverwalk Theater.”