Real Estate / Neighborhoods

Losing Disco Kroger and Distinctive Movie Theater in Same Week is No Small Blow to Houston’s Quirky Character

The Bayou City is Getting a Little Less Weird — and Distinctive

BY // 11.12.20

Houston is not light on grocery stores in many parts of the city. Including Montrose. Drive five minutes and you’re liable to run into another one — or three. But there was only one Disco Kroger.

Just like there was only one Houston movie theater that did what AMC Studio 30 did. Neither Disco Kroger or Houston’s AMC Studio 30 were pretty, new or all that clean. But losing both of them in the same week still leaves something of a void. Houston is forever changing. That is part of what defines the nation’s fourth largest city — for better and for worse.

But some change hurts more than others.

Houston loses a little bit of its quirky character without Disco Kroger, one of the rare chain stores with real character (thanks to its customers), and the AMC with the screen space and the willingness to show foreign films (particularly South and East Asian films) you usually could not watch elsewhere. AMC Studio 30 has already shuttered and Disco Kroger will bow out in mid January. The announcements came days apart.

With that, Houston will become a little less scruffy and a little less distinctive. Disco Kroger’s nickname comes from the late night crowd and post bar party feel it would attract back when some grocery stores used to be open 24-7 pre coronavirus. It’s been perched at the 3300 block of Montrose Boulevard for more than 40 years.

Faced with increased competition and nicer nearby grocery stores, it’s been losing money for “sustained period of time,” according to a corporate office Kroger statement. It also occupies a coveted piece of real estate that will no doubt be a hot property.

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Of course, you can be sure that a hulking movie theater will not be filling it. Sprawling multiplexes like AMC Studio 30 were falling out of favor even before COVID-19 and a continuing reluctance to release new movies crippled the Hollywood model. Houston’s Studios 30 lasted more than 20 years at 2949 Dunvale.

That’s a good run for movie theater. But finding Bollywood movies playing in Houston will not be so easy anymore. This AMC had plenty of faults, but with Houston’s movie theater roster still sorely lacking compared to many cosmopolitan cities, it will be missed.

For those keeping track, Houston has now lost its infamous Starbucks across the street from another Starbucks, one of its most diverse movie theaters and Disco Kroger all since May. The city may be becoming more sophisticated, but it’s also losing a little bit of its out-there charm.

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