One-stop entertainment, Latitude 40 set to open in Robinson

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

It's a restaurant. It's a movie theater. It's a bowling alley. Heck, it's two bowling alleys.

It's Latitude 40, a sprawling, glitzy new entertainment center in North Fayette. The 65,000-square-foot complex is a self-contained facility that gathers nightlife, dining, movies, video games and other amusements under one roof. Think of a cruise ship without the Hawaiian shirts and passports.

Latitude 40 opens to the public at 11 a.m. Tuesday, with an earlier VIP opening Friday night. The location comprises a cinema, restaurant, theater, two 12-lane bowling alleys, sports bar, conference center and video arcade with 66 games.

Latitude Global, a privately held entertainment company, opened the first such facility early last year in its home city of Jacksonville. Brent W. Brown, CEO/founder and chairman of the board, grew up in Robinson and graduated from Montour High School. The company hired a staff of 190 for Latitude 40, he says.

By positioning themselves as a one-stop destination with a broad demographic appeal, Latitude 40 could pose a significant challenge to other dining and entertainment centers in the region, including the Homestead Waterfront.

“The components of the venue are really old school — movies, bowling,” Brown says. “We're not trying to reinvent the wheel. What we're doing is, we're evolving the restaurant entertainment business.”

The company began developing the concept in 2007, Brown says. They studied other businesses with hybrid-entertainment concepts, such as Dave & Buster's, Lucky Strike and CineBistro. The center is built around the 360 Grille, “an upscale, casual contemporary-American dining restaurant” on the first floor of the two-level complex.

Visitors can also dine at CineGrill, a small movie theater that will show second-run films. Patrons can order lunch or dinner up to half an hour before the credits roll. Screenings should begin in February.

“Our customers aren't coming there to get in line to see ‘Spider-Man 3' the first day out,” Brown says of the movie theater. “We found that we can hand-pick the ones that we know are successful.”

Latitude Live is a 375-seat theater that will book live national comedy, music and family-oriented acts beginning in January. Both sites can be booked for private and corporate functions.

“We named the local venue after the latitude the city's on,” says Brown, 43. “Jacksonville is Latitude 30, Pittsburgh is Latitude 40, Indianapolis is Latitude 39 and Chicago is Latitude 42.”

This be-all and end-all concept has its advantages, says Terri Sokoloff, president of the Specialty Group Bar & Restaurant Brokers in Ross.

“It's a large venue that has something for everyone,” Sokoloff says.

Its proximity to the airport could make it convenient for out-of-towners, she says.

“It's an all in one place,” she says. “It's easy to get to. ... It's a one and only.”

William Loeffler is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at wloeffler@tribweb.com or 412-320-7986.

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