MENTION of Elite 400 — the popular movie house that was a hit with youths at the turn of the millennium — brings back memories for the people of Bulawayo that used to grace the establishment to enjoy their favourite movies.
The movie house, well known at the time for offering double movies for the price of one, was later closed due to the hard economic conditions that hit Zimbabwe before the country turned to the United States dollar to arrest runaway inflation that had rendered the local currency worthless.
At one point the cinema was turned into a place of worship, with different churches taking advantage of its abundant space to hold day and night church services.
Fast forward to 2019 a young entrepreneur is looking to resuscitate the giant auditorium by breathing life into Elite 400 with a new eatery — Eat-Linq Restaurant.
The new restaurant, owned by 24-year-old Silas Mukusha seeks to be an eatery with a difference that will revitalise the culture of movie watching intertwined with some good food.
Simply put, the new restaurant offers its clientele cuisine served with a complementary movie ticket.
Mukusha said he wants to build a leisure business that connects the foodie, a person with a particular interest in food, to the movie world.
“We tend to associate restaurants with eating only. But here, you can have your meal as you wait for your movie to commence or indulge in a meal later. All this in the comfort of one roof.
“Elite 400 is still the go-to place for the young and old for a movie outing after it was re-opened a few months ago.
“Why not put food, in particular exotic dishes, that people would love to sample while watching the big screen? After ordering their favourite dish or snack, people inquire about the latest movie on circuit,” said Mukusha.
He says his target market are youths who want a space to hang out without necessarily indulging in alcohol, a scourge that is now associated with the young generation.
“Our target market are the young people who no longer have the space to entertain themselves without being accused of binge drinking and doing drugs by society,” he said.
Mukusha, a recent Geography Studies graduate from Lupane State University, is confident that there are more opportunities in the food industry that young people can tap into.
“Look, with the opening of Eat-Linq Restaurant the idea was to draw people closer to the arts scene, in this case the movies by bringing a restaurant to a movie house,” he said.