Buffet out, themed plates in at Crown Uptown

The newly reopened Crown Uptown Dinner Theater now has a new way of serving dinner to its patrons. The buffet concept is kaput, and theater-goers are being served meals that correspond with the show’s theme at their tables.

So far, the change is working well, said Shannon Parsons, the theater’s bar manager. “People are getting their food a lot faster,” she said. “It seems to be much better.”

The buffet concept wasn’t working, she said, because the line to get through it was always so long. Often, lines would stretch all the way around the building, and by the time people made it through and back to their seats, their food was cold. The change was instituted along with the theater’s current production of “Steel Magnolias.”

New chef Brian Mangers, whose resume includes The Candle Club and Uptown Bistro, is serving a “Steel Magnolias”-esque meal that includes blackened catfish, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, red beans and rice, collard greens, gumbo and salad. Servers still plate the food at the buffet then deliver it hot to the tables.

The theater’s next show is “The Wizard of Oz,” and Mangers is busy dreaming up a No Place Like Home menu right now.