THOUSAND OAKS : Plaza Will Cater to Picnics and Banquets

Aiming for an atmosphere both informal and elegant, Thousand Oaks theater commissioners have approved a catering program for the Civic Arts Plaza that includes both plastic-silverware picnics and bone-china banquets.

The seven-member panel has recommended granting an exclusive concessions contract to Warner Center Marriott of Woodland Hills. The City Council will consider the contract at its June 7 meeting.

In its catering proposal, the Warner Center Marriott team sought to blend the casual, jeans-and-sneakers tradition of the Hollywood Bowl with the more upscale, formal ambience of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Theater-goers in Thousand Oaks could order a $6 dinner, featuring cold chicken or croissant sandwiches, for a “picnic under the oaks.”


Wealthy patrons--those who have contributed at least $50,000 to the arts center’s endowment--could enjoy a banquet served by waiters in black-tie tuxedos in the Founders Room.

And during intermissions, all spectators could buy drinks and desserts.

To sweeten their proposal, Warner Center Marriott executives promised 10% of their gross revenue to the city. They also offered to steer hotel guests toward shows at the Civic Arts Plaza, perhaps by selling discounted, last-minute tickets.

“We’ll absolutely guarantee that this will be a success,” said Robert Graney, the hotel’s general manager. “We won’t let you down.”

Commissioners have also approved a deal with Century Parking Inc. of Los Angeles to run the 735-space parking garage. Under the contract, which also goes to the City Council for approval, ordinary parking would cost $4, VIP parking in preferred spaces would go for $7 and valet parking would be priced at $10.