Mandan native Gwen Mangiamele discusses Bennigan’s franchise partnership with Hollywood movie
MANDAN, N.D. (KXNET) — Legendary Restaurant Brands Co-Owner and Managing Director, and Mandan native, Gwen Mangiamele joined Josh Meny for Wednesday’s KX Conversation.
The following is a full transcription of their conversation. Josh’s questions and statements are labeled in italics.
Gwen, thank you for being here!
“Well, hi, Josh, and thank you so much for having me on this KX Conversation happy to be here,” said Legendary Restaurant Brands Co-Owner and Managing Director Gwen Mangiamele.
You and your husband Paul Mangiamele are the owners of Bennigan’s Brand. Last week you came back to your hometown, to the Bennigan’s Mandan restaurant, to hold two VIP screenings of the new Hollywood romantic comedy “About Fate.” It has some big names in the cast like Emma Roberts, and Lewis Tan, just to name a few. What is this movie all about? And what is your connection to it?
“Right. So yes, “About Fate” is a romantic comedy. And as you said, with some very well-known actors and actresses, Emma Roberts and Thomas Mann, Lewis Tan and Madeline Petsch, and it’s just a hilarious, fun movie. And it’s about love and destiny. And the reason that Bennigan’s is so excited about it is we’re actually an integral part of the storyline. And the producers reached out to us to see if we’d like to be involved in this project. And we said, yes, of course. And the reason they went to Bennigan’s is because we are known for our warm and friendly atmosphere, most importantly, our nostalgia and there’s just a unique and special emotional connection that people around the world really that really have this connection to Bennigan’s and that’s what the producers were searching for looking for. And so they chose a restaurant that was closed outside of Boston and had us come in and convert it to Bennigan’s. So very, very fun, exciting, challenging project,” explained Mangiamele.
Yeah. And it’s so cool to see the Bennigan’s in some of the clips from the movie trailer. So how was the VIP screenings at the Bennigan’s Mandan location last week?
“Right. Oh, gosh, the screenings went fantastic. We chose Mandan because I am from Mandan so that helps. And then our franchise partners, Rob Knoll and Monte Stein, who actually own and operate the [Bennigan’s Mandan] restaurant. They’ve worked so hard since they opened their Bennigan’s and managed to really engage the Bismarck Mandan community and establish this very loyal guest base. And so we wanted to tap into that base. And they came through for us and showed up and loved it. You know, it’s not a real studio. So it was kind of like, ‘Okay, now we’re converting the patio into a theater,’ but it worked out really great. And we plan to actually show it every year from now on, it’s based on during the holidays. So it’s the perfect time to come in and have a way to eat and watch a really fun movie,” explained Mangiamele.
Wow, that’s awesome. Well, there’s an interesting Bismarck connection to the movie as well.
“Completely. This is unbelievable. So, Jason Allen is the assistant director for the film. And so here we are outside of Boston, we’re on the set, and I meet him and he’s from North Dakota. He was actually even wearing a North Dakota t-shirt when I met him. So he’s from Bismarck, I should say, and had this North Dakota t-shirt on. So it was just so funny. And I am just like ‘what are the chances that you would be meeting someone for Bismarck on this film?’ And I just think it’s about fate,” said Mangiamele.
Watch the hilarious com-com featuring Bennigan’s ‘About Fate’ on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Youtube, Redbox, and Google Play Movie
Here’s a look at the VIP screening at Bennigan’s Mandan: