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‘Game Table’ to Marry Food and Game Concept

Proposed Mineola restaurant to give new meaning to ‘playing with your food.’

It once used to be that those playing the games “Dungeons & Dragons” once had to almost inhabit those very same earthly tombs in order to shuffle their decks away from the taunts and stigmatizing stares of the rest of us not admitted to their guilds and tribes.

Fast forward a couple of decades and they roll their 12-sided dice out in the open and now – at least in Mineola – eat and play as well.

The village already has a game store – “” – which has been operated by David Vanderwerf for the past 4 years and is geared toward video and game playing. Vanderwerf and his brother Duane recently appeared before the on April 11 as part of a special use permit hearing at the seeking permission to sell food at their newest partnership, “Game Master Grill” at 78 Roslyn Road.

“This is a very interesting application,” attorney Richard Reers said, “because you’re going to have an opportunity to observe something that is foreign to our nature in the times that we live in in terms of electronic communication.”

The concept is a restaurant that will serve as a venue for patrons to participate in “short natured, interactive game playing” and “very basic game playing” at their tables, that Reers said will “give the opportunity for people to participate in a very social, fun environment while eating or not eating of short duration... and everyone can participate.”

A special use permit originally existed at the location, which had .

The storefront, which is located on the edge of industrial zone, can accommodate 32 persons with eight to 10 pizzeria-style tables: 3 two-person tables, 4 eight-person tables, one table seating six and four stools. The apartments located above the store are reportedly empty aside from one tenant. There are residential homes located to the north with the Black Sheep Ale House located across the street. 

Hours of operation would be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week, with a mix of two to four full and part-time employees including the owners per shift. A total of 10  employees consisting of part and full-time would cover the 7-day shift.

The business would initially start serving lunch and dinner before entering breakfast with an aim of catering towards businesses on East Second Street.

Renovations to the location will not interfere with adjacent businesses and were described as a cosmetic change rather than structural. There would also be a number of big screen TVs installed which would display both in-store ads and menu options as well as sports games, but have their sound turned town.

The owners anticipate using local vendors and hope to offer patrons take out and delivery of food consisting of “home style cooking” like burgers and comfort foods. Smoke from cooking would be vented to the top of the building using an existing kitchen hood. Putrescible waste would be stored in sealed containers in the basement before pickup. There would also be no alcohol served, but the owners are looking to also sell games to offset that loss.

Citing the “very vast” age group from pre-teen through adult, “we just felt that it wasn’t the right way to handle the business because of that range,” Duane Vanderwerf said of the decision not to sell alcohol.

One delivery would be made per day for bread and other perishables and three other deliveries would be made once a week for other supplies, which Reers said would be made using the rear driveway. The store does have an emergency exit in the rear, through which deputy mayor Paul Pereira suggested taking deliveries off the Second Street entrance.

Parking is available on the street available and to the north with some restrictions in the front of the location. A lot on Second Street and Willis Avenue has 115 spots for use.

“They anticipate that the bulk of their patronage will (come in) during the late hours of the day, towards dinner time,” Reers said.

“The objective is to create a nice, safe, fun environment for all ages to have something good to eat while playing or learning a new game with their friends or family,” David Vanderwerf said. “We want to create a real social network, face-to-face gaming that is happening that’s a quick, easy to learn game.”

The games would consist of small, easy to learn puzzles at the tables and take between five and 15 minutes to play. The foods would be paired with game and game references may also be printed on the menus. The games themselves would be made either of wood or plastic pieces, making them easy-to-clean after being handled and include protective plastic sleeves if cards would be included in gameplay.

“The idea is to create an additional thing that people, they come to eat and they come to learn something new and they enjoy each other’s company while they’re waiting for the food or while they’re waiting on dessert,” Vanderwerf said.

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