It’s 11:15 a.m. on November 29 and Boardwalk Café has just opened its doors. The café is a passion project from brothers Dylan and Connor Reinhart, located at 261 George street, at the old Sweet Spirits location. Inside are 300+ board and card games, ranging from the short and sweet to long strategy games, both family friendly and not so much. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because Dylan and Connor have been working on this for years. You may have even seen them hosting events at various venues, including at our campus, in the Ceilie. Boardwalk Café was a top 10 finalist in the inaugural Win This Space competition, and, while they didn’t win, they had a great time, made important contacts, and learned valuable lessons. Now, over two years after they entered the competition, Boardwalk Café is finally open.
The brothers grew up with board games, with classics like Monopoly occupying many hours of their time, and their passion for gaming never quite died. After Dylan went to a board game café and was aided by a host, he realized he wanted to run something similar himself. Board game cafés entail an entry fee per head to play with the cafe’s library mix of classic and eclectic games, while providing drinks and food at an additional cost. With his background as an educator, and Connor’s as a chef, a board game café was the perfect combination of their skills. They ran events at various venues, finding out what people wanted in terms of food and drink, and used all that research to put together a pun-filled menu. The food selections are meant to simulate the board game experience, offering shareable snack options, which serve as great conversation starters. Connor recommends Cards Against Charcuterie, a charcuterie tray with a pun on Cards Against Humanity, and Exploding Chickens, a spicy pulled chicken sandwich based on Exploding Kittens (a very morbid and entertaining card game). Their entry fee of $7 is comparable to others in the business, and they offer beers from every local brewery!
Connor and Dylan hope to set up a tiny retail section in the café, so people can pick up copies of games they liked playing. In this respect, it may seem like the café will offer competition to other board game stores like Duelling Grounds, but the brothers only want to fill gaps in the board game scene, not take over the market. Their dream for the space is to provide a venue for people to discover new games, spend time with friends and family, and just hang out.
Boardwalk Café is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. These hours are subject to change, however, based on demand for particular hours or particular days.