By Bailey Knecht, sports editor
Two popular Boston eateries, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese and Area Four, have joined forces to open a combined bar and arcade on Massachusetts Avenue in the upcoming year. The restaurant will likely be called Roxy’s A4Cade and will serve grilled cheese, burgers and other pub food with a separate area for the bar and arcade, according to plans laid out at a recent City of Cambridge licensing board meeting.
“What we’re seeking to do is bring two concepts together to create an atmosphere that we are confident would be appealing to both families [and] students, as well as professionals, and create, essentially, something that’s appealing to folks from all walks of life,” Lesley St. Germain, the attorney for the new project, said at the meeting.
Area Four plans to open the restaurant at 300 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge as part of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s University Park expansion project. The proposal includes indoor and outdoor seating, a jukebox, video games, pinball machines, Skeeball, foosball, a shuffleboard, a pool table and televisions.
“I think that there is always going to be a competitive nature for businesses in the area,” Lisa Hemmerle, economic development director in the Cambridge Community Development Department, said. “Having an arcade is something we haven’t really seen… I can imagine it attracting a wide variety of audiences.”
Michael Krupp, owner of Area Four, said that A4Cade would use low prices to reach a diverse crowd.
“The focus… is to create approachable food for both families and office workers,” he said. “Affordability is, of course, key to both our success at Area Four and, also, what I hope to be a success at the new location.”
While the alcohol license was granted, plans for the restaurant are still in preliminary stages and may change, according to Iman Richards, an account executive for Marlo Marketing, which represents Area Four.
Northeastern students say the retro twist on the traditional bar scene would attract their interest.
“I and some of my friends would personally be interested in it,” Cody Wetherby, junior combined computer science and game design major, said. “I spent a lot of time in arcades growing up, so I have very fond memories in them and spending time with my father there. I would be curious to check it out, especially if there are decent games.”
Thomas Katzman, junior game design major, said the variety of games would determine whether or not he would visit the new spot.
“I think it would heavily depend on what they offer,” he said. “It’s not necessarily old-fashioned, but there are a bunch of other places that are doing similar things, so they need to have something to make them stand out.”
Several other spots in Boston offer a combination of food, drinks and games. Many such venues fall into two categories: bowling alleys, including Jillian’s Lucky Strike and Kings, offering other entertainment to patrons, and small bars with a few arcade machines each.
The city lacks places centered solely on arcade games. St. Germain said he and his partners are seeking to bring a unique restaurant experience to the entire community by filling that void, in addition to focusing on food.
“What we’re trying to create here is not necessarily just bar service,” she said. “It’s more of a full atmosphere of people enjoying food, games and, to the extent they are of age, alcoholic beverages.”
Construction is set to start by 2016 with a tentative opening by early summer, according to Krupp.
Photo courtesy Doug Kline, creative commons