Boardwalk Board Game Lounge is Peterborough’s newest social experience – a full-service restaurant and board game lounge. Launched by brothers Dylan and Connor Reinhart, Boardwalk Board Game Lounge is a space that brings people together with food, drinks, and an ever-changing roster of classic and modern board games.
“With Boardwalk Board Game Lounge, we wanted to create a space where people can gather, play games and enjoy an experience unlike a meal at a traditional restaurant,” says co-owner Dylan Reinhart. “COVID-19 certainly challenged that idea, but overall we are happy with the relationships we continue to build with our patrons both in the lounge and at home.”
At the Boardwalk Board Game Lounge, patrons can enjoy delicious food, craft cocktails, and beverages, learn a new game or play an old classic. To the Reinhart brothers, fostering an inclusive and judgment-free environment was essential. As Dylan explains,
“it can be very intimidating to come to a party or board game lounge and learn a new game. At Boardwalk, we work hard to ensure our staff understand the games in our cafe so they can teach people new games without any pressure.”
With over 500 board games in the Boardwalk Board Game Lounge, Dylan and Connor take great pride in expanding the experience of their new and experienced gamers, no matter what their game preference might be. “Even if you have only ever played chess, Monopoly, or checkers, there is a game for you,” says Connor. “We love finding out more about our customers and helping to match them to a game that will enjoy and maybe one day introduce to their social circle.”
In addition to local fare, Boardwalk Board Game Lounge is also proud to now share locally designed games with their in-person customers. These games are created by local game makers both in Peterborough and across the province.
“Not all games are structured like Scrabble or the traditional board games we all grew up with,” agrees Dylan. “Some games are designed to make you laugh, and some are meant to make you think and strategize. It’s all about finding the right game for the right person.”
When asked what they are best known for, the brothers unanimously agree that their game recommendations and personal insight into almost all 500 games in the lounge really help bring back customers again and again. “We have seen so many customers come back to us after learning a new game looking for a new recommendation,” laughs Connor. “Once we can tap into a series of games a customer likes, the opportunities to recommend new games are endless. It’s truly one of the best parts of our experience.”
“For us, we focus on the three pillars of our business – eating, drinking, and playing,” adds Dylan.
“We focus on locally sourced food and drink that is inspired by nostalgia with a foodie twist. All of our wine, beer and spirits are all local to within an hour of Peterborough, and our food menu is continuing to expand in that direction as well. Supporting local through our business is an important element of what makes Boardwalk a true community hub.”
“It is really important to us that everyone feels welcome and included here,” explains Dylan. “A question we often get is how long can someone stay to finish their game. At Boardwalk, we have a flat fee of $7 per person to play as many games as you want for as long as you want. We want our space to feel like you are at a friend’s house playing games – only with a better selection of homemade food and locally sourced drinks!”
In light of the challenges related to COVID-19, co-owner Connor Reinhart shares vital learnings in the Boardwalk Board Game Lounge’s business model – game sales. “We always knew retail was an element of the lounge, but during the pandemic, we continue to see board game sales as a driver of our business. The support we received from the community of Peterborough has been, and continues to be, amazing.”
In addition to their in-person offerings, Dylan and Connor continue to pivot their business model to accommodate social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions in the area. “COVID really prompted us to move forward on aspects of the business that we may not have otherwise explored,” shares Dylan. “From virtual game nights to expanding our online retail store, we are happy to have continued to reach our patrons and keep bringing board games to the community of Peterborough.”
We recognize that not everyone is not comfortable being able to gather yet,’ explains Dylan.
“While we are open for food and games in our restaurant and on the patio, we also continue to offer other options for our community to get involved. We continue to host our virtual game nights, offer takeout on our entire menu and have expanded our online board game shop.”
When asked about their most significant accomplishment, the brothers agree that creating a strong community around board games is a lifelong dream. “Peterborough is home to us, and we are so proud to share this passion with our community. From the community to business organizations like PKED, we have always felt supported in creating a new type of experience.”
To find out more about the Boardwalk Board Game Lounge, visit their local Peterborough location at 261 George Street North or online at boardwalkptbo.ca