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Dave & Buster's: Food, Games and Glory

David Cathey Published: January 27, 2012

Dave & Buster’s opens its first store in Oklahoma City on Monday, which has gamers and arcadeniks rejoicing. I am neither, so I was pretty ambivalent until I was invited to swing by to sample some food and try out the games. I made it by for the food, but left the games to an expert.

Chef Richard Persky is Kitchen Manager at the new Dave & Buster’s, late of The Cheesecake Factory, oversees the kind of menu that will appeal to the masses. It’s a mix of American classics, ranging from burgers to spare ribs.

“We make everything in-house,” Persky said. “Nothing out of a box.”

This was refreshing to hear as large chains operations are notorious for short cuts. We tried out grilled chicken macaroni and cheese, which had the bread-crumb topping. The ribs were tender enough to practically drip off the bone. The Philly Steak Roll is a play on the egg roll served with melted cheese. The best thing I tried were the two salmon dishes. The fish was fresh and succulent, the seasoning bold but not overdone. The Fire Grilled Salmon was seasoned with Cajun spices the Chargrilled Atlantic Salmon was a mild Asian play. Both were good, and worthy of ordering before a long night of gaming.

We also tried the Double Stacked Chicken Parm Sandwich, which included lightly breaded chicken breast, marinara and Parmesan and Provolone cheeses. Between the chicken breasts was a hearty slice of tomato that gave the sandwich just enough perk to make it work.
This is exactly the kind of menu one would expect at an arcade on steroids. Chef Persky and his enthusiastic crew executed it perfectly. Before visiting Dave & Buster’s, I knew I would be required by my children to visit but I wouldn’t have thought I would choose to eat there. After my sampling, that’s changed. They also offer discounted gaming with various entrees called Eat & Play Combos. They start at $15.99 and include $10 in game tokens. This, I imagine, is the most common option people choose.

Dave & Buster’s is divided into a dining room, bar and game room. The bar is in the center, and includes large circular bar in the center with tables surrounding it. I didn’t try any cocktails, so I can’t speak to them.

Try Again, Space Cadet!

As for the games, I needed some help. Despite growing up during the dawn of the video game age, I’ve never been of much use with a joystick, controller, Wii wand or skeeball. While friends were dropping smart bombs in the Defenderverse or gobbling ghosts in Pacmandia, I stood by quietly — my roll of quarters long since ingested by Centipede, Tailgunner 2, Frogger, and Joust. While my best friend Ben was unlocking the final screen on Pacman, I was trying to graduate Space Cadet” status on Galaxian. On Mike Tyson Punch-Out,

I was slightly less a tomato can than Glass Joe.

I did have a brief affair with Tecmo Bowl and its better-looking sister Super Tecmo Bowl, but it took such effort to get Warren Moon’s run-and-shoot Houston Oilers past Joe Montana’s 49ers that entire sleep cycles were skipped. It proved too high a price to pay, so I retired from gaming.

I will admit in the Xbox 360 Kinect age, I did stumble upon a certain degree of expertise in bowling and table tennis — but only if I play left-handed. In a fit of frustration, I used my left hand to finish out a game of bowling only to find that I had Earl Anthony potential. I even went on to bowl a 300 game. No matter how much

This is exactly what I look like when I play bowl on the Kinect.
This is exactly what I look like when I play bowl on the Kinect.

I’ve tried, I’m completely unable to match my left-handed mastery with what I’ve always thought is my stronger hand. In fact, it’s made me question whether or not I might’ve been living my entire life using the wrong arm. Perhaps I could’ve been a left-handed, one-out specialist in the big leagues, drawing a minimum-salary contract in the Big Leagues for 15 years, which while not as much fun and Food Duding, pays a heck of a lot better.

But I digress.

While duty certainly bound me to try out the foods at Dave and Buster’s, I felt I needed to bring in an expert to try out the games. Enter Matt Clayton, who is responsible for the inspired designs you see on Wednesday food pages. Matt is a self-professed video game junkie.
Here’s what he had to say:

Mike Honaker has a pretty cool job at the new Dave & Buster’s in Oklahoma City. His title: Amusement Manager.

Sounds pretty sweet, right?

His job is to make sure every game in Dave & Buster’s works. All the time.

No pressure.

One of the big things that he strives for at D&B is that every game is up and running. I got the impression that his goal is to test every game to make sure it’s perfect. If it’s not, Mike and his team will get it up and running before anyone notices it’s not working.

On a tour of the game area, Mike showed off some of the newest and best options that they have to offer. The two best games would be Pac-Man Battle Royale and Typhoon. Pac-Man Battle Royale is a four player competitive Pac-Man arcade game where you eliminate your opponents by eating them and the last Pac-Man standing wins the round. Think of it as Pac-Man cannibalism.

Typhoon is a motion simulator that can take you to the bumps and drops of a roller coaster ride, to a race downhill or in a cave. There are several different levels to choose from, including the cave map that we tried. It’s certainly intense, so go easy on the fried shrimp before trying this one out.

There are the usual games that everyone remembers and loves, but don’t forget to try something new. I highly suggest you get “power card” while you are there. The card is a great alternative to stuffing your pockets with coins and dollar bills. Plus, you can store your winning tickets on your card until you’re ready to cash them in for prizes.

Drop us some feedback from your Dave & Buster’s experience.

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