Initially conceived as a Kickstarter campaign that raised $27,285 out of a $15,000 goal, the new spot bills itself as the city's "first board game cafe."
The Game Parlour is a project by San Francisco native and board game aficionado Brian Lew, who developed a Japanese-inspired, waffle-focused menu for a space he hopes will become a Sunset community hub.
For the last six years, Lew has prepared sweet and savory mochi waffles at the Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival to raise money for Re:Acts Ministries, a nonprofit mission group he co-founded that works in Southeast Asia.
The success of his waffle creations "really inspired the creation of this," said Lew via telephone. "Waffles are so versatile, so we formed the menu around them. We thought it would be a great pairing for a board game place."
Lew described his first brick-and-mortar venture as "something different for the neighbors," given the area's quiet vibe.
"Mission and SoMa are really booming, and the Sunset is pretty quiet," Lew said. "I thought it would be an ideal place to open up something in the neighborhood in a safe space that's open later at night."
The entirely gluten-free menu offers breakfast and brunch fare like sweet mochi waffles with strawberries, chocolate sauce and whipped cream, "Mr. Toast," (peanut butter, condensed milk, whipped cream), and build-your-own options.
On the savory side, the menu offers waffle sandwiches with mochiko chicken, slaw and furikake; "The Mouse Trap" with sharp cheddar, gruyere and fontina; and vegan waffle-cut fries topped with furikake seaweed seasoning.
Customers interested in playing board games are charged a $5 gaming fee to stay and play for unlimited periods; players may also bring their own games, but the fee is still required. The cafe carries scores of games, including classics like Monopoly and Settlers of Catan, along with card, strategy and fantasy games.
"It's exciting to be open," said Lew. "And like with any soft opening, we've kept it little low key, but it's been a nice steady flow all day. Primetime for game night is after dinner, so we'll see how things go."
The Game Parlour is open Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. During its soft opening period, hours may vary.
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