“My vision for this place is to walk in and be able to pretend I’m in a cafeteria at a 1985 roller rink,” says Lou Milano about his newly-opened Boombox Kitchen and Bar on Main Street. The retro vibe is carried out in the color scheme of gray punctuated with bright yellow, green and pink and the cassettes filling one wall. But they’re not just for show, he points out; the cassettes are accessible for anyone to remove and pop into a boombox wired to speakers on the wall. (And people are encouraged to bring in their own cassettes to play, too.)
The seating is at long picnic-style tables with the exception of one table at bar height with bar stools. Two of the tables feature Xbox One consoles “loaded with tons of games,” Milano says. Gamers can also play live, against other players all around the world. The other tables feature vintage video games like Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Neo Geo, Atari and Game Boy. Consoles are rented for $2.50 per half hour, and purchase of at least a beverage is required to play.
But people who come to Boombox to play video games will likely be tempted by the fun menu, too, which features a variety of gyros and chicken wings with a number of fresh sauces; more on those in a moment. In another nod to vintage ‘80s, beer is served in cans only, and it’s all about craft beers. And the desserts and snack items are reminiscent of the county fair: fried Oreos are served with chocolate dipping sauce ($6.95) and there is fried dough with cinnamon and sugar ($5.95). Beer-battered pickle chips with roasted red pepper ranch dressing dip or battered corn nuggets with buttermilk ranch are $7.35, as are crispy fried green beans served with cucumber wasabi sauce.
Milano has a very clear idea of what he wants to offer at Boombox. And while he’s also the proprietor of B-side Grill next door — the two eateries actually share the same address, 62 Main Street — he’s not worried about competing with himself. “B-Side has records and Boombox has cassettes,” he says in the simplest reduction of that, but basically B-Side is a casual eatery and Boombox is more specialized in its focus on gaming, and they serve beer. Milano formerly owned and operated Babba Louie’s in Modena (where the Dunkin’ Donuts is now), where their vegetarian gyro was a hot-selling item. That gyro, made with breaded eggplant and fire-roasted red peppers ($8.95) is now at Boombox, along with traditional lamb and beef gyros ($9.95) and several chicken gyro options. “I didn’t have a gyro on the menu at B-Side while Tzatziki [the former tenant of the space] was here out of respect to them, but now we can have them here,” Milano notes.
The other featured item on the menu are the chicken wings, which along with popcorn chicken, tenders and “honey-stung” fried chicken, are available with choice of a baker’s dozen of freshly made sauces that embrace both heat and sweet. All of the sauces are 100 percent natural, Milano says, made without chemicals, MSG or GMOs with a local Johnson & Wales culinary school grad who teamed up with a local pepper farmer who has been producing hot sauces for more than 30 years.
The hottest sauce at Boombox is “Breakdance,” so hot and spicy there’s an ongoing competition to see how many wings drenched in Breakdance a person can eat in five minutes. Currently the male contender in the lead was able to eat 15 wings with the female in the lead having managed nine wings.
Boombox offers a number of tournaments for gaming, too, with prizes that range from free wings and soda to TVs. Free Wi-Fi is also available.
The other sauces available include such intriguing varieties as chipotle raspberry, bourbon barrel maple, hickory barbecue, chili lime, garlic parmesan, sesame teriyaki, sweet mango coconut and Thai peanut and cashew, among others.
Boombox is located at 62 Main Street. Open every day, hours Monday through Friday are 2 p.m. to midnight, with Saturday hours noon to midnight and Sunday open noon to 10 p.m. For more information, call (845) 256-0101.