Eat and Play at Diced Cafe
Children are often told never to play with their food or to focus on their plates. But Nadia Parkins has defied this concept as an adult, encouraging the young and the young at heart to eat and play at her establishment, Diced Cafe.
The coffee bar-meets-board game eatery initially started as a pop-up game café called Park Place before rebranding, changing its name to Diced Cafe and settling into its new home at 117 Princeville Plaza in April last year.
“Some of our signature dishes include hot dogs [and] sandwiches like cheese, peanut butter, chicken and black beans and nachos. For the coffee beverages, we have your Frappuccinos, cappuccinos, lattes, expresso, Americano and mocha,” she told Food.
AS LONG AS YOU WANT
On the entertainment side, those who make their way to the café pay a fee, and they can stay as long as they want to play as many games as their heart desires. “It’s a fun and chill atmosphere where you get to play games with your friends and eat food,” Parkins added.
When it comes to games, the entrepreneur explained that both she and her family and, by extension, friends have always been fans of board games in particular. “I grew up playing board games, like Ludo, Monopoly, Scrabble, as well as dominoes,” she said.
For that reason, when she was in Toronto, Canada, she jumped at the opportunity to visit her first-ever board game café. It was love at first, playing sight and bite. “It was so much fun that I began telling my friends about it. They asked why we didn’t have something like that in Jamaica. And I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t we have something like this in Jamaica?’” she pointed out.
Realising that this winning combination was a missing link in her home country, Parkins decided to chase that dream and make it a reality.
What started out with a small menu, hot and cold coffee beverages and pooling about 30 games, has increased to a collection of over 100 games, a new location, and a quaint selection of signature dishes and drinks.
“With the games aspect, other places will do game nights with not as much to choose from. But we provide them all day. We also have in-person board game rules; in case you see a game that you like, but you don’t know how to play it, and you don’t want to sit down and read the instructions, then someone will be there to explain it to you,” she highlighted.
The games in the catalogue range from the traditional Scrabble and Monopoly to internationally made Catan and Azul, or locally made ones like Beer Vibes, a Jamaica version of Taboo. If a customer requests a game, Parkins will do her best to source and stock it in a timely fashion.
The response since opening, she shared, has been great. So far, everyone who stops by enjoys themselves. “They say this is so much fun, [and] they return and carry their friends.”
One of the biggest obstacles she has faced thus far is getting the Diced Cafe’s name out there. But she isn’t daunted by the challenge. She embraces it and hopes that she and others who visit will continue to spread the positive word.
She hopes to expand her small business and open other board game cafés across the island.