The U.S. subsidiary of Namco Entertainment Inc. — the company behind classic arcade games like Pole Position, Galaga, and, of course, Pac-Man — will get into the restaurant business. In fact, the group is putting the final touches right now on a spot called Level 257, a reference to an impossible-to-reach level in the very first Pac-Man game (because of a bug, the actual game ends at level 256). Set to open this January in a Chicago suburb, the place will be like a glorified, 40,000-square-foot Dave & Buster’s: 16 bowling lanes, table tennis, pinball machines, and the obligatory arcade parlor with newer titles alongside the Namco classics.
The executive chefs promise a “serious” menu that may still include “some inside jokes” — though hopefully stopping short of a menu exclusively consisting of fruit salads. “There’ll be a lot of hidden and subtle references,” says David Bishop, the company’s VP of strategic project development. “There’s a little bit of nerd factor there — if you get it, that’s cool.”