Curbside Pick-up is Fast, Safe, and Delicious

As the Cape’s weather warms and spring brings memories of last summer, we become filled with plans for the upcoming season. Everyone has a favorite summer activity, but many of us look forward to the beautiful local beaches. My son and I love Jackknife Harbor. We’ve built countless sand castles, hunted for crabs, and explored the tidal creek.

This year has been unlike any in recent memory. The global pandemic changed everything. Our favorite beaches are safe and sound, but everything around them has changed. I love a day at the beach but, as the summer season approaches, I also look forward to the opening of the seasonal arcades! I grew up in the video game arcades of the 80s and the Cape had some of the best. If you know where to look, a lot of those amazing games are still here on Cape Cod!

But the pandemic has changed the retail landscape. Many of our favorite businesses are at risk of not returning – not reopening, not being there for us, and not having a grand summer season. Restaurants are particularly hard hit, and forced to get creative with their business models. Many began offering curbside pickup from their menus. Suddenly, a three-course meal could be obtained in a  similar manner to a bucket of chicken, and this change was providing needed income to local restaurants.

This past weekend I wanted to do something to help support local business and explore this new world of culinary delight at the curb. Most of my to-go experiences were for fast food, so I was excited for a new experience. Two of my favorite arcades also offer food, so my choice was clear. I decided to try fish and chips from both Ten Pin Eatery and Flashback Retro Arcade Bar & Grille.

With a quick phone call to Ten Pin Eatery, I placed an order via credit card and headed over to pick it up. The Cape Cod Mall’s parking lot was empty, but a few other cars were at Ten Pin Eatery picking up meals. Their entertainment destination offers a wide selection from bowling and laser tag to escape rooms, the arcade and dining with a large bar. In a matter of minutes, my car filled with the aroma of baked fish. It was tough to drive away without playing a few rounds of Space Invaders Frenzy or Crusin’ Blast but, hopefully, that will be possible this summer.

As I said, I usually associate take-out with fast food, not fine dining, but the pandemic is redefining this standard. All sorts of great restaurants are offering the high quality you’ve come to expect in take-out format. The fish and chips from Ten Pin Eatery was absolutely delicious and the service was fast and friendly. I rarely eat when I visit their arcade, but that will now change!

The following night my craving for fish and chips was still strong, so I called Flashback Retro Arcade Bar & Grille. Paying over the phone was fast and easy and they told me Darth Vader would greet me at the curb. I found that funny, since I know they are big fans of Star Wars, but I’m sure some patrons may wonder what sort of experience to expect.

When I pulled up, Vader strolled over with my food. The curbside service was very fast, friendly and retro-themed with Star Wars’ main villain in full costume. Again, I dashed home for another great meal to-go. If you haven’t visited Flashback, they offer an entire wall of retro arcade games form the 80s and 90s. I love playing Galaga and Donkey Kong. They even have a Super GT head-to-head racing game. It’s a great place to visit with friends and relive some nostalgia with their games. I hope they reopen soon.

It’s worth noting that both restaurants offered payment over the phone and the pickup was safe, socially distanced, and without contact. The “curb time” was less than two minutes. The pandemic feels like it’s up-ended everything, leaving chaos in its wake, but these restaurant employees were full of smiles and glad to see their customers. Fast service and delicious food will definitely bring me back again soon!

By Peter Schmeck
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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