New Business

Owner Jim Roepcke and his son Xavier, a culinary arts student who helped design the Board Game Cafe menu. Jim handles making all the various milkshakes available

Life isn’t all fun and games, but a new local business is helping customers forget their cares a few hours, at least.

Meeples and Milkshakes Board Game Café opened in late September and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, said owner Jim Roepcke, who, along with wife Cheryl and son Xavier, officially opened their doors at 130 Westminster Ave. W. in downtown Penticton on Sept. 25.

Originally slated to open in April, the Roepcke family decided to delay launching the new business due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Six months later, the new board room café is already attracting a loyal customer base looking to purchase or rent the more than 500 board games available or sample the menu that includes a wide variety of sandwiches, homemade baked goods, salads and a huge assortment of milkshakes.

Roepcke said his passion for board games dates back more than 15 years and he has visited, played games and eaten in dozens of board games cafes across B.C., Canada and the United States.

“Board game cafes have been growing in popularity around the world over the past decade,” he said. “There are quite a few in all the larger cities across Canada and it has started to become more common in smaller towns like ours,” he explained.

The city also lacks a dedicated store for board games, Roepcke noted.

“As a board game hobbyist, it was tough to only be able to buy online or make another trip to Kelowna,” he said. “It has been a dream of ours for over six years to open a place like this.”

The menu was largely built by Xavier, who is pursuing a college career in culinary arts.

“We inherited a restaurant that we ended up gutting and rebuilding the kitchen from scratch,” he said of the

former Spiros Cubby Hole.

“We’re focused on food people would expect to enjoy while playing board games. We have sandwiches, salads, some nice waffles and wide variety of baked goods, all made in house.”

There is also a wide assortment of coffee and tea, and Roepcke’s own passion for milkshakes has been a huge hit with visitors since opening less than a month ago.

“My wife handles the finances and books and helps my son with the menu, but the milkshakes are all mine,” he added.

A “meeple” is a small icon that has been used in a variety of board games over the past 20 years. When choosing a name, the alliterative combination of Meeples and Milkshakes made perfect sense, he said.

All the game tables are separated by large Plexiglass sheets and the entire building’s ventilation system was upgraded.

“We sanitize all our games after each play and we clean regularly and have hand sanitizer and masks available to everyone,” said Roepcke.

“I think people feel safe here, and as a result, we’re doing better than I would ever have expected. On the weekends, we’ve been busy from the time we open until we close. We’re doing everything in our power to keep people safe.”

For more information about Meeples and Milkshakes Board Room Café, you can phone 778-622-3333. You can also get more information @meeplesbgc on Twitter and Instagram and they have their own Facebook page. You can also purchase board games online at www.meeples.ca.

The café is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.