When we were initially invited to a birthday party at a pizza buffet slash arcade, I admit, I was a little skeptical. The event was to go down at America's Incredible Pizza Company, Where nothing tops the pizza but the fun! tm. We pulled into the parking lot to hear 50's rock and roll blaring from the outdoor speakers. The place was built into a huge, renovated grocery store. After some confusion at the entrance (If you ever have to go there for a party and you get there later than your friends, be sure to say, "We're with _____(whoever invited you)." Because "We're here with a party" and "We're not sure if our way's already been paid," will get you nowhere. It was like the Open Sesame episode of Bugs Bunny. The wait staff refunded our $30 and got all that straightened out) we met up with our friends in the Family Room (more on that later) and then went to check out the buffet.
There is a bakery section with desserts and ice cream, a pasta section with various shapes of pastas and different sauces (marinara, alfredo, cheese), a salad bar (that even carried iceberg AND romaine lettuces, and even fresh baby spinach!), a baked potato bar, and, of course, several kinds of pizza. I only tried the salad, pizza and a potato, but the food wasn't bad. The pizza was a little reminiscent of Red Baron, but hey, I like Red Baron sometimes. There were massive cinnamon rolls in the bakery section that looked pretty tasty, and various kinds of cookie dough baked on pizza pans and cut into squares. And cherry pie, to boot.
The dining rooms are broken into themes. There's "The Drive In" which was showing a classic Elvis movie on a large projection screen, the "High School Cafeteria," complete with brick walls, a basketball net, and cafeteria style long tables, and then there was "The Family Room." I wish Laine didn't have that weird ethical thing against
taking pictures of other people's art taking pictures of strangers' families while they're eating, she corrects me. The walls were hung with brightly colored Dick and Jane type family scenes, moms in aprons, dads in hats, and Spot playing fetch, the whole shebang. The floor could have even been regulation speckled asbestos linoleum. We were sitting at a long table in front of a crackling fake fire in the fire place, with a huge TV playing The Andy Griffith Show above it. The busser was whistling the theme song the whole time we were there. Every once in awhile, the intercom throughout the joint would beep in and some cheerful person would say, "Attention incredible guests! Little Timmy would like to meet his parents at the main registers!" This place was sweet!
It was on my trip all the way back to the front of the place for a soda refill when I saw their "mission statement" on the wall at the entrance. By this time, I was pretty taken by the joint, so "#1, We choose to manage according to God's principles," didn't scare me nearly so much as it probably should have.
As the evening progressed and we moved to the arcade, it became even more apparent that the Christian business that runs the place is not only bent on changing hearts and minds, they are making a metric buttload of money in the process. The awesome blacklight Route 66 themed indoor mini golf course had, "Jesus Hearts U" painted in black-light sensitive paint across one of the cars. The prize area offered plastic Slinkies in the shape of crosses, the really cool bowling alley played Christian rock concerts and Jump5 videos (if you click on that, make sure your volume's turned down to a reasonable level, they sound like Hanson hopped up on caffeine and the Lord, but man, they're cute, like four Britney Spearses, before she started dating trash, popping out offspring and shaving her head). I bowled a strike, immediately thanked Jesus, and had the overwhelming urge to get saved. They've also got adult-sized indy car racing and bumper cars, but we didn't try either one of those. I highly recommend the "match the animal noise to the picture of the animal" game, on which, I got a perfect score and 25 tickets for my trouble. Their skeeball is only 0.35 a game, too.
Anyway, it was 200 times better than Dave and Busters, downright charming in the sheer wholesomeness of it all, and with so many of us sinning heathen queer monsters in attendance, the pure wrongness of our hanging out there was a rush I would find hard to recreate any other way. Plus, the idiosyncracies were delicious. Several of the games were essentially based on gambling, the target shooting involved aiming rifles at two cartoony people sitting in a car, there was an Elvis pinball machine that I'm sure hard-core fundamentalists would disapprove of, and the Devil's rock and roll (albeit the Everly Brothers and Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons, but still!) played loudly throughout the establishment. Plus, they're open on Sundays.
All in all, three snaps up in the sign of the cross!
Have some more pictures.
This is the last hole on the course. I did not notice this at the time, but looking at it now, some brilliant sculptor subversively created it as a sand sculpture of an abstract reclining lady and you hit the ball up a ramp into a hole at the junction of the two legs. Dirrrrty!