By: Ashley Quirke
Looking for a place to hangout, enjoy some coffee and play a few board games with friends? Maybe a fun place for a first date, or a place to test a board game before you commit to buying it yourself? Well look no further. Mochanopoly is on its way!
Mochanopoly is a board game café opening up in downtown St. John’s at 279 Duckworth Street. Co-owners Leon and Erich Chung have wanted to open up a café where people could socialize and enjoy themselves ever since watching Friends in the 90s. They put the idea on hold for a while after deciding that St. John’s was oversaturated with cafés already. They gleaned the idea for Mochanopoly while visiting a board game café in Toronto and revisited the idea.
“It was this amazing place where groups of people gather and actually interact with one another face-to-face through the timeless tradition of board games and fun, it was such a nice break from our society today who are always stuck onto their digital screens with phones and iPads, and so we picked up our venture again.” said Leon Chung.
Leon is a freelance artist and illustrator, as well as an art instructor at the Anna Templeton Centre. Erich helps manage their parent’s restaurant part-time, and does photography. Chung describes this dynamic duo as the “Asian Simon and Garfunkel.”
“The great thing about having our experience and background is that I can take care of most the tasks personally that you normally have to hire people to do. We have more control. I take care of the design of things, from logo to the menu, from café aesthetics to the food. And my brother Erich takes care of managing/running a well-maintained restaurant and making sure everything runs smoothly from workers to food preparations,” explained Chung.
And speaking of food preparations, it looks like Mochanopoly will be well stocked with delicious treats, from sandwiches to sweets. Even Belgian Waffles will be on the menu, along with Chung’s personal favorite: Chocolate Brownie Explosion topped with ice cream drizzled in dark chocolate/caramel sauce.
If that doesn’t sell you on the place, Chung says there will be approximately 151 board games available upon opening including several copies and variations of Catan–Star Trek Catan for instance, how cool! Other games include Cards Against Humanity, Munchkin, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne to name a few. For micro-games, you’ll see the likes of Sushi Go!, Love Letter, Coup, and Hanabi. For old school fans, don’t worry, the classics are covered: Scrabble, “Backgammon”, Mousetrap, Chess, and of course, Monopoly!
Leon and Erich’s goal is to create an environment that will appeal to just about everyone; from families to board game masters, to casual gamers and couples on first dates. They’re hoping this universal appeal will be one of the keys to Mochanopoly’s success. Though the impending opening of their business is exciting, it hasn’t been without red tape.
When talking about what they have had to go through, Chung explained:
“Mochanopoly is something my brother and I have been working on for almost a year now. So it’s exciting to see it finally come to fruition and seeing the incredible support from so many people–the Sandbox Gaming community especially).
“We’ve had many bumps in the road ever since its conception, but the most difficult thing so far has to be picking the right location–St. John’s works so differently. You’re either close enough to walk to a particular place or you’re not. And public transportation is a bit lackluster in this city. Not to mention parking, especially downtown, can be a hurdle. So it’s been tough to find a place that can cater to everyone.
“But 279 Duckworth Street is such an incredible building with a rich, historic architecture that I wouldn’t want to open Mochanopoly anywhere else. I hope when we finally open up in August people who come to the café will feel the same way.”
For the layout, they explain on their Facebook page that the first two floors will host the café and board game section. But on the third floor will be a gallery, named “Spellbound Gallery”, they explain on the page that it is “a gallery dedicated to creating limited edition high quality artworks, posters, and books of Newfoundland and our favourite pop cultures that tell captivating stories through contemporary design and narrative tales by local artists.” This gallery will be opened in the fall, while the café itself will be opened earlier.
The Chung brothers are aiming to open Mochanopoly sometime in the first half of August.
For more information and to keep up with what is happening, you can follow Mochanopoly on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/MochanopolyCafe?fref=ts. As well, to keep up with what is happening in “Spellbound Gallery” you can follow the official Facebook page of that at www.facebook.com/SpellboundGallery.