Make Your Move for Grilled Cheese and Games
Board games, cocoa and homemade snacks? That’s how they roll (the dice) at Knight Moves Café, the only board game café in the Boston area.
Did you recently dust off your copy of Monopoly to find that half the pieces are missing? Or does your cat keep messing with your Dungeons and Dragons figurines, and your grilled cheese is setting off the fire alarm? You might want to try gaming and food-ing at Knight Moves Café on Beacon Street in Brookline — especially if the idea of spending hours munching on yummies and playing one of the thousand plus games makes you feel like a kid in a candy store.
I checked out Knight Moves on a chilly winter afternoon. If I were to describe Knight Moves in one word, it would be “comfortable.”
It’s set up like a living room where many of us spent childhood hours with family and friends. Devon Trevelyan, the owner and lifelong board game enthusiast, got much of the furniture from the old reading room of his mother’s church group. When I visit in early December, the games are spilling off the shelves and onto the floor.
Since my visit, Trevelyan updates me on their progress: “We actually just put an entire new shelf on the other wall, so now there are no games on the floor!”
Shelves display lots of visual candy too — geodes, science books, steampunk clocks with gears, and globes. There are three gaming rooms each with several tables surrounded by sturdy wooden chairs. Their busiest times tend to be evenings later in the week, so on this particular Sunday afternoon there are only half a dozen or so tables occupied.
While we wait for our food, my husband and I try a board game called Android: Netrunner The Card Game. Dan, the “game master” who’s serving drinks and helping people learn game rules, is a little fuzzy on the rules of our game, so we teach ourselves. (Ok, I admit, my husband is much better than me at learning the rules, so it’s mainly him teaching me!) Since there are endless gaming possibilities, it’s best to call ahead to see if the game master on duty is familiar with it.
As we battle with cards and tokens, we munch on the freshly made cheese plate ($5) and grilled cheese panini ($5). The cheese plate has an assortment of gourmet bites, including a tangy blueberry vanilla goat cheese, circled around two juicy pieces of marinated mozzarella — perfect brain food. The velvety grilled cheese overfills the warm bread, melting out the sides with each bite.
“Grilled cheese is home, you know?” says Trevelyan when we talk about his idea for the food at Knight Moves. He focuses on small “gourmet comfort” food items he knows people will love.
When we need a bit of a refresher, we get hot apple cider ($4) and fair trade organic hot chocolate ($4, sourced from Equal Exchange) in ceramic mugs. They’re not your usual “just add water” hot drinks. The chocolate pick-me-up is a perfect balance of creamy and sweet, and reminds me of a good quality cup you’d find in Italy. The apple cider is crisp and foamy. It’s a seasonal item, though Trevelyan is considering having it all year round. Drinks in hand, the nerd fight continues.
But even with the game to occupy me, I’m curious about the game plan at the café. Much like our cheesy snacks, Knight Move’s other current offerings, such as the Nutella milkshake and soda floats, make creative use of the café’s small prep space. Just as they’ve expanded their shelving space, Trevelyan is thinking of expanding the menu to include additional simple items like toast with creative toppings. “We’re actually thinking about doing just bacon, baskets of bacon, because… why not?”
If you want to further capture the feeling of playing at home, add a small cover fee ($2 per person) to the table fees to bring in outside food or drinks. Chinese takeout, anyone? How about some of your favorite brew? What better way to replicate at-home board gaming indulgence without being stuck in your own place all the time.
Before we know it, we’ve spent the entire afternoon at Knight Moves. And if you’re wondering who won the game — well, not to brag, but I won. My husband and I can’t wait to go back!
Knight Moves Café - 1402 Beacon Street, Brookline, 617.487.5259, knightmovescafe.com
Fees & Hours:
Monday – Wednesday: Unlimited gaming for $5
Thursday – Sunday: Unlimited gaming for $10
(A $40 monthly membership option also available.)
Monday to Thursday 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Friday 3 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Metered parking on Beacon Street Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., and limited free parking on Summit Ave. Near the MBTA Green Line – C Line Summit Ave Stop towards Cleveland Circle.