A Centereach couple is looking to score big with their coffee café concept.
Cat and Tim Smith both had experience working in different coffee spots. Being natural baristas and mixologists, they decided they wanted to open up their own spot, blending some of their favorite things — coffee, snacks, games and a cozy atmosphere everyone can enjoy.
“There’s really nothing on Long Island that has both a gaming atmosphere and a café,” she said. “When we were younger, we would play games all the time. We’d have game nights every week.”
There is, however, a cafe with this concept a little further west from where the couple lives, Main St. Board Game Cafe, located at 307 Main Street in Huntington.
But the duo and their friends and family all began having kids — making it harder to go out, chill with their friends and find a space that can accommodate board games.
“We’ve put the feelers out there,” she said. “And so many people have said that they would love a place like this.”
Their idea for Level Up — a coffee and gaming café — originally started up nearly three years ago. While collecting more games to add to their library and finding a local roaster for beans, they devoted their weekends to finding a home to their soon-to-be business endeavor.
The Smith’s began saving, with the goal to settle down and officially open in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic derailed them. But Cat said that was a blessing in disguise.
“It’s been good in a few ways because we’ve been able to really take time and make sure we’re doing it the right way,” she said. “We want to use everything that we’ve been able to accomplish in this past year and really try to give back and make our business as community centered as possible.”
And it’s allowing them to thoroughly search the North and South Shores to find the best location possible. They want to be on a Main Street, with tons of foot traffic.
“We’ve been primarily looking on the South Shore, but we’re also considering Port Jeff,” she said. “We want to be where we can attract people who are interested in supporting local businesses and have a place to go to spend time with their friends when COVID settles down.”
But Level Up won’t be just for board game lovers, she said.
“We want people to nerd out and talk with fellow fan geeks about pop culture, comics and anything like that,” she said. “We want to have this community where people who are the deepest fans will come in and get really nerdy and chat with other people who are just as interested or people who are just mildly interested and want to learn more.
She added that Level Up will be a place that offers something different to do for locals.
“I think we want connection,” she said. “We want people to be able to come to us and find connection if they want it, or just delicious coffee.”
And the coffee drinks will be something out-of-this-world. Working with Brooklyn-based Sweetleaf Coffee Roasters.
“Our goal is to be really creative,” she said, adding that Level Up is going to be a “pop culture coffee house.”
For fans of Marvel, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, they’re working on some themed drinks that even Professor Severus Snape will want to order.
The couple said their goal is to be opened up sometime in the summer, so stay tuned.
To stay updated, follow @LevelUpCafeNY on Instagram and Level Up Cafe on Facebook.
This article was updated to include Main St. Board Game Cafe.