Every night is Family Night at Good Move Cafe

March 1, 2018 GMT

As a parent of two younger boys (10 and 8 years old), I must admit that more often than not, a nice, quiet restaurant meal is just not in the cards.

In addition to the cards, after a late Saturday afternoon visit to Good Move Cafe in Provo, we also learned it’s not in the boards, the dice, the jacks, the chess and checkers kits, the discs, the tiles, the myriad game tokens or, for that matter, the Rock ‘Em Sock ’Em Robots ring. But then again, that’s kind of the whole point of this good-time restaurant in the first place.

How much did we love our visit? Well, for starters, the kids keep asking when we can go again. (Sigh, this typically only occurs with requests for McDonald’s Happy Meals.) On most occasions, it’s the kids who start working on an exit strategy halfway through a typical restaurant visit — but not at Good Move Cafe. Would you believe a good portion of our group kept the party going at our table for more than three hours?

That’s because Good Move Cafe has rolled the dice with an ingenious strategy — combining great food with the flat-out fun of playing games.

We passed go and rolled into the cafe around 4 p.m. We were immediately impressed with the roomy, casual atmosphere and layout. Plenty of tables in various sizes as well as some sofas and more comfortable seating. The server at the front desk explained the basics to us, then led us to our table.

As for those basics, the one thing you need to know up front is that there is a $5 per person cover charge to play games. (You don’t have to play games, mind you, but where’s the fun in that?) However, for each $15 of food you order, one $5 cover charge comes off the books. We strategized for several minutes while looking over the menu, trying to figure out how many of our $5 cover charges we could wipe out. Here’s what we learned: You pretty much have to order three items to get to $15. (The most expensive entree and a drink, for example, will leave you two cents short.) The good thing is it’s not strictly a per-person proposition — it’s based off the total bill. So once we figured out that our final decision came down to paying a couple $5 cover charges for our group of five or just ordering a couple desserts and paying the same basic total — well, you don’t have to be able to straighten out a Rubik’s cube in under 15 seconds to know which option we selected.

Good Move Cafe boasts a collection of over 600 games, which are lined up along the back walls of the restaurant and separated into a bevy of different categories. Some of the various titles are Party Games, Oldies But Goodies, The Hotness (New Arrivals), Abstract Games, Family Games, Card Games and Strategy Games. Others are separated by the typical amount of time it takes to play them.

By the time we had navigated the menu and placed our orders, the boys already had a stack of games on the floor by our table. We figured we could get a good jump on something before our food arrived. In this we were surprised, as the food showed up within about five minutes.

I opted for the Go Fish! and Chips, which proved to be a nice catch. Three fresh cod fillets, battered and fried, were light and fluffy, and tasted great dipped in the house tartar sauce. All agreed that the French fries were a hit — and there were several unsolicited comments about how good the house fry sauce was.

My wife opted for the Cobb Salad — which was a tasty combination of mixed greens, bacon, tomato, onions, bleu cheese crumbles, chicken, hard-boiled egg and a ranch dressing.

Sinking my teeth into the Battleship Burger was also a welcome discovery. This was my 10-year-old’s choice, but he cut off a good piece for me. It features a half-pound steak patty, with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion on a brioche bun. It definitely passed the eye test when it arrived, making it a see-worthy selection.

Other entree items included a quesadilla and a grilled cheese sandwich — both pretty standard items, but the latter being a step above.

We also ordered a side of onion rings — which were pretty much the perfect combination of size, taste and being able to bite through the onion without pulling it all out of the breading.

As business in the restaurant began to pick up, it took us a while to flag down our server to order dessert. But the Sweet Fry Bread and Apples to Apples Cobbler were well worth the wait. Both came with a scoop of ice cream. We loved both, but the Sweet Fry Bread was especially fantastic. We highly recommend it.

My 10-year-old, Cougar, and I actually had to rush off and leave the remaining three in our group to finish the desserts. We had tickets to the BYU-Gonzaga men’s basketball game and wanted to make sure we were on time for the early tipoff. (Of course, had we known how that contest would turn out, we might have been better served playing games at the restaurant!)

My wife and two of our other children stayed behind — having fun with Jenga, Spot It and Jumanji — and I was shocked to learn later that they had remained at their table playing games for another two and a half hours. They would have stayed longer, she said, but every table was filled and a long waiting list had developed at the front desk.

Looking back at our visit, we had a complete blast and were able to play several games during the course of dinner, and beyond. I must say that my favorite was Rock ‘Em Sock ’Em Robots — which I had not played since I was a kid.

Basically, every night is Family Night at Good Move Cafe. We realized it would also be great four double dates and group events.

Well played, Good Move Cafe. Well played.