Let the games begin! Board game café finally gearing up to open

Sam Whitehouse will be opening a new gaming and cake cafe on St Benedicts Street. Picture: Ella Wilk

Sam Whitehouse will be opening a new gaming and cake cafe on St Benedicts Street. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

A board game café serving vegan-friendly cakes and snacks is finally gearing up to get the dice rolling after a year stuck at square one.

Plans to convert a former shop on St Benedicts Street in Norwich into a permanent location for pop-up board game café Slice and Dice were unveiled more than a year ago.

However, thanks largely to the Covid-19 pandemic, the plans were left on hold, with owner Samantha Whitehouse seriously mulling over whether to admit defeat and move on.

Now though, with the government's roadmap to recovery unveiled and planning permission secured she is hopeful of launching the venue in May, with a raft of measures in place to create a Covid-secure gaming environment.

Sam Whitehouse will be opening a board game and vegan cake cafe on St Benedicts Street. Picture: Ell

Sam Whitehouse will be opening a board game and vegan cake cafe on St Benedicts Street. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

She said: "We don't have any outdoor space so we are aiming for the date the government is allowing venues to have people indoors, which unless anything changes is May 17.

"There were times I seriously thought about whether I should stick with it or not, but now I'm super excited, but terrified in equal measure. I picked up the keys this week so it is all starting to feel very real."

During the pandemic, Ms Whitehouse kept interest in the business alive through the baking side, offering vegan cakes and doughnuts for takeaway and delivery.

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And she also spent the time comparing notes with similar businesses across the country to plan out safety measures for once the café and bar can open.

She said: "I've spoken to lots of other board game cafés about what they're doing so have plenty of ideas.

"We will have cleaning stations around café so people can make sure their hands are clean when they are playing and we will be cleaning games pieces as best we can.

"We also have plans to do temperature checks and whatever else we can to make sure people feel safe when they visit us."

The venue, which was formerly Fire and Flux Ceramics, is still in need of work before the grand opening, but once the renovation is complete there will be just one piece left of the puzzle - a team.

The café will create a handful of new jobs, with Ms Whitehouse looking for a chef and general staff to greet customers, serve drinks and teach games.

For information on how to apply, visit the Slice and Dice website - sliceandice,cafe. 

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