Can the creators of one of the most successful video games of all-time be successful as suburban Chicago restauranteurs? Namco Entertainment, the company that gave the world Pac-Man in 1980, is inching closer to opening its massive multi-prong Level 257 in the Woodfield Mall in suburban Schaumburg. Projected for a January opening, Namco's executive VP of strategic project development David Bishop tells Crain's that "it will very much be a serious restaurant...but there's obviously a gaming component."
First announced in September, the 40,000-square-foot nerd wonderland will house a 180-seat restaurant, "stylish" cocktail lounges with fire pits, 16 bowling lanes, ping pong, video games and pinball machines, and a multitude of private event, entertainment, and presentation rooms. Corporate executive chef Aaron Whitcomb and executive chef Bradley Godinez will run the food program, according to a release.
Named for the level beyond the last level of Pac-Man, it seems that the Pac-Man influence will mostly reside in the name, ownership, and an art gallery and retail space. Crain's also quotes Bishop saying "there'll also be hidden and subtle references" to arcade games throughout the space and menus.