Seaside Farms Eatery Doubles As Coffee Shop & Old School Gaming Cafe
By: Jeff Walker, Business Review
It’s tough enough to start a new business, and even tougher to start up one with the pandemic still lingering around. However it’s a little more tougher to start up a food and beverage business, with all the competition that abounds. Unless you offer a niche’, it’s hard to establish your dining establishment from the one across the street, or down the block.
Even with several obstacles facing them, that did not stop Sarah and Marshall from following through on their dream to open Owlbear Cafe, Charleston’s first retro era gaming cafe. Marshall’s background as a chef, and Sarah’s desire to own her own coffee shop, combined with their passion for old school board games make for a truly distinctive location to enjoy hearty cups of coffee, craft beers, pleasant wines, and exceptional hand-held edibles, alongside hundreds of games from yesteryear.
Named for a fictional creature originally created for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, Owlbear is truly one of a kind, and quite welcome among the Shops at Seaside Farms in Mount Pleasant. Without exception Owlbear is an ideal blend of food, drink, and iconic games from days gone by, with the primary emphasis on the menu.
Whether you’re a gamer or not, the handheld breakfast and lunch food items, including a plethora of beverages are the main attraction at Owlbear. Marshall is a food artisan, putting his signature touch on each and every sandwich, soup, salad, and side at Owlbear.
For the tame there are several standards with a slight twist, including the Grilled Cheese layered with cheddar and Gruyere (hard yellow Swiss) on a pressed panini or toasted sourdough. The Chicken Salad sandwich complete with ample bites of shredded chicken and house-made dijonnaise under a bed of greens is served up on your choice of wheat or marble rye bread. If you prefer a step back in time perhaps the classic Tuna Melt oozing with Gruyere and sliced tomato on rye will satisfy your craving.
The Spring Salad (mixed greens, strawberries, pistachios w/ berry-basil vinaigrette) or the heartier Forest Salad layered in shredded Brussel sprouts, sliced oranges, and shallots (sweet onions) cloaked in a citrus vinaigrette could easily tempt your appetite, as might the rotating Soup du Jour aka ‘soup of the day. Maybe you just want to satisfy your sweet tooth, I suggest the Classic Belgian Waffle blanketed under blueberries and strawberries, before it’s drizzled in maple syrup.
For those who might be adventurous or have an eclectic palate, Marshall has a dozen or so delights meant to delight the taste-buds. The four gourmet toasts including Avocado, Prosciutto (thinly slice Italian cured ham) with goat cheese and dill, and the Almond Butter Banana Toast (mouth watering)) are a nice way to start your morning commute.
By far the toast that has become all the rage at Owlbear, is their Strawberry Pistachio. Imagine thin sliced strawberries and chopped pistachios, nicely arranged on top a whipped ricotta spread with a hint of mint, and a splash of honey. More sweet than salty, but overall a toasted indulgence pleasing three of five the senses. A yummy five star treat any time of day.
Their signature Owlbear Breakfast Sandwich with herb scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, arugula toasted ciabatta will set you back all of $6. Add prosciutto for another $3. Craving a more southwestern sandwich than order the Tavern Brawler, similar to the Owlbear without arugula, topped with avocado and tomato in a special habanero relish. It will add a certain amount of zing to your meal.
Aside from three signature acai berry laced bowls that come with almond milk, and an assortment of fruits, spinach, chia seeds, and granola, everything on the menu comes in under $9. The bowls ring up around $12. The Rosemary & Thyme Waffle or the Apple & Brie Sandwich are a cool $8. Nearly two dozen unique tastes on the bill of fare that are as pleasing to the palate as they are to the wallet. And you can get any item on the menu anytime Owlbear’s doors are open.
What about the beverages. Robust cups of coffee (12 & 16oz) brewed using beans from local roaster Springbok (King St.). The Cold and Nitro Cold come in at $4 and $6 respectively. The Doppio (a double shot of espresso) is ideally priced at $2, with an bevy of lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos priced right at $4. Several affordable ways to get your caffeine fix. Botanical teas and wellness drinks also available.
Whether you’re in with friends for a quick bite, or maybe just to enjoy a game, Owlbear offer up a nice list of adult beverages including local craft beers, preferred wines, and fruity mimosas that satisfy the 21 and older crowd.
Among the local brews on tap include Revelry’s Part Time Pirate, Brugge City Brune from Munkle, Kolsch (somewhere between an ale & lager) from Coast Brewing Co., as well as few from Edmund Oast, including their Apricot Peach and Bound By Time (classic IPA). All are on draft, with a daily and weekly rotating taps. For those who prefer fruit of the vine, Owlbear serve up a select chardonnays, pinot noirs, sauvignons, roses and California reds. Great drinks to accompany awesome handheld edibles.
While the food and drink at Owlbear are more than enough to draw patrons in, keep in mind they are a ‘gaming cafe’. However they are not for the typical 21st century gamer. Players are not going to find video and arcade games at Owlbear, rather they’ll discover over 100 classic board and card games that have entertained generations for decades.
For baby boomers they’re not just talking about retro era games like Scrabble, checkers, chess, Mystery Date, Trouble, Mouse Trap, Uno, and Monopoly, but a cornucopia of games including Apples To Apples, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Parcheesi Royal Edition, Game of Thrones the Board Game, and Scrabble Beatles Edition. Just grab one off the ‘Wall of Games’. There is even rumor of ongoing Dungeon & Dragons competitions! For complete list of games visit https://www.owlbearcafe.com/games
In search of a light bite with less distractions, consider putting Owlbear Cafe on your short todo list. Come in have a bite, a cup of coffee, maybe a cold brew, or a glass of wine with your friends while challenging your memory at Trivial Pursuit. Go old school and play cards, or take some stress off by playing a few rounds of solitaire. Sarah and Marshall have created one of Charleston’s most unique gaming cafes.
Owlbear Cafe is open daily 7am-7pm (8-3pm on Sunday) at at 1964 Riviera Dr. Suite J in the Shops at Seaside Farms near Rifle Range Road & the IOP Connector. Sidewalk tables available. For more visit their site at https://www.owlbearcafe.com/
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