CAMBRIDGE – If you happen to be on Mass. Ave in Central Square Cambridge and suddenly experience a snack attack, it’s easy to know where to go. The grilled cheese gurus at Roxy’s have just opened a brand new spot where the burgers, fries, hot dogs, and of course, Grilled Cheese, have gone gourmet.
“Roxy’s Grilled Cheese is the best grilled cheese in Boston, simply put,” declared A4cade owner Michael Krupp. “James [DiSabatino], the owner, started with a single truck, and just exploded from there. There is nothing complicated about what he does; he just does it really, really well.”
“The secret to a perfect grilled cheese is making sure that the cheese melts, and the bread browns at the same exact rate, and that’s what we try to perfect,” James explained.
With a fleet of food trucks, and an ever-expanding number of brick and mortar locations, Roxy’s has become pretty well known. According to James, this Central Square spot has a big secret.
“If you’re walking down Mass. Ave, you’d definitely see Roxy’s. You wouldn’t suspect that there was something really fun happening in the back. But when you make your way into Roxy’s, you’ll see some people going through a back door, and that’s where all the fun starts.”
Those daring enough to discover the secret entrance, advance to a whole new level.
“You walk through a set of kitchen doors, where immediately people think they’re a little lost, but they just keep going,” James said. “They find themselves in front of a walk-in cooler door, and when you open that walk-in cooler door, you get into A4cade.”
The hidden space is the first arcade bar in the Boston area, packed with old school video games, classic pinball machines, and more nostalgia than you can imagine. It’s all a dream come true for owner Michael Krupp.
“I’m a child of the 80s. I grew up in arcades. I love video games to this day, and this has been a bit of a passion project.”
“On our ceiling we have this amazing grid system that really resembles a Pac Man grid, so right away you get the feeling that you’ve hit an old school arcade. We’ve got two bars here, both of them as you can see have got Tetris shelving also to give a little nod to the arcade. We’ve got about 30 arcade machines, half a dozen pinball machines, two skee ball machines, pop shot basketball, foozball, and as far as I know, the longest shuffleboard table in Boston at 18 feet.”
Because of the secret nature of this spot, along with all the flashing lights and sounds, first-timer visitors at A4cade are often overwhelmed.
“The greatest joy is watching people’s faces the first time they come in here, and even better is watching their friend’s faces when they bring someone in for the first time,” Michael said.
Since A4cade and Roxy’s share the space, customers are encouraged to chow down while they try to level up. All of Roxy’s great food is available inside the arcade, so you don’t even need to take a time out.
“It’s kind of like Vegas,” Michael declared. “You just stay at the machines and we’ll bring you what you want.”
Of course, the Grilled Cheese is great choice, whether you go for the classic, or something more unconventional, like the Grilled Ham and Cheese with Grillo’s pickles and caramelized onions. But the best bet is the Hot Honey Bacon.
“It has Muenster, Cheddar, and Fontina cheese, and then it has North Country Smokehouse bacon lardons, and then we have some Mike’s Hot Honey. It’s just gonna be kind of like a world of textures and flavors,” James described.
There are quarter-pound all beef Pearl hot dogs topped with barbecue sauce, cheese sauce, and crispy onions; burgers stacked with bacon and cheddar on a Portuguese sweet roll; French fries, tater tots, and marvelously messy poutine; plus an extra crispy Double Fried Chicken Sandwich.
“Our fried chicken has quickly become one of our most popular things. It’s a really nice four-ounce chicken thigh, double fried, some really nice thinly shaved lettuce, Grillo’s pickles, our housemade ranch, and then our Mike’s Hot Honey,” James listed “You’re gonna get some heat from the honey, you’re gonna get the coolness from the ranch, and the Grillo’s pickles just take it over the top.”
Since A4cade is a bar at heart, the drinks here are not to be missed, especially since they’re made by some of the city’s most creative and crazy bartenders.
“If I were to summarize the drinks in one world, I would just say wacky,” James said. “They’re just crazy; they’re over the top; they’re super fun.”
Many of the drinks can be made for sharing, and served up in all kinds of geeked-out glassware.
“We’ve got everything from porcelain sharks, to Dr. Who Tardises, to big R2D2s. There’s a Death Star back there, there’s a Zombie back there,” Michael said.
“I think we really knocked it out of the park with this one. We’ve got so much fun here, and I just love coming to hang out and just being a part of the crowd. I come here on my own days off, so I think we did a great thing.”
You can find Roxy’s and A4cade at 292 Mass. Ave in Cambridge, and online at roxysgrilledcheese.com.
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