“Did you know Chuck E. Cheese offers an All-You-Can Eat Lunch buffet?”
That was the question Elie asked me, as I proclaimed the deliciousness of Chuck E. Cheese pizza in the FOODBEAST office a few months ago. I’d recently gone for a young child’s birthday, and the pizza was more than memorable. I was unaware of the buffet, though, but interested to hear more.
Come to find out, Chuck E. Cheese has an AYCE lunch buffet Monday - Friday from 11am - 2pm, for about $7.50.
“We should go review the buffet one day,” Elie continued. “But, we should take [weed] edibles before we go — and vlog it!”
This immediately seemed like a fantastic idea. So, for the last few months, through Slack channels and Google Calendar, Elie and I began scheduling — and canceling — a date.
With both our schedules peppered with out of office dealings, remote photo shoots, and just general unavailability, pinning a date for this eventful day proved very difficult.
Most of us can remember going to Chuck E. Cheese’s as children. From my perspective, it was mostly fun. Chuck, the giant mouse, seemed reputable. The neon lights, video games, and animatronics were the perfect atmosphere for an 80s baby wired for sensory entertainment.
As I aged, I figured the Chuck E. experience was exclusive to parents with children. A few years ago, some dude I knew decided to have his birthday dinner there, and it was pretty dismal. One beer, per hour — we were told, after our group was almost denied entry. Since then, I figured Chuck E. Cheese was off-limits, and it was best to steer clear of the establishment unless invited. I was fine with that.
Upon my recent return, I discovered that Chuck E. Cheese pizza was delicious. Perfectly cooked pepperoni, flaky crust, melty cheese — good enough to share with the FOODBEAST crew, anyway.
As interested as I was in attempting to partake in the “all-you-can-eat” the buffet, I voiced my opinions about feeling unwelcome, expressing doubts that our plan would work. Elie convinced me otherwise.
Elie explained that he had ordered a pizza to go with his girlfriend a few months prior, when he saw the flyer for the buffet, and knew it was something he wanted to check out. So, I trusted his judgement.
After months of planning and replanning, we finally pulled the trigger. Conveniently enough, I received a package from a new cannabis infused toffee company, which would act as our PED for our nostalgic culinary journey.
We arrived at our destination about an hour after consuming the infused toffee. The sweetness and stickiness of the toffee, paired with the slight tinge of cannabis lingered in my mouth as I prepared myself for a cerebral journey. My body vibrated with strong waves of highness. I could tell this high would be intense.
Upon entering, a red rope separated us between reality and a neon-lit brainchild spawned by the inventor of Atari. The moment of truth was upon us. As the rope lifted, my anxiety subsided.
It worked. Mission one: Completed. We had successfully entered Chuck E. Cheese without the accompaniment of a child.
Now it was time to buffet.
However, the buffet was less than sad. It was depressing. Considering my enhanced emotional state, I was completely floored by the piss-poor presentation of the “buffet” which merely consisted of a large bowl with a divider down the center, separating two types of salad, a squirt bottle of Ranch dressing, and a small bowl of croutons. There was literally a half pizza under a heat lamp when we entered.
Elie wasn’t impressed either. His vision of the buffet was much more grandiose, with multiple toppings to choose from and a variety of dressings to enrobe our salad. I thought perhaps his visions of grandeur had rubbed off on me. There seemed to be a collective deflation between us.
As we sat down to eat, I started my voice recorder on my phone, just to capture the poignant moments of our discussion. I time stamped the audio after to discuss it on Foodbeast’s The Katchup Podcast.
My first note reads: “1:40 min: “I’m high as fuck.”
Through about an hour of audio recording, Elie and I seemed completely distracted by random noises from the surrounding video games. I mentioned how there was no salt and pepper at the table several times. Elie claimed his beer was the best he’d ever had. It was Bud Light.
Yet, the pizza was good. We mentioned how the food began tasting better each time we went back to the buffet. That could have been the magic toffee talking, but I’ll give it to Chuck E. Cheese, they’ve been in the pizza game for 40 years, and let’s face it, it’s pizza — there’s not much that can go wrong.
As we wrapped up our business lunch, the inebriation from the toffee began to really take hold. I consumed much more than I thought, and was soaring into a stoned, anxiety riddled mindset. I explained to Lyft driver that I’d gone to a “business lunch” at Chuck E. Cheese, she told me that I “looked tired,” repeatedly.
After that, I decided not to talk, as I was nervous I’d just ramble incoherently.
I began to question why I let Elie talk me into something like this, but nonetheless thankful for the opportunity to be able to tell a story of this nature.
In retrospect, I’m glad we were able to prove that Chuck E. Cheese doesn’t require children to enter, but I’m not sure when I’ll return. Maybe we will meet again, if I eventually enter fatherhood, although I am in no rush. Thanks to this trip, I was able to revisit the positive memories of my childhood — but perhaps it’s best those stay as they are — simply good memories of my youth.
Because, not even consuming 60mg of THC could have made the buffet any better.