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How Thirsty Dice Cafe on Fairmount changed the game for coffee shops in Philly

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The story of Thirsty Dice at 17th Street and Fairmount is as unique as its name.

It was on a trip to Toronto to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary when Matt Hendricks and his wife Becky stumbled upon a board game cafe, something they had never seen before.

“It was 2017, I was working at another job and I did a lot of soul searching,” Hendricks said in a recent interview with News AL D NewsA. “I thought about a board game cafe in Toronto and how cool it would be to have one in Philly.”

Hendricks and his wife opened Thirsty Dice Cafe in October 2018 with the aim of bringing family and friends together and relaxing over coffee and board games.

“We have a lot of great classics,” he said.

Locals across Philly had the opportunity to tour the cafe and see their eclectic selection of games ranging from classic Monopoly, Scrabble, and Battleship to more serious catwalk board games like Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride. In total, there are over 800 games to choose from at Thirsty Dice.

For Hendricks, he hopes his customers see his cafe as a chance to put down their gadgets and interact with each other with a friendly game.

“We have a ton of people coming to relax and unwind,” he said.

Although many small businesses have had to close their doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hendricks has found different ways to keep his business intact.

“We offered contactless pickup, it was exciting,” he said.

Board games are usually a way to connect with the family. So Hendricks also created “comfort crates”, customizable boxes that could include coffee, pizza kits, cookie kits and, of course, board games and puzzles.

“We also took the time to do some renovations to the store,” said Hendricks.

Thirsty Dice even hosted virtual game tournaments through Zoom and encouraged customers to speak with game vendors, employees who can answer all questions regarding board games and video games.

The board game cafe is now open for in-room service, and patrons can walk in, have a game, and order delicious food.

The company uses Hermans, a locally sourced coffee roast in South Philly, to keep its customers focused on the game. It sells hot chocolate, lattes and cappuccinos.

In addition to coffee, Thirsty Dice also has a scoop shop serving Baskett’s ice cream. It offers a wide variety of flavors, toppings, milkshakes and alcoholic milkshakes.

“One of our most popular milkshakes has to be our apple turnover milkshake,” said Hendricks.

The artisanal ice cream is made with apple whiskey, French vanilla ice cream, apple pie filling and crumbled apple turnover.

Hendrick’s Cafe also sells an impressive amount of delicious food such as pizza, chicken mojo nachos, empanadas, and different flavors of chicken wings.

“We also make sure to cater for vegans and other customers with dietary limitations,” he said.

Hendricks also uses its space to host nonprofit organizations such as the Big Brothers and Little Sisters programs.

“We continue to give them our space to this day,” he said.

If you’re in the neighborhood and want to check out their range of board games, visit Coffee thirsty for dice at 1642 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia.


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