Chuck E. Cheese’s

Confessions of a closet fan

Don’t judge, but we’re regulars at Chuck E. Cheese’s. In one moment, as parents, we were saying we’d never step foot into the chain restaurant that’s got a ratty-looking animatronic mouse for a mascot. But the next moment we realize we’ve been there five times, saving up game points so we can redeem top-shelf prizes for our kids. (We only need 500 more tickets to get the Star Wars Fighter Pods, which go for 2,500 tickets.)

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How did this happen? I blame it on an invitation for a preschooler’s birthday party, which we didn’t even attend because we were on vacation. But once the thought entered our son’s brain of a mystical place “Where a kid can be a kid,” it was over. The requests poured in.

“When are we going to Chuck E. Cheese? Can I have my birthday there, too?”

Going there on our own would be easier than hosting a party, we thought. We spent two hours at the Dublin location playing video arcade games, a bargain considering we’d spent $20 on 80 brass tokens, which filled two plastic cups. It took just one coin to play each game instead of two or more like at other entertainment centers. And the games worked, dispensing tickets as they were supposed to.

The restaurant also was clean and the environment felt safe, thanks to a woman who served as gatekeeper at the entrance. She made sure family members displayed matching glow-in-the-dark stamps before they exited.

The menu offered plentiful options beyond pizza, and the salad bar looked appetizing. We soon found out we weren’t the only closet fans, as the place has been packed each time we’ve visited.

There are three Chuck E. Cheese’s locations in central Ohio:

  • 2711 Martin Rd., Dublin, 614-791-9480
  • 4284 Macsway Ave., Columbus, 614-863-6482
  • 3631 Soldano Blvd., Columbus, 614-351-8884

For more information, visit

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