One of the best things about the Redondo Pier is that in between Fire Chiefs at Old Tony’s and craft beer at Najas, you can ride the tilt-a-whirl at Redondo Fun Factory. Booze plus rides = FUN. So when I heard about a gastropub called Games and Thrones with a rollercoaster inside I couldn’t wait to check it out. You never know what could be in those old warehouses that dot northern Burbank.
If you’re a stickler, it’s not exactly a rollercoaster. It’s more of a ride, like the old caterpillar rides. There is a ring of attached cars on a circular track, which undulate so you go up and down. The fun part though is that it goes really fast and the centrifugal force is what gets you.
Games and Thrones is kind of like a rogue Chuck E Cheese. They opened last year in the former location of “Kid’s Castle.” The games are a little outdated, which for someone like me means awesome. They have skeeball, air hockey, The Simpsons videogame and the original Street Fighter. Of course, along with the Chuck E Cheese vibe come kids. Lots and lots of kids. Which is good if you have some of your own. There is also a large obstacle-style play area for those kids in case you run out of quarters.
There is an unassuming snack bar that makes this place kick ass over Chuck E. Cheese. The food is amazing! Besides the rumored coaster, the other draw for me was the fact that along with burgers and pizza, they have lumpia and chicken adobo on their menu! It turns out Chef Julie Santiano is from the Philippines and so are most of the cooks. I am wary of lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) that are not made by a kitchen full of grandmothers. However, I have it on good authority there is a grandmother involved, and yes, the lumpia were good. The adobo is just average, and you have to watch out for whole peppercorns.
There is a kids food menu with Angus burgers and pasta. In the grownup food department, the Spring Strawberry Salad with baby spinach leaves, goat cheese and candied pecans was one of the best salads I have ever eaten. All of the salad dressings are made in-house. The other thing that they are really good at is bar food. Besides the lumpia and killer soy-garlic wings, sliders, tacos and satay, they have an amazing specialty called Fronions. It’s a big plate of buttermilk battered and fried leeks, scallions, and jalapenos served with a house-made aioli. On the day I visited they had a special — steak sandwich sliders with fried artichokes. If they added artichokes to the Fronions mix, I just might eat there every single night forever.
I suggest people without kids come for the kitsch value, the great food and the ability to mix beer and a spinny ride. Moms, you can have your chardonnay and a fancy charcuterie board while the kids play in a space that is mostly open so you can still keep an eye on them. Dads, do I really have to spell it out? Beer. Videogames. Steaks. Possible MILFs. Oh, and for every dollar you spend, you get points you can redeem for prizes — like skeeball tickets. So drink more and get your kid a stuffed panda.
Games and Thrones is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Check out their FAQs page where they explain why you can’t use a Kid’s Castle game card for the third time already and why you can’t have Ranch dressing. But eventually they give up and start making their own Ranch dressing, and they “hope that you enjoy our recipe, while also refraining from dipping everything in it. Plenty of our menu options DO NOT pair well with ranch – like our soy garlic wings, grilled baguette, and artisan pizzas.”
So help me, if I catch you dipping those soy garlic wings that I spent three years perfecting into that goddamned Ranch dressing one more time, you are outta here for good!