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Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Time Event
Melinda and I ate at uWink this evening. It's a cross between a grown-up version of Chuck E. Cheese's and a South Korean Internet bar. Tables are arranged sort of like in a night club, there's video projectors aimed at every wall alternately showing video games and Media Player visualizaions of the loud pop music playing. Every table has several video touch screens and this is the central gimmick. You order from your screen; the menu shows pictures of everything that's tasty. You can customize your burgers, add sides, and page through dozens of drinks. Send the order to the kitchen and in a little while your food comes back (delivered by a human but only because the robot waiters haven't yet arrived, I'm sure). What to do while waiting for food? Play those video games I mentioned earlier. The touchscreens also serve up dozens of individual, table-group, and restaurant-wide group games. Some are free but many cost credits ($0.25 per credit, easily debited from your tab). Melinda and I played uSketch, a pictionary game where you draw on the screen. Very cute. We also played some individual games and looked through everything else. The media set is geared toward the 20-something crowd: first date games, truth-or-dare, and even some 18+ subject matter (I didn't look).

In all it was fun and the food was very good (same food as Red Robin or TGIFridays but better, IMHO). The only sad thing is that, really, the just don't spend much time looking at or talking with the other people at your table. It felt much like an internet cafe where there's lots of singleton people eating, but it happens that they're actually groups. If you have more people than screens then of course there's more conversation, and, you can play group games centered around the table. But if you've seen the movie Wall-E then you know what I'm talking about: people talking "to" each other, sitting next to them, but doing it all through the touchscreens.

Anyway, we'll go back when we want a tasty sandwich, and we may even play some games. It won't be a regular spot for us but I would recommend that anyone curious give uWink a try.

Yelp reviews of uWink.

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