I don’t know, I just think themed restaurants seem kind of cliché. Yet some themes, If done right, and a topic chosen wisely, just might incite a novel vibe-considering that one rarely finds such eateries these days. And that was my hopes when I ventured onto Green Bay’s Broadway Avenue in search of the Cheesesteak Rebellion.
When checking out a new Restaurant, there’s five things on my checklist.
First and foremost would be the quality of the food and, with that, the menu options.
Secondly and just as important; the price range must allow me to visit at least once a month, and not have to dip into my credit card reserves to enjoy the place.
Thirdly; a good craft beer list is a must. I want a full dining experience, and what’s savory food without a damn good beer to wash it down?
The fourth characteristic would be the atmosphere, or ambiance- however you care to word it. I recently discovered a beer label hailing that, as functioning human beings, we need that ‘third space’. That third space being some place you choose to exist besides work and home. So, is the spot that I’ve chosen somewhere I can plop my butt down, relax and just be my obnoxious self?
The fifth attribute would be location. Is the place overlooking a vibrant town, set on a country road, standing aside a glistening bay or tucked away in a strip mall? I hate to admit it, but location can make or break a place also. Some places thrive on their locales and everything else, and I do mean everything else, seems to fall by the wayside. I probably hate those places the most. Would it kill them to put forth a little effort?
Anyways, that’s what I look for…oh and service, but that should go without saying.
Any of the five qualities listed above may reel me into an establishment. The case in this instance would be the fourth one on this list. I should make this small disclaimer: when I was six years old, the pinnacle of my young life occurred the night I watched the television premiere of Star Wars. I’ve never faltered away from the franchise’s fandom. I love futuristic space armor, cool space ships, laser guns, alien life forms, mind blowing special effects and light sabers. Plus, there is nothing more thrilling, or simply fun, than a Star Wars feature viewed at the local cinema..
I must mention, I don’t know of many themed restaurants in Green Bay- so the opportunity to enjoy such a place seemed as novel as any. There’s so many downtown spots trying to do the ‘in’ thing. But the newest fad, or failure, comes from the establishment that is not.
So on with our dining and gaming experience at the Cheesesteak Rebellion…
Heidi, this time, has a dining suggestion for tonight. And as I drive along nightlife ruins of decades gone by, I’m doubtful this one will be a hit. Years ago, Broadway avenue was the happening place, now its a slightly seedy passage through outdated buildings. Though, plans have been mulled over to revitalize this, once essential, portion of Green Bay.
What sucks us in to this dilapidated vortex is a Star Wars themed bar. I have images in my mind of what the place might look like. When I arrive, none of the projections hold true. It’s like many places on Broadway. A sturdy two story building, harkening to the days when Bar and Restaurant owners lived in the upper portion of their establishments, stands very modestly. And a curiously painted wood sign, proclaiming ‘The Cheesesteak Rebellion’, leaves some conjecture as to whether this is really a Star Wars themed eatery.
Of the entire dining experience, the most disappointing point is when I enter the establishment. And to some the vibe might not be that bad, its really not. But when I think of a Star Wars themed spot that a true blue Yoda loving, Chewbacca imitating and light saber wielding entrepreneur would construct; I’m picturing some kind of vibe that would shout 1980’s. I know, only two films were actually released in the eighties. But that was the height of the franchise’s popularity, and I remember the film seemed an integral part of that decade. Not to mention, scattered about this new restaurant, vintage arcade games from said era beg a coin from a vintage gamer.
What I do find is an attractive dining room, fitted with some trendy dining tables and a bar to go along with the wood laminate flooring. It’s nice, but the random movie pictures and memorabilia just doesn’t jive with the slightly classy family eatery atmosphere. The aura of the place feels disjointed. However, they’re just getting started. So, I guess, maybe in a year or so, my visions will become reality. Or maybe I’m the only one that craves such an ambiance.
We’re seated, handed beer lists and allowed to peruse the menu. This is where the experience really picks up. First of all, there are some really good Green Bay beers available, and I choose one. The menu has about five or six cheesesteak sandwiches to choose from. There’s also butter burgers and some delicious sounding ‘Dark’ Sides. Is ‘Dark’ sides a little cliché? Maybe, but fun. I choose a cheesesteak sandwich with salami, known as the Falcon, and Heidi follows suit. Our waitress, decked out in a Star Wars t-shirt, takes our order and we’re left to check out the place.
At first glance, there just didn’t seem to be that much memorabilia. As I go over the entire restaurant, I find Items that pique my interest. I find some life sized clone soldier helmets, large action figures and creative Star Wars themed paintings and posters.
There’s also quite a few video games hanging about. Heidi discovers a classic Ms. Pac-man game, and its apparent that I’m going to be dining with her inner ten year old this evening. I also spy games that will drain some silver George Washingtons from my purse.
When the food arrives, its absolutely tasty and fits my beer selection perfectly. It was around twelve dollars for the sandwich, sides were not included, so a little pricey…but excellently prepared and consequently rapidly devoured.
After our food is gone and we settle up, we mosey on over to the arcade section. I should mention, while we eat, we’re watching movies on two small flat panels. No, they weren’t Star Wars Movies. There’s eleven feature length Star Wars releases to choose from. Showing them on a continuous loop would add to the place. Alas, it’s a work in progress.
The games are really fun. Heidi shows off her Ms. Pac-Man skills, as she complains about the joystick. I don’t know what she’s complaining about, she’s taking the ghosts to school. As for me, I dust off the rust and try to conquer space invaders. There is a also a sit down Star Wars arcade game where one can fly an x-wing or do battle with a light saber. The Cheesesteak Rebellion actually has a lot of classic arcade machines to choose from, including an all-in-one with many arcade favorites. So basically, if you’re longing for an arcade experience with that favorite game from your childhood, it’s probably here.
We run out of quarters and leave the Cheesesteak Rebellion behind, but there might possibly be a sequel.
In closing; Although a slightly disjointed vibe surrounds, the Cheesesteak Rebellion offers Savory Philly inspired sandwiches at fairly competitive prices. This Green Bay spot’s menu, filled with fun Star Wars Cliches, offers galactic fun and deliciousness. Also, being part classic arcade, one can visit a long time ago, while the staff and décor harkens to a galaxy far, far away. While it may reside on the seedy streets of Broadway, an air of classiness cozily exists in this themed eatery. Plus, the beer list is exceptional. May the Force be with them always!