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Gameworks Schaumburg – Don’t Bother With The Works Kitchen Restaurant [Review]

the works kitchen gameworks nachos
Nachos, with all the toppings piled up on the side.

It has been about 8 years since I last visited the Gameworks in Schaumburg, and it seems that a lot has changed. Traditional arcade games have been delegated to the 2nd floor, while “ticket” based games have taken over the main level. Tokens and quarters have been replaced by the refillable Gameworks credit cards, and paper tickets have been replaced with digital tickets stored on that same card.

I guess this makes sense since home video game consoles have pretty much taken over the current arcade market.  But I know there are still some great arcade games out there, so I was hoping that the selection would be a bit better. I guess next time I’m better off just heading to the local beercade and playing some old retro arcade games while enjoying an adult beverage or three.

Gameworks is definitely geared more towards kids and families than it is adults and drinking, which is obvious by the fact that these ticketed games have seemingly taken over the space. Even the regular arcade games upstairs are pretty beat up and old. I would say I could count on one hand the amount of newer arcade games that were available to play upstairs, and the majority of those are shooting games, which is a harder experience to reproduce on home consoles without the need for extra peripherals. Outside of those newer games most of the remaining machines were old, beat up, and semi-broken… which was very disappointing.

I will say that they had a fairly decent number of pinball machines though, which was a nice surprise.

But if you’re looking for a place to spend the day and play some awesome arcade games, then you may be pretty disappointed with Gameworks Schaumburg’s selection of games.

However, if you’re in the mood to try and win some tickets and get some prizes, then you’ll be right at home here.And it does seem like the prizes have gotten better since I was a kid going to arcades. They actually seem to have some name brand prizes and they aren’t ridiculously unattainable, but you’re still going to have to be good at the games if you want to rack up enough tickets to take home any of the substantial prizes… or just come back a lot.

That being said though, our main focus of the evening was really just to get together to celebrate my and my brother in-laws birthday with a dinner, we just figured that Gameworks might be a nice way to switch it up from our normal birthday dinners, and give the kids something to do before we sat down to eat.

Gameworks – The Works Kitchen

The last time we went to Gameworks Schaumburg, nobody had any kids and we were there celebrating a friend’s 30th birthday party, so it was more about drinking in the bar area and playing a few games. This time around we had four kids with us, so we couldn’t just hang out in the bar area, and instead got a table in the restaurant.

Just a heads up, they do NOT take reservations at “The Works Kitchen” restaurant. So if you’re there on a Saturday night and you’re looking to eat, I highly suggest walking over to the hostess at the restaurant around 5:30PM in order to get seated in a timely fashion. The space is decently large, but it was completely full the entire time we were sitting down to eat… which was a long time.

We had a group of 10 people, four kids and six adults, so we were a fairly large group, but I wouldn’t say we were a difficult table, so I’m not sure what the issue was with the service.

We were initially seated pretty quickly and the server came around right after that to see if we wanted any drinks. But seeing as how we had just sat down, nobody had really had a chance to look at the menu, so only my sister in-law knew what she wanted and was able to order. The rest of us took a few minutes to look over the menu and decide what appetizers we wanted to order, as well as some adult beverages.

It wasn’t too long before the server came back for our apps and drink orders, which I believe included three appetizers and three adult beverages and two pops. The alcoholic drinks weren’t anything too difficult I didn’t think, as they were just right off their normal cocktail menu and nothing custom or fancy, but for some reason the drinks took forever to come out.

At some point between when when we ordered our appetizers and they came out, we ordered our entrees. I can’t remember exactly when, but getting our orders in wasn’t really the issue. And even getting the appetizers to the table didn’t take that long, but it was a little annoying that the appetizers came out before our drinks… like a half hour before our drinks…

The appetizers came out at a reasonable time, which was nice, however, we were all quite disappointed in one of them, which we’ll get to shortly, I still want to bitch about the service, because I still don’t understand why it was so bad.

And just so it doesn’t seem like I’m being unreasonable, or being an asshole here, the table next to us definitely complained about it as well. I’m going to chalk it up to being short staffed on a busy Saturday night, but I’m not really sure exactly what was going on. I don’t know if our server forgot to put in our orders, or if the kitchen and bar were backed up, or what… so I’m not going to lay the blame on any one person, I’ll just point out that it was an awful experience all around.

So appetizers come out and we’re still waiting on our drinks. The only person that has a drink at the table, aside from the kids, is my sister in-law, who ordered right when we sat down. It would be another 20-30 minutes before we would receive the rest of the drinks for the table, so probably about 45 minutes after we sat down at this point.

And on top of that, it’s now almost 7PM and we still don’t have our food. We were sat at our table at around 5:30pm, ordered apps and drinks at probably 5:45pm, apps came out around 6PM, which is around the same time that we ordered our entrees. Drinks came out around 6:30pm, and our food would finally arrive at our table at about 7:05PM or so… over an hour since we placed our entree order and 1.5hrs since we sat down.

Oh, and when our food finally did arrive, mine was wrong and they had to bring it back to fix… How hard is it to make sliders with just bacon and cheese… I’m not sure how she got “plain” out of my order, but they came plain, so the server had to bring them back to the kitchen so they could add a piece of cold bacon and cold cheese to the top of them and then bring them right back out…. didn’t even bother to try and heat them up a little to melt the cheese.

I might be expecting a little too much from Gameworks, but come on… the whole evening was a little ridiculous. Not to mention how long it took to get our check at the end of the night.

So overall, based on the service (which is all I’ve discussed to this point), I can’t recommend the Gameworks Schaumburg restaurant if you go on a Saturday night.

But aside from the service, let’s talk about how the food was.

The Works Kitchen Food – Sliders, Nachos, Pizza and More

As should be pretty obvious up to this point, we were not too happy with our experience at the Gamework Schaumburg “The Works Kitchen” restaurant, so I honestly wasn’t expecting too much when it came to the food. And let’s be honest, it’s Gameworks, it’s not really some fancy restaurant, so I’m not sure what I was really expecting.

We started out with three appetizers: Next Level Nachos, 6 Wings, and the 10″ Jump Prop & Peller Soft Bavarian Pretzel.

Let’s start off with the good first.

the works kitchen gameworks wings
Wings – which everyone seemed to enjoy.

Everyone liked the wings… aside from me, but only because I didn’t eat them. But whatever wings we ordered were probably the favorite of the table, in terms of appetizers. They were good size, had enough sauce on them, and were pretty tasty.

The Bavarian Pretzel was also very good. It came with a honey and whole-grain mustard sauce and a Sam Adams Beer Cheese, which was way better than any of the cheese that was on the nachos. The pretzel was a big hit with the table as well, and the beer cheese was delicious, but that’s where it ends in terms of delicious appetizers.

The Next Level Nachos were just not good.

The Next Level Nachos come with mixed tortilla chips, cheddar jack cheese, Sam Adams Beer Cheese, charred chipotle salsa, guacamole, crema, cilantro, and pickled red onion. I think we got it without the onion and cilantro.

Now that I’m reading over the list of ingredients, I’m not sure why it was so bad.

First of all it came out in a giant can with all the chips on the bottom and the toppings on top. The server then had to pull the can off of the nachos (there was no bottom on the can) so that the chips and everything would dump onto the serving plate… This just seems like an extra, useless step in the process, which makes it so that all of the toppings stay with the chips on the top and nothing hits the chips on the bottom. At least if they are spread out on a plate there’s more surface area for the toppings to hit, but not when you shove everything into a can…

Then when the can is pulled off all the toppings kind of flop to the side, which leaves even less toppings on the actual chips…

And lets talk about the actual chips. Apparently, now that I’m reading the menu, it is mixed tortilla chips, which apparently means normal tortilla chips and then some random Doritos flavor chips mixed in… flavors that were not good. I didn’t appreciate playing Russian roulette with the tortilla chips every time I decided to reach in. But that wasn’t the worst part, and honestly, I’m not even sure what the worst flavor actually was, because I thought it was one of the cheeses they put on the nachos, but according to the menu it was just cheddar jack cheese and the Sam Adams Beer Cheese, which we all loved with the pretzel. So now I’m really confused… maybe it was the crema that we didn’t like, but everyone unanimously decided that there was some weird aftertaste with each bite of nacho that just threw off the flavor of everything.

the works kitchen gameworks nachos
Nachos, with all the toppings piled up on the side.

So out of the three appetizers we ordered, I can’t recommend the nachos, but the other two are a pretty safe bet.

As for our entrees, nothing was too impressive, but nothing was terrible. I would say the best thing that was ordered was the pizza.

My sister in-law ordered the Meat + Jalapeno Lovers Pizza, which a few others tried and everyone seemed to really like it. The pizza itself came with pepperoni, Italian sausage, salami, red onion, fresh jalapeno and works sauce.

the works kitchen gameworks meat lovers pizza
Meat and Jalapeno Pizza

My wife ordered the House Roasted Turkey Prosciutto Avocado Wrap, which comes with turkey breast, lettuce, tomato, crispy prosciutto, guacamole and work sauce, wrapped in a flour tortilla. Again, a typical wrap, nothing too special about it, but it wasn’t bad.

the works kitchen gameworks turkey wrap
Turkey Wrap

Unfortunately I can’t remember what the rest of the table got, but my brother in-law and I both got the Bacon BBQ Hawaiian Roll Sliders which normally come with beef, sharp cheddar, bacon, BBQ sauce, onion straws, pickles and work sauce.

He ordered his straight off the menu, but of course I had to special order mine. I asked for no onions, no pickles, and no works sauce… yet somehow the server heard “plain”.

The first thing I noticed when the sliders came out, aside from the fact that they were plain and didn’t have any bacon or cheddar or BBQ sauce on them, is how dry the Hawaiian roll looked. I was expecting like a King’s Hawaiian roll, which is usually extremely soft and warm, but instead it almost seemed like the roll had been sitting out for a while and went stale… either that or they toast the buns, which is a terrible idea when it comes to those rolls I feel. They are supposed to be soft and not toasted in my opinion.

So after they took my sliders back to the kitchen and just threw some old bacon and cold cheese on top of the meat, I was finally able to take my first bite… an hour after ordering. And it tasted exactly how I expected it to taste… extremely dry and overcooked.

the works kitchen gameworks hawaiian sliders
Sliders – complete with cold cheese and bacon, and a Hawaiian roll that was hard as a rock. In the background you can see my brother in-laws sliders made the normal way.

Now keep in mind I’m normally a medium/medium-well type person, but in this case they didn’t even ask me how I wanted it cooked (even though they did ask my brother in-law), so I was just stuck with hockey pucks for burgers regardless of what I may have said.

If you couldn’t tell by this point, I was not a fan of the sliders, and wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.

Maybe if they had the bbq sauce on it, it would have been a little better, but with the massive f- up of my food, I wasn’t about to ask for anything else from them. I was just starving by this point and wanted to eat.

And that was it. We ate our food, waited another 20+ minutes for our check after all our plates were done and half of our table was in the bathroom (so clearly we were done), and we went around the corner to the Cream Bar for dessert.

We certainly weren’t going to waste our time at Gameworks for dessert.

So overall I can’t really recommend The Works Kitchen at Gameworks Schaumburg if you’re in a hurry. I would have been really upset if I had the intention to play anymore games upstairs with my all day game pass after dinner, seeing as how it took so long and the thing expired before we got finished with our food. So definitely don’t sit down to eat if you still plan on playing games with one of those passes, you won’t get your money’s worth.

You’re better off eating somewhere else, or just munching on appetizers at the bar instead of sitting down at the restaurant. Although the bar was pretty crowded on a Saturday night as well, so I’m guessing you should just avoid the food completely if you’re there on Saturdays.

 

 

 

Summary
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The Works Kitchen - Gameworks
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About the author

Tom

I'm a married man in his 30's who doesn't really "like" food. If it weren't for my wife I would be living off of pizza and cheeseburgers for the rest of my life. Follow me as I venture slightly out of my comfort zone to try different foods and restaurants.

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