The Side Deck gaming cafe opens its doors in Lexington

Abram and new employee conducting game demo. Karamie Sullivan photos.

Haley Malonjao began playing Yu-Gi-Oh! when she was about 15 years old. The trading card game is played by many across the country, and even internationally. Haley’s mother, Melinda Abram, said her daughter would go to different game stores to play, and became so interested she began to play Yu-Gi-Oh! competitively.

Haley’s parents didn’t want her attending games against other players without a chaperone, so her father would accompany her. He and Haley both learned how to become judges of the game, and have developed a love for the hobby.

So, it could be said, it was Haley’s initial interest in the game that sparked what has now become her parents’ new business endeavor. The Side Deck gaming café held their ribbon cutting Tuesday afternoon, at 5060 Sunset Boulevard in Lexington. The café has a wide range of games, from card games to board games. There will soon be an additional room that will offer console games (like Xbox and Play Station). There are also glass display cases in the store, with Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, and other trading cards for sale. Abram said people can bring their own cards in to sell, too.

The café is in the middle of the store, offering a variety of espresso coffee drinks. Abram said they will be expanding to a full kitchen soon. “My husband went to culinary school, so this is where it kind of comes in,” she said. “We started with a café, and we’ll have a full, made-from-scratch kitchen that’s already in the works.” The food menu should be available by mid-October, according to Abram.

One of the most enjoyable parts of her job, Abrams said, is teaching people how to play some of the games that are sold in the store. “We do board game demo nights, where our employees sit down with you, and we’ll teach you how to play a game,” she said. The store holds “beginner’s Pokemon” classes every Sunday. Abram said they’ve taught some families the game who have continued to come back to play against each other.

The Side Deck opens every morning at 10 a.m., and closes at 11 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, midnight Thursdays through Saturdays, and 8 p.m. Sundays. They also have free WiFi.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Business, Lexington, Lexington County