How the Thirsty Dice Cafe on Fairmount changed the game for Philadelphia coffeeshops


The story of Thirsty Dice on 17th Street and Fairmount is as unique as its name.

It was on a trip to Toronto to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary when Matt Hendricks and his wife Becky stumbled upon a board game cafe, something they had never seen before.

“It was 2017, I was working on another job and looking for souls a lot,” Hendricks said in a recent interview with AL DÍA news. “I thought of a board game cafe in Toronto and how cool it would be to have one in Philadelphia.”

Hendricks and his wife opened the Thirsty Dice Cafe in October 2018 with the aim of bringing families and friends together and relaxing over coffee and board games.

“We have a lot of great classics,” he says.

Locals across Philadelphia had a chance to visit the cafe and see their eclectic selection of games, ranging from classic Monopoly, Scrabble, and Battleship to more serious gateway board games like Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride. In total, Thirsty Dice offers over 800 games to choose from.

For Hendricks, he hopes that his customers will see his café as an opportunity to take off their gadgets and interact with each other during a friendly game.

“We have a lot of people coming in and just relaxing and chilling out,” he said.

Although many small businesses had to close their doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hendricks found several ways to keep his business intact.

“We offered a contactless pick-up, that was exciting,” he said.

Board games are usually a way to bond with family, so Hendricks has also developed “comfort boxes,” customizable boxes that can hold coffee, pizza sets, biscuit sets, and of course board games and puzzles.

“We also took the time to renovate the store,” said Hendricks.

Thirsty Dice even hosted virtual game tournaments through Zoom and encouraged customers to speak to game tenders, employees able to answer any questions about board and video games.

The board game cafe is now open for indoor services and customers are welcome to step in, pick up a game, and order delicious food.

The company uses Hermans, a local coffee roaster in South Philly, to keep its customers focused on the game. It sells hot chocolate, lattes, and cappuccino.

Aside from the coffee, Thirsty Dice also has a ball shop that serves Baskett’s Ice Cream. It offers a wide variety of flavors, toppings, milkshakes, and drunk milkshakes.

“One of our most popular milkshakes is arguably our apple turnover milkshake,” says Hendricks.

The handmade ice cream treat consists of apple whiskey, French vanilla ice cream, apple pie filling and crumbled apple turnover.

Hendrick’s Café also sells an impressive amount of delicious food including pizza, mojo chicken nachos, empanadas, and various flavors of chicken wings.

“We also make sure we cater to vegans and other customers with dietary restrictions,” he said.

Hendricks also uses his space to host nonprofit organizations like Big Brothers and Little Sisters programs.

“We still give them our space to this day,” he said.

If you are in the neighborhood and want to check out their selection of board games, visit Thirsty Würfel Café at 1642 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia.


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