The parking lot was empty at Gigabites & Java on a recent Friday night, but inside, the game stations and PCs were full. Located in the distinct yellow building on the corner of North St. Mary’s and Dewey, the gaming hotspot plus deli is frequented by regulars that live on and around the St. Mary’s strip. The walls of the rectangular front room are lined with PCs, and two huge screens are set up for PS3 and Xbox 360 gaming. The Xbox hub was temporarily down, and we snagged the last open spot, a PS3 game station, and began an hour in virtual reality with Spiderman 3.
Featuring a full-service deli that’s open until 11 p.m. on weeknights and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Gigabites and Java is a niche operation that capitalizes on the logical combination of gaming and food. A 6-inch or double-decker club sandwich, chips, soda, and one hour of play is a reasonable $8.95 plus tax — perfect for a lunch hour — while two hours of game time bumps the combo up to just under $12.
We ordered the Hammer — toasted white bread, turkey, bacon, mayo, lettuce, and tomato — and the Club, same as the above with the addition of ham and American cheese. Made with all Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, the sandwiches were surprisingly great for a spot that’s main draw isn’t the deli. The thick slices of evenly toasted bread had just enough mayo, while the layers of meat and fresh lettuce were perfectly complemented by slabs of crisp, hickory-smoked bacon. I’ll definitely be eating lunch here in the future — at just over $5, the sandwiches are a steal, and Gigabites is a stone’s throw from the Current offices.
After eating, my gaming companions switched over to Resistance as I watched them play co-op on the sidelines. Rocking floor gamer seats are abundant, but we were fortunate enough to sit on a pair of pillowy red suede chairs set up at the PS3 hub. The seats were exceptionally relaxing and deep, sporting drink holders and wide arms perfect for setting down your food. “Forget looking for a new couch,” said my boyfriend. “We’ll look for a couple of these.” The gaming area is dimly lit, the sound is big, and nothing in the gamer’s peripheral vision hinders playing. Paired with the floor-to-ceiling screens, perfect for first-person-shooter games like Resistance or Halo 3, the setup sucks you in.
Co-owners and brothers Roman Lopez and Brandon Day are knowledgeable and friendly, chatting it up with regulars and happy to tell new patrons about their plans for the growing business. Day speaks of the 5 p.m. crowd that hits Gigabites on weekdays and the kids who walk over when school’s out. Lopez and Day make sure the students finish their homework before gaming, and even offer free game time for straight As (report cards must be provided or the owners call teachers for verification). In addition to gaming and the deli, Gigabites also offers computer repair. Lopez is the techie and there’s no diagnostics fee for taking a look at a computer — my old laptop’s currently there awaiting a CPU cooling fan. Though Gigabites is still a relatively new venture, Lopez and Day have already started planning for expansion. They need more PS3 and Xbox 360 hubs, and plan to utilize the empty second story for additional systems and gaming PCs.
Gigabites & Java
621 E. Dewey
The Skinny The combination of deli, gaming, and computer repair is a niche venture that serves an oft-overlooked clientele.
Don’t Miss Gamer’s combo: sandwich, chips, soda, and an hour of gaming for
$8.95 + tax.
Hours Noon-11pm Sun-Thu, Noon-2am Fri-Sat
Price range Sandwiches: $5.45
Gaming: $4/hr., $15/5 hr. block