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Take a bite out of creative dishes and nostalgic arcade titles at Level 257 in Schaumburg.
Photograph: Martha WilliamsTake a bite out of creative dishes and nostalgic arcade titles at Level 257 in Schaumburg.

Play Pac-Man and eat "power pellets" at Level 257 in Schaumburg

Zach Long
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Zach Long
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Since his introduction in 1980, Pac-Man has always enjoyed chomping on power pellets, blue ghosts, cherries, pretzels and whatever else comes in contact with his endlessly masticating mouth. So, why has it taken this long for someone to open up an eatery dedicated to the little yellow video game character? When we heard that the world's first official Pac-Man inspired restaurant would be opening in Schaumburg, we knew we had to make a journey to the suburbs to see if it lived up to our expectations.

The newly opened Level 257 seeks to be the rec room you've always wished you could afford, boasting walls lined with arcade games, 16 bowling lanes, a full bar and a menu that boasts a "Filet Mig-Nom" steak. While it doesn't have the depth of local arcade bars like Emporium and Headquarters, Level 257's selection of arcade games does include some more obscure titles, like the four-player Pac-Man Battle Royale and the hybrid arcade/pinball game Baby Pac-Man. A $15 card allows you to play any game you like for an hour, but if blinking screens and joysticks aren't your cup of tea, there's a small lounge equipped with board games like Battleship and checkers.

Once you've tired of playing games, you can dig into Level 257's menu, which features a selection of pizza, pasta, sandwiches and meats, as well as cocktails named after video-game items and characters. We can't remember Pac-Man ever eating a cauliflower steak, but there's one of those on the menu as well. If you're craving dessert, you'll want to try the “Power Pellets,” small, bittersweet chocolate–filled doughnut holes covered in powdered sugar. And yes, they come with a side of berries—much like the ones that Pac-Man likes to chomp.

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