STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — For the last two years, Willowbrook resident Howard Ratner would look forward to Friday nights when his group, Boardgames Staten Island would meet at Tim Hortons in Bulls Head.
In the age of electronic gaming, the group wants to keep playing board games — like Carcassonne, Scythe, Wingspan and Sushi Go! — alive. And since Tim Hortons is open 24 hours a day, the group decided to meet there regularly, grab coffee and donuts, and engage in board game playing, Ratner said.
But last Friday Ratner and the other gamers were told, “[We] are no longer welcome there,” he said.
A new sign was posted saying, “No group activities or games allowed in the premises,” on the door of the Richmond Avenue shop, Ratner said.
“For several years the staff was friendly and we co-existed in a friendly environment,” Ratner said.
“This ran perfectly well until September 27, 2019, when the night manager informed our group that the owner did not want people playing games in the restaurant. At the time, we politely asked whether there was a posted policy and whether this applied to all customers. We have seen other people playing card games, mah jongg, video games there. The night manager did not reply. I sent two emails into Tim Hortons corporate headquarters to better understand their policy, but did not receive any reply,” he added.
When reached by the Advance, Kerrim Jivani, who owns the three Tim Hortons on Staten Island, said “All are welcome here,” but noted that the gamers were taking up “too many tables” and there was a lack of seating for his other customers.
“They spend three or four hours over there just playing cards and everything,” he said. “We are just telling the customers don’t stay four hours, and make some room for the other customers.”
Ratner contends the group was told by a worker if they didn’t leave last Friday the police would be called.
“This has caused quite a stir in various Facebook groups dedicated to the board game hobby. We will be seeking to find a new and improved location for our board game group,” he said.