Early in his life, NERDtorch Cafe owner Nigel Mongerie felt it was hard to find other people with the same interests as himself. In an effort to ensure others do not struggle with this, he wanted to start a business to provide an easy way for people with like-minded interests to connect and build strong friendships.
Located in the Collaboration Station in Opelika, NERDtorch Cafe seeks to remind customers of the memories they had as children playing games with friends after school. More than just a restaurant, NERDtorch Cafe aims to be the place that friends go to hang out, have fun and enjoy a meal.
“The mission for NERDtorch Cafe is a simple one,” Mongerie said. “We want to build a strong community for the nerdy people.”
Day passes or month-long memberships can be purchased to enjoy hanging out at the cafe, playing games, eating food and even earning reward points for contributing to the community.
The idea for the cafe began with the release of “Pokemon Go,” Mongerie said.
“People were everywhere,” Mongerie said. “People all over the city were scattered around catching Pokemon, and that’s when I noticed that while a lot of businesses were doing a lot of different things to support the players, there weren’t any businesses that really catered to the gaming community.”
Soon after he saw this need for a place that catered to the community, Hastings Entertainment in Auburn, one of the premier places for the gaming community, closed down.
Mongerie said he knew someone had to fill the void, and he stepped up to the plate.
Mongerie and the staff showed their love for the community when they opened the cafe for members to stay overnight during the worst of Hurricane Irma.
However, the journey from idea to reality was not one that was without struggle.
Mongerie said one of the biggest struggles NERDtorch Cafe faced was finding money for games and equipment.
Game consoles and setups are not cheap even when bought used, but Mongerie said he soon realized that he was not alone in the pursuit of his original dream.
“The [gaming] community was very supportive and has donated a lot of the games and systems that we have so far so that we could keep the dream alive,” Mongerie said.
Through the help of the community, he was able to acquire enough setups to get the cafe off the ground.