AVON PARK — Retro Rush is billed as ‘A place to kick back, chill, eat and play some games’ – all with an ‘80/’90s vibe. Located at 23 S. Lake Ave., in downtown Avon Park, this combination fun house and eatery is a perfect spot for the kids to hang out and for their parents to reminisce. By the way, there’s an original 1981 Pac-Man machine you can play.
The owners of Retro Rush are Luis and Melba Popa. They are from the Dominican Republic and have lived in Florida for more than 10 years. He’s an aircraft and auto mechanic by trade. She’s a bi-lingual counselor at Avon Park Middle School. When they moved to Avon Park to be closer to family, they noticed there wasn’t a place around where kids could play games and be safe. So, the idea came about to open Retro Rush.
Luis Popa learned to cook from his family. His wife is a good cook, too. So, a combination game and food spot made sense. The location is perfect. It attracts a take-out business for people working in the area; plus, after school, students drop in to play the assortment of games, and enjoy a snack.
Some of those snacks are empanadas, nachos, pizza, pretzels, hot dogs, corn dogs, and even mozzarella sticks. On the real food side, combos range from White Castle burgers, hot wings, chicken tenders and more. The cheese fries are seasoned and tasty. Other favorites are the corn nuggets and onion rings.
Retro Rush also features ‘Philadelphia Water Ice’ in a ton of flavors.
For the lunch crowd, everyday there’s a special, mostly with a Caribbean flare.
Brandy Daniels works at a nearby law office. She brags about those specials, including the Dominican spaghetti. It’s different from Italian spaghetti. It’s drier and is seasoned with ‘Sofrito,’ a Spanish favorite, and comes with a side of rice. Daniels also loves the Dominican burger. It too is different. Instead of being topped with lettuce, Luis Popa, uses cabbage and his special sauce. It’s served on a sourdough bun that has an oval shape.
When asked what she likes to order, regular customer Rachel Guadalupe Brennan laughed and said, “I order it all.”
She calls in an order for her fellow workers at the Avon Park Housing Authority at lunch time. Then she brings her kids with her later.
The way the games work is customers can play by the hour, or they can get a membership, which allows them so many hours of play time and entitles them to those water ices. Children under 12 need to have an adult with them. Adults can come on their own to play, too.
Retro Rush is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, and closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, or to find out the daily specials, call 863-453-0650. You can also visit RetroRush23 on Facebook. It’s playtime.