October brought forth the opening of Nightmare Cafe located in the Las Vegas Arts District. This new horror-themed eatery can be found on South Commerce Street and West Colorado Street next to Nightmare Toys.
Philip Martin, co-owner of Nightmare Toys and Nightmare Cafe, attributes the inspiration of both establishments to his girlfriend and co-owner, Kristy Adams and her love of horror. What began as a personal interest expanded into a family business.
Their concept of a horror collectible store originated in Alabama. After business started to take off, the next stop was Las Vegas. Nightmare Toys opened in Las Vegas in June 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Without having any plans for it, Martin was suggested the idea of renting the vacancy next to their store. The once empty space is now home to Nightmare Cafe.
“We started in an itty-bitty store. It was 2,000 square feet and I was working in bars and nightclubs,” said Martin. “Now we have 6,000 square feet in the store and [Nightmare Cafe] is about 2,500 square feet. [Adams] started it all and now it’s turned into a huge thing.”
A soft opening came about on Oct. 3rd and exceeded expectations for the proceeding days.
“It was very crazy,” said Martin. “We sold out of food pretty much everyday. As fast as we could get stuff wrapped we would run through it. It was good.”
As a restaurateur, Martin explains that his favorite part of the job is socializing with customers and seeing little kids walk through their establishment doors.
“Everyone is into horror so you can immediately say, ‘What’s your favorite movie?’ and they’ll tell you exactly what it is,” he said.
Upon entering, a mural showcasing the talent of local artists, The Wall Saints, covers every wall in the establishment and extends into the hallway. It features horror iconography such as Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th”, a Ouija board, “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” and more. An array of flatscreens played sports games and horror movies, while music played overhead.
Crystal Lugo, 24, said, “It’s a creative concept and it’s in the right neighborhood. The creativity even follows into the menu, from spooky-inspired titles to the ingredients.”
When asked about the inspiration for the menu, Martin said, “We’re from Alabama so we like southern food and nobody is really doing that in this area, so we thought it would be a good addition.”
Customers will find a variety of options across the brunch, dinner and kids menu, ranging from hamburgers to vegan sandwiches. A beer and drink menu shows an extensive list of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
A play on horror-themed names such as Bloody Carrie, The Slasher and Beetlejuice caught the attention of horror enthusiasts. Martin’s favorite menu item is the Poultrygeist. It includes fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, sauteed greens and mashed potatoes.
“It’s not fancy, pretty much anyone can come in here and find something that they want to eat,” Martin noted. “We have a full bar so if they don’t like to eat, they can get a drink.”
Nightmare Toys has welcomed the likes of Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Linda Blair and other notable actors in the horror genre to in-store signings. More celebrity signings will be incorporated into the cafe. Trivia nights are among the ideas lined up as well.
A grand opening on Halloween weekend is in the works for the Nightmare Cafe. Nightmare Toys will be hosting its annual Halloween party on Oct. 29.
Nightmare Cafe is open year round with current hours running from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and extending to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Readers can find more information and stay connected with Nightmare Cafe via their Instagram page.