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The Playhouse is a one stop destination for craft and classic beverages, vintage video games, and a modern American burger joint.
The Playhouse is a one stop destination for craft and classic beverages, vintage video games, and a modern American burger joint.
The Playhouse is a one stop destination for craft and classic beverages, vintage video games, and a modern American burger joint.
218 backers pledged $24,475 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Playhouse // Swillburger

$24,475

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We are Brian Van Etten and Jeff Ching, two Rochester, NY natives who have been conceptualizing and building a creative new destination for the Upstate New York area.

The Playhouse // Swillburger is a combination bar, arcade, and modern take on the American burger joint. The Playhouse will feature craft and classic cocktails, craft beers, and a full arcade of vintage video games and pinball.

Swillburger, housed within The Playhouse, is a modern approach to a classic meal. Emphasizing sustainable principles and classic technique, Swillburger brings 100% hormone free and antibiotic free New York State beef to the forefront in the preparation of the classic burger. In a casual, quick service format, Swillburger will also offer a unique vegetarian burger, as well as classic sides, and an incredible malted milk shake.

Learn more about our ingredient sourcing and values at our SWILLBLOG

b u r g e r s  i n  q u e s t i o n
b u r g e r s i n q u e s t i o n

Together, The Playhouse & Swillburger will provide upstate NY with an exciting venue to eat, drink, and play. 

The space is located on the corner of South Clinton Avenue & Meigs Street, on the border of both the Swillburg and the South Wedge neighborhoods. The building, built in 1890, has been home to a theater, as well as a local church group. While the building provides much potential and opportunity, it also has been a great undertaking. To make it work we've been engaged in a huge build-out. 

E A T  B U R G Z  T S H I R T
E A T B U R G Z T S H I R T
P L A Y H O U S E T S H I R T
P L A Y H O U S E T S H I R T

As tough as the project has been, we believe that when opened, it will be something truly incredible. 

PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT OUR KICKSTARTER PROJECT!

Risks and challenges

There are a lot of risks in opening a bar and restaurant, but we feel the time is right, both for us, and for the city. With the local food movement explosion in recent years, we believe that it will be our standards, and not just our flavors, that will draw guests from the community. No longer are high quality and responsibly sourced food only available for a high price tag.

There has been a lot of time and effort, and between our previous ventures opening and managing restaurants in Rochester and Boston, we are confident that we are the right people for the job.

As this business opens and develops, we will continue to put in the time, energy, and thought into the needs of our guests and community.

Our promise to our backers and future guests: we will do everything possible to ensure your experience at The Playhouse // Swillburger is incredible. We will source the greatest products. We will strive to make sure you have a great meal. We will treat our coworkers with the utmost respect.

And you will be able to enjoy the rewards.

Thank you to Brandon and Seth and the entire team at STAACH for their genius designs, furniture, problem solving, etc. etc. We love you dudes.

Thanks to JR Kraus and Rob MacGowan for their video skills, somehow making us look only half ridiculous.

Thanks to Chad Grohman for his INSANE characters and t shirt designs. Truly fitting and unique.

Thanks to Garrett Kramer for his endless work on our branding and logo design, as well as his slick menu layouts.

Thanks to Gavin Thomas for his ability to help make our message coherent, and for helping us to continue to grow that message.

Thank YOU for taking the time to learn about what we are trying to do, and for spreading the word to your friends and family. It means the world.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Level 1 - A virtual fist bump, or high five, whichever you prefer.

    Receive the knowledge that YOU helped support a really creative and hardworking group of people create the business of their dreams.

    You donate, spread the word, and we will forever be in your debt.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Level up! Level 2 - Burger Boy

    Receive a Swillburger 5 burger punch card to use on any single patty sandwich, at your convenience. Tasty. (The Big Veggie Burger is included!)

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    87 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Level up! Level 3 - Captain Cool

    Limited edition Swillburger "Eat Burgz" t-shirt, as well as a 5 burger punch card.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    27 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Level up! Level 4 - T-Shirt Freak

    Limited edition Swillburger "Eat-Burgz" t-shirt, as well as an official Playhouse t-shirt, featuring the double fisting creature "BERSERKER." Bananas!

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    16 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    SECRET LEVEL! $50 reward LIMITED LIMITED LIMITED!

    Hand-turned Maple cocktail muddler!

    Each muddler is uniquely made for us by our friend Joe Allgeier. Get it with or without the Playhouse logo engraved.

    Imagine, muddlin' away in your basement, creating cocktails for your friends! You gotta get one!

    Photo in project update #4!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Level up! Level 5 - Very Important Person

    An invite +1 to our VIP pre-opening celebration. Free arcades all night, a sandwich and side for you both, and assloads of fun.

    (Note: As per kickstarter request, alcoholic beverages are not included)

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    26 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Level up! Level 6 - Burger BOSS

    Exclusive design "Eat Burgz" t-shirt, PLUS an invite +1 to our VIP pre-opening celebration, complete with free arcades, a sandwich and a side for you and your sidekick.

    (Note: As per kickstarter request, alcoholic beverages are not included)

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    Limited 24 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SECRET LEVEL!

    Exclusive Kickstarter MUG CLUB!

    This is a 1 year renewable membership. You will get a 20 oz mug filled at the 16 oz price every time or 10% off non 16 oz beers. The mugs are made exclusively for us at the Rochester Folk Art Guild and will be personalized with your name! Mug Club members also get 10% off their food on Mondays! If you don't renew your membership you keep your mug.

    Photo in project update #4

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Annual Gamer Membership

    SECRET LEVEL! The "pretty cool dude" reward.
    ULIMITED TOKENS FOR A YEAR.

    It's pretty simple really. For 1 year, every time you come in we hook you up with tokens till you go home!

    Come in whenever you want! Imagine, you come in once a week, estimate dropping 20 bucks on games. You do the math, it's worth it.

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  10. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Level up! Level 7 - Ultimate 5's

    Your name, on a colored STAACH bar stool. When you are in the building, that stool is yours.

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    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Level up! Level 8 - Mezzanine Maniac

    Post opening, you and your 9 closest friends receive a night of fun on us. Private mezzanine rental, with a meal for you and your guests, and yes, unlimited arcades.

    (Note: As per kickstarter request, alcoholic beverages are not included)

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $525 or more About $525

    Level up! Level 9 - The Gamer

    Serious gamers only. Unlimited arcades for you, for ever. Each time you show up, we hook you up. Get your jammin' thumbs ready.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $550 or more About $550

    Level up! Level 10 - Burger Party

    Post opening, you and 14 of your friends have a party, and Team Swillburger brings the burger pain. Have the party at your house, in your yard, wherever the heck you see fit. Burgers and picnic sides provided. Indoor/outdoor. (Limited to the greater Rochester area, and must be flexible with scheduling.)

    (Note: As per kickstarter request, alcoholic beverages are not included)

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Level up! Level 11 - Fancy Pants

    Chef BVE, in your house. Together, we develop a menu. Three courses, to your preferences, for up to 8 people. (Limited to the greater Rochester area, and must be flexible with scheduling)

    Let's get creative. If you want to get a little dirty, we'll put you right to work. If not, sit back, relax, surf the web or whatever.

    (Note: As per kickstarter request, alcoholic beverages are not included)

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    FINAL LEVEL! Level 12 - Grand Master Supporter

    You and 59 of your closest friends. The Playhouse is yours for a night, PRE-OPENING. Be one of the first to experience the new business, complete with unlimited arcades and a meal for all.

    Great for a flexible birthday party, bachelorette jamboree, or whatever.

    This reward comes with a little flexibility, but one way or another, we'll get this party rockin'.

    (Note: As per kickstarter request, alcoholic beverages are not included)

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Funding period

- (30 days)