New arcade opening in downtown Concord

  • Wow Chicken arcade as well as two employees (Saja Ali, tye dye shirt and Brookelynn Swenson, black hoodie). —Ben Domaingue

  • Wow Chicken arcade as well as two employees (Saja Ali, tye dye shirt and Brookelynn Swenson, black hoodie). —Ben Domaingue

  • Brookelynn Swenson is one of the new employees of a new arcade in Concord. Ben Domaingue / Monitor staff

  • A new arcade next to Wow Chicken is expected to open within a couple weeks. It will be open until 1 a.m. Ben Domaingue photos / Monitor staff

  • Wow Chicken arcade as well as two employees (Saja Ali, tye dye shirt and Brookelynn Swenson, black hoodie). —Ben Domaingue

  • Wow Chicken arcade as well as two employees (Saja Ali, tye dye shirt and Brookelynn Swenson, black hoodie). —Ben Domaingue

  • The arcade at the corner of Main Street and Pleasant Street currently has two employees, including Saja Ali, shown demonstrating the air hockey table.

  • Wow Chicken arcade as well as two employees (Saja Ali, tye dye shirt and Brookelynn Swenson, black hoodie). —Ben Domaingue

Monitor staff
Published: 9/26/2021 4:30:10 PM

Maher Abbas, owner and operator of Wow Fried Chicken and Subs, is looking to expand Concord’s downtown experience, planning to open a new arcade for the general public.

Abbas, a small business owner, has operated his restaurant for nearly seven years and wants to create a new experience for his customers. The building, adjacent to Wow Fried Chicken at 5 Pleasant St., contains Abbas’ arcade on the top floor, with the ground floor operating as a venue hall for birthdays and events.

“I opened this because I see the people who love it here,” said Abbas. “My other place, Wow Chicken, people love the arcade.”

Abbas believes Concord does not have enough business variety downtown, and his aim is to change that.

“If you look around here, the town has a grill, bar, grill, pasta, okay, all that,” said Abbas. “No fried chicken except the KFC, and no Middle East food.”

Abbas hopes the arcade will attract people of all ages, children and adults alike. He said it will be a space for residents and tourists to hang out and have fun.

“You want to have fun after you finish work downtown,” said Abbas. “But, you know, you just eat and drink downtown; food, food, food, that’s it.”

Unlike many newer arcades that require visitors to purchase cards with digital credits, Abbas is leasing machines that only take quarters. He says the fees charged by card companies are too high to justify adding digital payment to his machines.

Abbas, a refugee from Iraq who came to the country with $75 in his pocket, has made Concord his home for nearly 14 years. Because of his work schedule, Abbas says those 14 years can feel more like 20.

A father of three children, Abbas’ idea for the arcade was inspired in part by the lack of child-friendly activities in Concord.

When his children were younger, they’d spend time at the park, playing. When he brought the family to Hampton Beach, his children loved the games inside the arcades and would spend hours there. As they got older, there were fewer things for them to do in Concord.

Like many restaurants, Abbas has faced staffing problems at Wow Fried Chicken. He has had to reduce his hours from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m, missing out on the usual lunch rush.

Abbas remains optimistic that he will be able to staff his new arcade before it opens.

Abbas did not provide an exact date for when his arcade will open, but he believes that he will be able to open within the next two weeks. He expects to operate the arcade from noon to 1 a.m., depending on foot traffic and staff availability.




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