What’s next on Marc LaMaina’s chopping block? Zombies!
The restaurateur behind the popular Lucharitos brand will unveil his new Axe & Smash Axe Throwing Lounge inside Mattituck Cinemas Thursday.
For the unfamiliar, the burgeoning group activity involves people taking turns throwing axes at wooden targets. LaMaina’s new East End spot will offer a variety of game modes, from a traditional bull’s-eye target to tic tac toe and even zombie hunting.
“It’s more finesse than force,” LaMaina explains to first time throwers. “You’ve got to use the upper body a little bit.”
Online reservations for 60- to 90-minute sessions are now available for groups of up to six people.
Upon arrival at the theater, guests will check in at the Lucharitos concession stand, where they can order food and drinks that will be brought to the designated area adjacent to their throwing cage. They will also watch a safety video at the bar before axe masters lead them in a brief demonstration and allow them a few minutes of practice before their official session begins.
Given that the attraction was designed for a movie theater, LaMaina opted for an end-grain design. Instead of chucking axes against a solid board, axes land much more softly into the ends of soft pine beams.
In addition to three lanes for adults and children ages 12 and over, LaMaina — a father of three — prepared a separate cage with rubber axes for use by children between 6 and 11. Those wishing to book the children’s cage must contact the lounge directly for an appointment.
“This is a passion project of mine,” LaMaina said of the lounge. “I think being from the North Fork and having small children, I hear people say, ‘Oh there’s nothing for us to do.’
“I know that because every weekend when we go to do something with the kids it’s, ‘Where are we going? What are we doing?’ ” he continued. “Just providing that service to other local families means a lot to me.”
LaMaina’s relationship with Mattituck Cinemas began last year when he took over the theater’s concession stand. For those who were tired of popcorn and soda, he provided tacos and tequila.
His new axe throwing lounge is just the first family-friendly activity he has in store for the theater.
The throwing cages occupy what local residents will remember as theater four. Across the hall are two vacant theaters that await an overhaul from Greenport artist Ricky Saetta, better known as Ricky TeeVee.
LaMaina’s friend since high school, Saetta will design and construct an immersive ‘80s wonderland putt-putt course. The list of nostalgic holes he plans includes MTV, “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” and “Saturday Night Fever,” all significant nostalgic nuggets from the two friends’ childhood and teen years.
“I want to bring all that nostalgia that was earned throughout all those years of our childhood there,” Saetta said. “I want to keep that movie theater vibe, but I also want to make some parts look like the mall and some parts look like a video store so the whole place is an immersive experience.”LaMaina also teased plans for golf simulators in yet another vacant theater, which he hopes to have up and running this summer.
While the theater offered recent blockbusters like “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Avatar: The Way of the Water,” it remains closed while renovations are underway.
Even amid the excitement of what’s to come in the corner of Mattituck Plaza, one question lingers in the minds of locals: Are they going to bring movies back?
“We hope so,” said LaMaina. “We’re rooting for it.”
Axe & Smash Axe Throwing Lounge is located at 10095 Main Road in Mattituck. For reservations, visit axesmashli.com or call 631-292-0020.