A new business that’s taken over a vacant storefront in downtown Riverhead will challenge visitors with one not-so-simple task: escape from a locked room in under an hour.
At Escape Quest, friends in groups of two to eight must find clues, solve puzzles and discover secrets that will help them get out of one room, then another, within the time limit, said manager Anzhelina Shtenger. The renovated space at 120 West Main St., formerly part of a furniture store, is currently awaiting final inspection by the town fire marshal and could open in about two weeks, pending that approval, Ms. Shtenger said.
Ms. Shtenger’s parents, Aleksey and Natalia, of Middle Island, decided to start the business after noticing the popularity of escape rooms in other countries, such as Russia, England and Lithuania.
“It’s really, really popular around Europe,” Ms. Shtenger said. “It’s not as popular around here, which is why when we came back from our vacation we thought, oh, only a few were open at the time so we wanted to open one up ourselves.”
While several escape room locations are scattered across Long Island, in places like Ronkonkoma and Yaphank, the Shtengers and the friends they partnered with wanted to bring one to the East End.
Partner Saulia Truncinskas, of Flanders, appeared before the Riverhead Town Board in April 2017 as the business applied for a special permit to convert the retail space to a recreational use. At the time, board members showed interest in an idea that would bring a new downtown attraction to a vacant storefront.
For younger escape room sleuths, ages 7 to 12, the premise is that friends are playing a board game, similar to Jumanji, traveling to different parts of the world or even outer space. But they become trapped and must escape before Mom picks them up for dinner.
The games offer more than locks and keys or combinations, also using electronics as part of the puzzles, Ms. Shtenger said. They have different themes such as “Mysterious Mansion,” “Poseidon’s Jewel,” “Explorer’s Adventure” and “Cannibal Lair.”
Escape Quest will be open seven days a week and reservations, which are required, can be made online at escapequestli.com. Hours vary, as do costs, which depend on group size.
Photo caption: The Poseidon’s Jewel room at Escape Quest. (Kelly Zegers photo)