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‘Escape room’ planned for vacant downtown storefront

A Flanders man is proposing to bring an “escape room” — a popular puzzling team game — to downtown Riverhead.

Saulius Truncinskas plans to open Escape Quest, a mystery game in which teams of players solve a series of puzzle using clues and hints hidden throughout the room to unveil the secret plot within the space and “escape” the room,” according to a staff report on the business’ special permit application. He is applying for a special permit to allow an indoor recreation use in DC-1 zoning.

Mr. Truncinskas said the game, which will fill a vacant storefront just west of Griffing Avenue, will be another option for fun in town.

“There’s like nothing to do in Riverhead,” he said after Riverhead Town Board discussed the application at Thursday morning’s work session. “Only two options. You go to the bar or you go to the gym. That’s it.”

Escape rooms have seen a rise in popularity in recent years, according to the staff report. Mr. Truncinskas, who has played the game a few times himself, said they are showing up “all over the world.” The nearest businesses of this kind are located in Yaphank and Ronkonkoma.

Mr. Truncinskas said at the work session that the plan is for every game to have two rooms.

“You enter one room, you search for clues, you get to the second, so you’re halfway out,” he said. “Then there are more clues and you get out.”

Escape Quest will allow teams of two to six players and there will be a time limit of one hour to escape, Mr. Truncinskas said. He said he would like to open as soon as possible. The cost to play could be about $20 per person, but that is not a final price, he said.

Riverhead planning aide Greg Bergman said the Planning Department did not have reservations on the plan.

“They think it’s a good use of a vacant storefront,” he said. “It attracts people to the downtown area within walking distance.”

The Town Board, too, expressed interest in the idea.

“All good things happening in downtown Riverhead,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

Photo caption: Escape Quest plans to bring a new purpose to a vacant building on Main Street in Riverhead. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)

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