"The buffet will be about 100 feet long and will extend down that way."
Andrew Pereira, a local entrepreneur, is guiding me through the vast space of a single-story structure that seems to stretch for miles. The building is adjacent to the Thomasville Home Furnishings store at 7227 Edinger Ave. in Huntington Beach, and though it is hot and sunny outside, inside it is cool and dark and small earthmovers are clearing mini-mountains of dirt.
Construction workers are making like busy bees throughout the complex, welding, hammering, sodering and, in general, converting the empty space into something Pereira hopes will help transform the city — or at least this part of the Edinger corridor.
But I ask to ask again. A 100-foot buffet?
I heard right.
Welcome to the extreme (and extremely big) world of Endless Food & Fun (EFF), which opens this fall. The brainchild of Pereira (who lives, along with his wife, Bettina, and two teenage sons, in Huntington Harbour), EFF, by design, will be unlike any other establishment here in Surf City (or any place else, for that matter).
Peeling back the oversized blueprints at a drafting table in the middle of the complex's staging area, Pereira is giddy as he indicates where everything will go.
"This is where 'Delicioso!' will be built — that's our high-end dining establishment.
Then, the buffet extends all the way down there, and it will be bigger than anything you've ever seen in Vegas. The two laser tag arenas are back here, and all of the themed rooms go along this wall."
Looking at it today, it's hard to imagine how it will all look, but it is on track to open in late November, a mind-bending, $4-million family entertainment complex that will cater to just about anyone. But it's especially for families that are looking for a night of affordable fun (and lots of good food).
In its "endless" arcade area, EFF will features the newest and most cutting-edge redemption games available (adjacent to an "endless" gift shop where players can redeem their winnings for prizes).
Once you load up at the endless buffet, guests will be able to sit and eat in an array of places, including the Play Ground Room (for young kids), the Idol Room (where you will be able to play your favorite instrument or sing some karaoke), the Score Board Room (kind of a sports bar environment) or the Surfs Up Room, which will be dedicated to the history of Huntington Beach.
The laser tag arenas, which will be the largest in the state, will incorporate a dizzying number of effects and game-playing opportunities.
"We will be able to divide groups according to age, level of skill and events for birthdays, sports teams, leagues, company team building competitions, whatever we need," Pereira told me. "We'll even be able to play up to 80 players at the same time."
He kept pointing out other areas that will soon take shape.
"In addition to our themed dining rooms, we'll have seven party rooms for birthdays, business meetings, anything," he said.
Next to the games, the food will obviously play a big part in the concept.
"Delicioso! is our chance to compete with the Cheesecake Factories of the world," Pereira said. "So couples can have a nice night out here alone, or while the kids play.
"It will be like a totally separate restaurant, with no noise from the games. And the buffet will feature the freshest foods from all over the world, themed each night for a different cuisine: Mexican, Asian, Italian, and what we think will be the best pizza in Orange County."
On and on it goes, an endless amount of opportunities to eat and play. In the coming months, plans will be revealed for the grand opening parties, exclusive package deals for locals, even limo service for groups within the city that want to come and play.
Pereira told me that as bad the economy is, he believes it's the perfect time for a business like this that will cater to families with "tons of fun and amazing food at very affordable prices."
He will also rely on tourist traffic from all of Orange County during summer, but at its core, EFF will look to deliver to locals first and foremost.
"We live in a beautiful city with many great people," Pereira said over the din of a nearby earthmover. "They deserve this."
For more information, visit http://www.endlessfoodandfun.com.
CHRIS EPTING is the author of 18 books, including the new "Hello, It's Me: Dispatches from a Pop Culture Junkie." You can write him at email@example.com.