Aroostook native brings hobby store and restaurant to Caribou

9 months ago

CARIBOU, Maine — Gaming enthusiasts in Caribou have a dedicated gathering space thanks to the city’s newest entrepreneur.

Jordan James, 31, opened Dragon Knight Cafe on May 12. Located in the former Little Nero’s restaurant at 118 Bennett Drive, James sells tabletop and video games, trading cards, Anime and other gaming collectables.

An avid gamer himself, James will offer a free gathering space for those wishing to try their hand at tabletop and card games like Warhammer, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dungeons and Dragons, Pokemon, Commander and Magic: The Gathering.

Dragon Knight Cafe is the only store of its kind between Presque Isle and Fort Kent and the fourth in Aroostook. Andriolf’s Game Supply, known as AGS, opened in Fort Kent in 2021. Shiretown Gaming followed in Houlton in 2022.

Though James lives in Presque Isle, he wanted to give gaming enthusiasts in the Caribou region another retail and hangout space.

“I grew up going to Eagle Hill,” James said, referring to the longtime game and card store in Presque Isle. “I wanted to fill a niche here [in Caribou] and give people something unique to enjoy.”

The Dragon Knight Cafe in Caribou is now the city’s headquarters for video and table-top games and related memorabilia. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

If all goes well, James will soon incorporate the “Cafe” portion of his business.

Pending state license approval, James hopes to begin serving homemade pizza, smash burgers, chicken fingers and wings to both dine-in and take-out customers.

The idea for a combo gaming store and restaurant comes from James’ experiences attending table-top game tournaments outside Aroostook as a teenager.

“There would be no food [at the tournament] and we’d have to go elsewhere,” said James, a Fort Fairfield native.

With the promise of good food and company, James has already seen his new business take off with young gamers.

Dragon Knight’s first tournament, a Commander event featuring gamers from Eagle Hill, brought in 80 people. This month, James will kick off tournaments and league events for Warhammer and Pokemon on a biweekly schedule. 

All tournaments will require a $5 entry fee but daily gaming tables will be free of charge for community members.

The new Dragon Knight Cafe in Caribou will soon have a wall dedicated to famous video game characters, including Pokemon’s Pikachu, thanks to Kiana Puig, 15, of Fort Fairfield. Puig is the niece of Dragon Knight owner Jordan James. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

James’ business already has the support of family, friends and local gaming enthusiasts. His niece Kiana Puig,15, of Fort Fairfield is designing and painting game characters along Dragon Knight’s hallway. So far she has completed the popular Pokemon figure Pikachu.

Friend and longtime gamer Jimmy Steppe of Presque Isle plans to work at Dragon Knight Cafe part time and said the space will be a great after-school option for youth.

“It’s a safe place to explore different hobbies and develop a social group of people,” Steppe said.