ELMHURST – After a friendship of about 10 years, Brenda Perrone and Jason Martyniuk set out to open a business together: The Room Upstairs.
“We felt there was a niche here in Elmhurst,” Perrone said.
A niche for some creative entertainment in the form of an escape room, which is a timed puzzle that groups can work on together in an attempt to “escape” the room they enter; the doors are never locked, Martyniuk said.
The Room Upstairs, currently, has one puzzle room: Word Mania, which comes in two versions – an “extreme” 60-minute version with lots of “twists and turns” and a 30-minute version, Martyniuk said.
“We like to see people’s reactions when they walk in the room,” Martyniuk said. Perrone said people tend to be surprised when they first see the room since it’s not what they expect. She said it’s fun to see the different teams’ strategic approaches to the puzzle.
Word Mania is for all ages, and it relies on people having general knowledge of subjects such as current events, sports and history, Martyniuk said. They came up with the concept for the room themselves, he said.
“The more diverse your group is, the better chance you have of solving the room,” Perrone said.
Sean Moran, a Lombard resident, tried out the 60-minute version of the escape room with about five other people Sept. 16. It was his first escape room, and the time ran out before they were able to solve the puzzle, he said.
“It was a fun night out … definitely recommend it,” he said.
The Room Upstairs opened Aug. 25 with much help from family, the two said. “Both families have been amazing – a huge support,” Martyniuk said.
Tickets for the Word Mania 60-minute challenge are $27, while tickets for the 30-minute challenge are $20.
Martyniuk and Perrone plan to add a pirate-themed room, Captain’s Quarters, which is scheduled to open this weekend. It will be a more “traditional” escape room style, Perrone said. They also aim to open a holiday-themed room around November.
The venture for the first-time business owners all started with a quick lunchtime conversation, Perrone said.
The Room Upstairs is at 152 N. York St., on the second floor. For details, visit www.theroomupstairselmhurst.com. Children need to be accompanied by an adult, according to the website.