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Suffolk’s first Challenge Escape Rooms location opens in Patchogue

Sweet Shoppe

Here’s your situation: 

You’re part of a competitive baking team, and one of your rivals went all Tonya Harding on you — but instead of a club to the knee, she locked you in a room.

The bake-off starts in 60 minutes and you need to escape in time to cook.

That’s just one scenario being played out inside the new Challenge Escape Rooms Patchogue, which has just opened at 180 East Main Street in the village.

The bakery challenge is called Sweet Shoppe. (Promo poster above.)

Here’s another challenge, which will be ready soon: 

You’re shackled to a wall.

“You’re trying to escape a kidnapper who has put you in this room,” further explained Challenge Escape Rooms co-founder Chris Purcell. “But first you have to figure out how to get out of the shackles before you solve anything else in the room.”

You’re kidnapper will be returning in 60 minutes.

“Some are a bit more anxiety provoking than others,” said Purcell, who lives in Bayside, Queens.

Purcell, his wife, Janice Galizia, and her sister, Lauren Galizia, got the idea to start Challenge Escape Rooms after a similar experience in Manhattan in March of 2015.

“We loved it,” said Purcell. “We knew we wanted to do one in Queens, so we did one in Queens and it branched out from there.”

The Bayside location opened in June 2015. The group now operates four locations, two more in Nassau (Franklin Square and Rockville Centre) and now, Patchogue.

The Challenge Escape Rooms near Burlington Coat Factory in Patchogue is the group’s first in Suffolk. In total, there will be four escape rooms. A new challenge is introduced, and an older one removed, about once every four months.

The trio chose Patchogue Village because of how busy it is.

“We’ve gone in the past and we loved the restaurants and the nightlife,” Purcell said. “It’s similar to our other locations, where you have great restaurants and social activities all around us, and we give the option of just having a different, unique experience.”

Challenge Escape Rooms opened earlier this month for one day in its 1,800-square-foot storefront. It opened again this weekend. The hours moving forward are 5-10 p.m. on Fridays, 2-11 p.m. on Saturdays, and 12-8 p.m. on Sundays.

“We’ll just be open weekends for the first month while we build the other rooms,” Purcell said.

Eventually, Challenge Escape Rooms will be open Wednesday through Sunday.

The owners say their escape rooms attract people of all ages.

“We originally thought it was going to be people in their early 20s and teenagers, but we’ve had a wide range of people, from 60- and 70-year-olds, all the way down to 9 or 10,” Purcell said. “We had teenagers who escaped, but middle-aged people who couldn’t.

“Really it all speaks to your ability to work together as a team, rather than any one person’s intelligence level, and everyone utilizing their own skills,” he continued. “It’s a sense of achievement when you open that door and get out of that room in the nick of time.

“And for the people who don’t get out, they still have a great time.”

Got questions? (We had a lot.) Check out Challenge Escape Room’s list of FAQ’s.

Follow Challenge Escape Rooms Patchogue on Facebook.

Challenge Escape Rooms Patchogue

A promo poster for the Killer Countdown room.

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com