Meet Casey Linthicum, a Columbia mom of two kids under two, McDonald’s franchise Owner + Operator turned owner of GameOn bar+arcade!
After selling her McDonald’s franchise in 2021, Casey wanted to create a fun place for adults (and kids until 8pm!) to hang out that wasn’t just sitting at a bar drinking. Located in a 110-year-old brick building on West Street, GameOn Annapolis has nostalgic arcade games, craft beers, signature cocktails, karaoke rooms available for rent, and kid + adult party packages!
Last year, GameOn bar+arcade was nationally ranked in the Top 21 Best Arcades in the United States!
Casey shares her nighttime #momhack to make her mornings easier, her best advice for mom guilt, and the one thing people are surprised to know about her!
Tell us a little bit about you and your family! Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in the area?
Hi! My name is Casey Linthicum and my husband Eli and I have 2 kids – our son is 3 and our daughter will be 2 in 2 days (January 19th)! People aren’t kidding when they say 2 under 2 is a little cray cray! My husband Eli also has an older son, who also has 2 little kids so technically I’m a Grandmom! Eli and I are both from Howard County but we didn’t meet until we were adults.
You and your husband own GameOn bar+arcade. How did you get to your career today? Tell us how you started it all!
Honestly, it’s so crazy where we are today! In my early 20s, I moved to LA and worked as a Marketing/Events Manager for a popular nightclub. A few years later I moved back to Maryland and went to work for my Dad (a McDonald’s Owner/Operator). I went through an extensive training program until I became an approved McDonald’s Owner/Operator myself! When my Dad decided to retire he asked if I wanted to buy more of his McDonald’s stores or sell and do something else and boom! Lots of hard work later here we are.
This sounds like such a fun job – tell us everything! What can we expect when we come to GameOn bar+arcade? What other events, classes, etc. do you have to offer?
We wanted to create a fun place for adults to hang out that wasn’t just sitting at a bar drinking. What could be better than arcade games and fun cocktails?! We have Skeeball Leagues, Graffiti & Martini classes (our spin on a sip n paint class), and a Wine College to name a few. We also have lots of theme parties (such as 90’s parties), vintage pop-up events, and an annual Adult Prom every March!
We offer kid birthday parties where parents can also have a blast and get to feel like a kid again themselves! Think pizza, tokens, sodas, 21+ Capri Suns for the parents, a private room, and more!
There are GameOn locations in Annapolis and Baltimore with a 3rd location opening THIS WEEK on Friday 1/19 in Howard County! It’s located in the Merriweather District in Columbia. Doors will open at 4pm and we’re doing a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5pm with County Executive Calvin Ball.
GameOn bar+arcade was nationally ranked last year in the Top 21 Best Arcades in the United States! It was such an amazing experience to receive such an honor. We have a super fun concept and an AWESOME team! We have been so fortunate to have such amazing people working with us at all of our locations. I would especially love to give shoutouts to Nick (Operations Manager), Amity (Assistant General Manager at GameOn Annapolis), Jimmy (aka @jimbo_the_artgod), and Mac (Facilities Manager) for all they do for our team and brand.
Are kids allowed to come play? Do you have any advice for us before we come play?
We wanted to create a fun place that we could hangout with our kids but that is adults-only late-night. Kids are allowed and encouraged (accompanied by an adult) until 8pm!
All ages are appropriate – I had a 2-month-old when we first opened (crazy!) and would bring her to work strapped to my chest quite a bit! Our 3-year-old has gotten ridiculously good at pinball and our nephew had his 9th birthday party here!
Just come to have an awesome time! We make everything super easy – we have an ATM and coin machines onsite, pizza, drinks, and super friendly staff!
How has your job shifted your perspective of Motherhood?
Time. Management. My husband and I both juggle so many things so having a great support system and being really strict with our time has been key. Also, I’ve realized that every once in a while I need to have some time just for me and that I don’t need to feel bad about it.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
After college, I was a wildland firefighter in Colorado for a year.
What’s something you love that’s just for you?
I work part-time helping people who are struggling with homelessness. Inspiring and motivating people to be the best they can be is my true passion in life. I would be a motivational speaker but I hate public speaking!
Best mom hack that makes your life easier.
One time my friend Dawn told me “nighttime Casey needs to be nice to morning Casey” and honestly those are words to live by! If I take 20 extra minutes to get my life together at nighttime for the next day, everything is a whole lot easier. It’s definitely a struggle to do this sometimes though!
Name something you hope your children look back and remember about their childhood and you as their mama.
I hope they remember lots of laughs and love! I hope they remember me as being a hardworking mama with a great enthusiasm for life and so much love for them.
What’s your favorite family activity to do in the area?
Hang out on the beach and playgrounds at Sandy Point!
What have you learned from your children?
Not to sweat the small stuff (still a work in progress)!
Greatest gift about being a mom.
Seeing my kids happy.
Best advice for mom guilt.
Ahh mom-guilt. The worst. I mostly have this when I work super long hours for multiple days in a row – like right now since we’re getting ready to open our 3rd GameOn location this week (January 19th in Columbia)! I’ll try to do one-on-one time with my kids even if it’s for a quick amount of time. For example, I’ll go grocery shopping super early in the morning with my almost-2 year old since she’s up anyways haha and then I’ll do puzzles with my son before putting him to bed at night. And then I’ll try to take them to a half or full day activity once a week – like a big playground or zoo or something like that.
Who has most influenced you to be the mom you are today?
My friend Dawn Beauchamp, another entrepreneur, is an amazing mom to her two daughters who are in middle and high school. I really look up to her as a mom, how she teaches them right from wrong, to be strong and independent women, and to be just overall great human beings. You rock Dawn! Thanks to my mom Becky, mother-in-law Jane, and my kids’ godmother Nancy – you’re all super amazing rockstars and I couldn’t do motherhood without you!
GameOn bar+arcade is the ultimate hangout spot for anyone who loves games and good times! The arcade house offers a fun and lively atmosphere, where patrons (and kids accompanied by an adult until 8pm!) can enjoy a variety of classic and modern arcade games, along with other indoor and outdoor games. There is a full bar with all your favorite beers, wines, and spirits. Book your next party, rent out one of the karaoke rooms or just swing by for some fun!
Visit three of the GameOn bar+arcade locations:
We love to support local businesses! What are your favorite local places to:
Get coffee: 49 West Coffeehouse
Go on a date night: Luna Blu
Go out for a girl’s night: Caliente Grill
Go out to dinner as a family: Pit Boys
Get your hair done: my hairdresser friend cuts my hair at her house sorry! 😬
Shop for your kids: Zara at Westfield Annapolis Mall
Have fun as a family: GameOn of course!