Jett & Sons opens in Charleroi

Paul Paterra

There is a new eatery in Charleroi that offers quite a unique experience.

A customer may be shot with a Nerf gun, have a robot dance on the table for tips or be on hand to celebrate the birthday of the restaurant’s patron saint, cartoon character George Jetson.

Jett & Sons Retro-Robo Cafe is open from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 437 McKean Ave. The restaurant had a soft opening Jan. 3 with a grand opening set for whenever schedules can coincide with the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We want people to come here and be entertained,” said Michael Madigan, owner of Jett & Sons. “We’re trying to enhance the dining experience.”

Jett & Sons is known as the world’s first metaverse restaurant. A metaverse is described as a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection.

The seeds for Jett & Sons actually stem from the minds of Madigan’s sons, Jasper, 8, and Jameson, 7.

“This has the magic of a child’s imagination,” Madigan said of Jett & Sons. “(My sons are) always coming up with ideas. They wanted a space age restaurant. It just fell into place. The whole “Jetsons” theme made sense.”

There are eight interactive robots at Jett & Sons, each with different capabilities.

“Some of them demonstrate the different types of technology, voice technology, program technology,” Madigan said. “They all have different nuances. One has the capacity for vision, one has the capacity for listening. Some are remote control. Some are just pre-programmed.”

T9 can dance on command, and of course, will take tips for a dance at the customer’s table. T9 also will perform other duties on command such as transform or open fire.

Miko is the most advanced and can respond to people’s emotions. Madigan said if you yell at Miko, he’ll frown. A smile brings a return smile from the robot.

Madigan has been involved in several eatery ventures, which offer unique experiences, such as food trucks with themes from TV shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Gilligan’s Island.” His onsite catering brands have sorted names such as Snails & Quails, Caravan Carnivorous Connoisseurs and Surf on Turf. Plus, there’s the always moving Vagabond Taco Truck.

Madigan also has a background as a chef and attended the Culinary Institute of America. He said he’s worked “all over the world, from Ireland to Hawaii to Guam and everywhere in between.”

Madigan also said he was a chef on a yacht for years.

Funding for the project was provided by the Mon Valley Alliance Foundation’s (MVAF) Microloan program, designed to help small businesses create and retain jobs, renovate downtown buildings and encourage economic development in the Mon Valley.

“This is a fantastic project for the MVAF with the results of not only creating a new restaurant in Charleroi but also reactivating a vacant building in the heart of the downtown commercial district.” said Ben Brown, CEO of the Mon Valley Alliance Foundation.

The menu includes three types of burgers, which have been his most popular items to date, as well as steak and waffles. Madigan said the beef that is used at the restaurant is raised in Washington County.

There also are three types of doughnuts: the Springfield, with pink icing and sprinkles that are inspired by “The Simpsons;” Orbit City and PB&J.

There’s also an Elroy menu for children named after George Jetson’s boy, Elroy. That menu includes chicken fingers, a personal pan pizza, mini pancakes and macaroni and cheese.

Future plans for Jett & Sons are to not only operate as restaurant but include a virtual meeting and gaming destination on the second and third floors of the building. Small glimpses of the virtual world are on display in the restaurant in the décor.

Also planned in the future – a birthday party for George Jetson, patriarch of the cartoon, “The Jetsons.” George’s birthday is Aug. 22, and on that day, prices will be rolled back to 1962, the year “The Jetsons” series premiered.

“We are paying homage to George Jetson,” Madigan said. “We’re calling him our patron saint.”

It will be quite an experience for anybody who comes to Jett & Sons – especially on a social level.

“We want people to come in and enjoy a wonderful burger and enjoy talking to their neighbors,” Madigan said. “People can come and play with the robots. My children actually want to come here now. When I see the videos of them smiling, I know it’s a winner. If you can get the kids to like the place, then their parents will follow.”

Plus, the customer can probably expect to be shot with a Nerf gun.

“We’ve got Nerf guns all over the place,” Madigan said. It’s a fun atmosphere.”