2009-11-11 / Restaurant of the Week

Gazette Entertainment Spotlight • Nov. 11, 2009

Y ou wouldn’t expect to read about a bowling alley in a restaurant column but then there's much more to the story of Astoria Bowl than meets the eye. Let's begin with owner Perry Poulos, an Astoria native, who spent his childhood attending St. Demetrios School and bowling on his high school

team at Maric Lanes. Poulos went on to study at

Queens College and New York University and later enjoyed a successful, 30-year career in banking and finance and sat as managing director of a major financial institution on Wall Street. Poulos, an avid bowler with a 195 average, heard that his beloved bowling alley was up for sale and that’s the beginning of the rest of the story that will end with a good meal!

Astoria Bowl is a 25,000 square foot entertainment center and Poulos is renovating every inch of it. Its 28 lanes are all being renovated, with state-of-the-art synthetic wood lanes, glow in the dark gutters and high tech scoring, lighting and bowling ball sizing systems. Everything from floors to

ceilings is being changed, including restrooms, the bar, the pro shop, the carpeting, the ceiling tiles and paint, all in preparation for their Grand Opening at the beginning of December.

There will be a sports lounge with large screen televisions to view your favorite games, as well as a fully stocked bar, arcade games and delicious food. Astoria Bowl is a great place for a birthday party, especially for the kids who will love the pizza, chicken fingers and fries. On the upper level, a private room accommodates up to 70 for a business function or private party with catering service.

Poulos and his lovely wife Elaine wanted to give back to the community they still call home. Indeed Astoria Bowl plays host to dozens of bowling leagues, such as the Filipino league that's been bowling here for 40 years. The St. Demetrios league, the Tuesday morning seniors league, the youth league and the handicapped league all pledge their loyalty here. Astoria Bowl donates a considerable sum when it hosts fundraising events for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and many other community-based organizations. The “lounge-set and hipsters” will love “Cosmic Bowling” on Friday and Saturday nights from 11pm until the wee hours. The lights go down and the lanes glow with special light effects and cool music. Food and drinks flow from the restaurant and bar and everyone has a great time, close to home. “More than anything,” said Perry, “This is a family place in a family neighborhood and a social gathering point for many in the community.”

After bowling a few games, you’re probably good and hungry. Well, Vesna, a 15-year veteran at the lane, makes her own recipes that taste just like home. Her repertoire goes well beyond the ubiquitous hot dog and hamburger plate with fries,

though those are great too! From the sparkling new, stainless steel kitchen come some of her delicious handmade creations such as beefy meatballs with baked ziti, lasagna layered with cheeses and rich tomato sauce and home style meat loaf, to name a few. Shrimp scampi with spaghetti is one of my favorites and few can resist juicy sausage and peppers with rice. Start your own Family Bowling Night and enjoy a meal of fresh, juicy roast beef with mashed potatoes and vegetables, or my version of comfort food; roasted chicken with oven-roasted potatoes.

House made soups hit the spot and include split pea, chicken noodle, chicken rice, vegetable and clam chowder on Fridays. Pair these soups with one of their hearty sandwiches for a satisfying lunch, dinner or late night meal. Pastrami and corned beef are piled high on fresh bread, or choose among the fresh wraps of the day. For an appetizer, or an anytime snack, try the mozzarella or zucchini sticks, which the kids will eat up. Kids also love the spaghetti and meatballs and parents love the affordable prices. Astoria Bowl will happily cater your party in the lounge or in the private room on the upper level. Plan your next business or fundraising event here too, and there is plenty of free parking just outside. For wholesome family fun, trendy Cosmic bowling on weekend nights, good food, drinks and a very friendly atmosphere, visit Astoria Bowl, which is open now, and getting ready for its Grand Opening at the beginning of December. Watch the Gazette for details. So, don’t be a “turkey”…make a “strike” at Astoria Bowl.

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