SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Sedro-Woolley’s long-vacant bowling alley is up and running again — and with a new Mediterranean café — thanks to a new owner.
Sedro 10 Bowling & Deli Shez Café opened in downtown last week, said owner Elianeth “Ellie” Martinez.
Martinez, who owns coffee roaster Seattle Gold Coffee, said she had no intention of buying a bowling alley. She found the property while searching for a new building for her coffee roasting facility, which she has operated in Sedro-Woolley since 2013.
But when she saw the place, she fell in love with the nostalgia of it — even though she had never been bowling in her life.
In the two years between when she first saw the bowling alley and when she bought it, Martinez said she would walk by the building anxious to see if it was still for sale.
“To me it was something beautiful and unique,” she said.
After purchasing the property in October 2018, Martinez and business partner Kevin Griggs got to work renovating the 1940s-era bowling alley. They kept vintage fixtures and had furniture made out of two of the old bowling alley lanes.
A vintage cash register from the original bowling alley sits on display.
The bowling alley’s restaurant, called Deli Shez Café, includes fare such as gyros and falafel. Martinez operates a location of the restaurant in downtown Seattle.
Martinez said it’s been a busy first week of business.
“(People) come and are amazed by the place,” she said.
Griggs said some patrons have recalled stories of family members who worked at the bowling alley as “pin boys,” where they placed pins in position before automatic pinsetters were common.
The bowling alley was formerly called the Sedro-Woolley Bowling Center and then Fairweather Lanes. Roland “Rollie” Gaines operated the bowling alley starting in the 1950s, according to his obituary.
After a 12-year closure, the alley briefly re-opened as the Community Bowling Center in 2012.
Pola Kelley, executive director of the Sedro-Woolley Chamber of Commerce, said the reopened bowling alley adds a recreation option for residents.
“(It’s a) place to take your family that’s affordable and clean,” said Kelley, who remembers taking a P.E. class at the bowling alley.
Mike Pelch of Sedro-Woolley heard the bowling alley opened and decided to stop by Friday afternoon with niece Autumn Corey, 12, and nephew Jacob Corey, 14, who were visiting from Hood Canal, Oregon.
“It’s something for kids,” he said.
Martinez said it’s rewarding to see the community enjoying the new bowling alley.
“I feel like I did something good,” she said.
Martinez said since taking over the bowling alley, she has learned to enjoy bowling.
“When you throw the ball, the stress goes away,” she said. “It’s very relaxing.”
Martinez said she plans to host a grand opening later this winter.
Sedro 10 Bowling & Deli Shez Café is located at 612 Metcalf St.