Owners of Twain’s purchase Suburban Lanes Bowling Alley

Posted by Dena Mellick May 28, 2015
Bowler Regina Mansfield came to Suburban Lanes the final day before the bowling alley closed. Photo by Dena Mellick

Bowler Regina Mansfield came to Suburban Lanes the final day before the bowling alley closed. Photo by Dena Mellick

This story has been updated.

By Dena Mellick, Associate editor

Suburban Lanes Bowling Alley, once in danger of closing permanently, has been sold to new owners.

What’s more, those owners are quite familiar with doing business in Decatur.

Ethan and Uri Wurtzel and General Manager Ben Horgan own Twain’s Brewpub & Billiards. They announced on the pub’s website that they have acquired Suburban Lanes.

The announcement, entitled “Twain’s is going bowling,” says the remodeled bowling alley will reopen in the fall. It goes on to say, “The bowling alley has been a longstanding fixture in Decatur and we look forward to carrying it into the next phase of its history as a funky bowling center that recreational bowlers and league enthusiasts will love.”

Decaturish asked Uri Wurtzel how the purchase came about.

“We heard and we read Decaturish as part of that, your stories about how the Walkers were looking at the end of their lease and were hoping to find a buyer for it. It was at the time when we had been exploring some other opportunities in terms of opening up another place,” Wurtzel said.

“The more we thought about it, the more it made sense as something that shares a lot with our current establishment. With Twain’s, it’s kind of a place to hang out, there’s more to do than just have some food and drink. We just started running with it and exploring the idea, and here we are.”

Thomas Walker Jr., and his wife Trisha, owned Suburban Lanes, but lost their lease during the Suburban Plaza renovations. They petitioned for the bowling alley to stay in Suburban Lanes and had been looking for a buyer.

The bowling alley closed earlier this month, and the Walkers said at that point that there was an interested party, but nothing had been finalized.

The Walkers’ attorney also confirmed Thursday that the bowling alley had been sold.

Wurtzel said that he and his partners have purchased all of the existing bowling equipment.

He also said the bowling alley will get a new name, but one has not been decided upon.

The website announcement said the new bowling alley will “offer a vibrant food and beverage program featuring craft beers, a full bar, hand tossed pizza, burgers and plates designed for sharing. As at Twain’s we will be committed to using locally sourced goods whenever it’s possible.”

Wurtzel said, “In terms of food, one major difference between Twain’s and the bowling alley will be is that we’re going to feature hand-tossed pizza. That seems to be something that goes along well with the bowling crowd and for parties.”

He said they are just finishing up architectural plans which will include building out a full kitchen and bar. But there will still be space for other games, including “a billiards table or two,” Wurtzel said.

Wurtzel also said his team has been in touch with the many bowling leagues that had a home in Suburban Lanes, including several senior leagues. “It makes a lot of sense for us to keep those leagues,” he said.

Additionally, there are plans to see if former employees will return to the new bowling alley.

“It’s been closed for a month, and we’re not sure if everyone who worked there before will still be interested and available, but we are pursuing that because they know the place,” said Wurtzel.

The redevelopment of Suburban Plaza by Selig Enterprises had a rocky start with community groups fighting the proposed Walmart, but eventually backing down.

The Walmart is now well under way, and Bill Stogner, Senior Vice President with Selig Enterprises,  said it will open this fall. Stogner said other anchor tenants include Ross, Home Goods, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, and LA Fitness.

Other businesses are expected to open in early 2016.

About Dena Mellick

Dena Mellick is the Associate Editor of Decaturish.com.

View all posts by Dena Mellick

  • Scrotum Repair

    This is awesome! One thing I disliked about bowling was poor beer and even poorer food.

    • underscorex

      I always enjoyed Suburban Lanes and I don’t mean to insult the people who ran it, but they had the worst dad gum pizza I have ever eaten.

  • burn out

    wow! some good news for once.

  • underscorex

    “Twain’s Lanes”?

    (Wonder how the beer will work? Will they have to go through the three-tier system to sell their own beer at their own bowling alley? Can this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and gets the damn distributor system out of the way? Please?)

    • Ben Horgan

      Yes, if we wanted to have beer from Twain’s at the lanes it would have to go thru the distributor, and we would be paying a premium on our own product! While we do hope to have some of our beer over there, we often can’t keep up with our own demand at Twain’s! But no matter what we will have a great line up of beers on draft and in the bottle!

      • underscorex

        That is utter garbage. Maybe this will be one of the levers folks can use to break down the distributor system a bit – it’s insane that y’all would have to keg the beer, sell it to a distributor, truck it out to the warehouse, truck it back to the bowling alley, and then pay the distributor for it – as opposed to just throwing a couple kegs in the trunk and driving them a mile and a half.

  • Darren


  • Nicki Salcedo

    I prefer to bowl terribly as close to home as possible! So excited.

  • Frankly

    At last! There will be ONE local business in this strip of same-ness! And thanks to the Twain’s folks for keeping bowling available.

  • Daniel San

    How can it be that former owner ‘lost’ the lease but the new owners will still presumably be there in a lease? Not trying to be nosy…. just trying to understand the business side of it. I would think the rent went up due to the renovations. So does he just mean that he didn’t want to sign a new lease at that rate?

    • Teri Henderson

      No, if I recall the deal right, the company taking over the strip wanted the center to sign a really long lease that the current then owner was not willing to commit to. This is possible bad for other bowling centers ‘banking’ on the center closing.

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