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Former Vertical chef Tawfik Shehata brings locavorism to new downtown bowling alley

Chef Tawfik Shehata was supposed to be taking it easy after he threw in the apron at Vertical, but the ambitious owners of The Ballroom—a new leisure complex opening in mid-December in the former Montana’s space on Richmond—made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. They want him to create a menu of local, sustainable, serious and seriously whimsical bowling alley food (yes, there will be actual bowling, too). We’re talking suburban classics, like hot dogs and burgers made from cuts of local beef, all ground in-house.

Taking his cue from Brooklyn Bowl, where New York City darling Blue Ribbon Restaurants supplies the top-drawer food, Shehata is finding the challenge irresistibly amusing. “I’m very excited because this is a whole new direction for me. I get to make food that’s fun, bordering on silly, but from the very best local ingredients.”

The final menu is not done, but expect to find buttermilk southern fried chicken made from naturally raised heritage birds, as well as breads and flatbreads made from Red Fife wheat. So far, the bottom line hasn’t interfered with the chef’s vision. “The owners came to me. They hired me because of my philosophy. They know I’m a huge proponent of local and natural, and that’s not going to change.”

  • Culinerd

    I am kinda excited to bowl in the city, Don’t know about seeing shooters in tight jeans and bowling shoes and Afflictions shirts with sideways dumb hats. But good food and bowling in great words of the world F**k yeah!!

  • Susan

    Interesting concept. I think we all have fond memories of bowling at some point in our life. I just doesn’t seem to have the appeal we’d be looking for today so far. However, with tweaking (per article) it may become more of interest to the masses. When you think about it, it’s could be a nice social venue and it’s been so long since mainstream have done it that it could actually be considered new again. With the right atmosphere, I may try it with a group of friends.

  • Anne Place

    Ummmm…sounds delicious and fun!! I might have to try it out! Good Luck!

  • Larry

    Sounds to me like something new is arriving with little or no competition. Won’t be for everyone, but look at the size of the market these guys can draw from. Should be a no-brainer in my view.

  • Emeril

    Food tasted pretty good, but was way over salted. The portions were very small and everything was way over priced. I’ll never go back. Beer was on the warm side.