Retro Bowling Alley in Royal Oak to Get New Ownership, 1970s Decor

Detroit News reporter Melody Baetens discusses what will be different at the Royal Oak bowling alley.

Kelly Elliot

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Bowlero Lanes in Royal Oak is being sold to new owners.

Many Royal Oak residents are happy to see the bowling alley survive a redevelopment as well as see a number of improvements to the retro alley including fixing lanes and adding new amenities under new ownership.

Detroit News features reporter Melody Baetens first reported on this story.

WDET’s Ryan Patrick Hooper speaks with Baetens about the new owners and what they have planned for the space.

Baetens says Bowlero was purchased by three people who hope to breathe new life into the classic bowling alley.

Dave Zainea, whose family owns Majestic Detroit and Garden Bowl, and the husband and wife team of Dean and Kelly Elliot.

According to Baetens, Kelly told her people going to the lanes can expect an updated, but still vintage, décor. 

“Think Pan-Am airport lounge circa 1970,” she says. “(Kelly Elliot) said she wants people to feel like they’re stepping into a time machine.”

Baetens points out that it’s uncommon these days for someone like Dave Zainea, who owns property downtown, to invest in a suburban business. 

“The reaction…has been very positive from the Royal Oak community,” she says. “People have memories there. They want it to be a bowling alley.”


  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.