ANGELINA MARTIN/209 Business Journal
Hayden Hayward bowls at the new Ten Pin Fun Center’s opening day.

Just under two years after its construction began, the Ten Pin Fun Center in Turlock opened its doors in May.

Turlockers and visitors from surrounding communities laced up their bowling shoes and hit the lanes when the heavily-anticipated, 62,000 square foot family entertainment center welcomed its first patrons.

“We’re really excited to see this bowling alley open. This is a commercial building that was one of the most complex projects over the past two decades here in the city of Turlock, so it took a lot to bring everything together,” Ten Pin Public Information Officer Gary Soiseth said. “We’re hoping that the whole Turlock community comes out and checks it out, that they’re understanding that we’re getting this off the ground, and that they come and just have fun and share the excitement that we have for this project.”

It’s been a long time coming for a bowling alley to find a home in Turlock once again. Turlock bowlers last had lanes in their hometown back when The Gardens (formerly known as Divine Gardens) closed in 1997. The Ten Pin Fun Center was originally approved by the Turlock City Council in 2010 and slated to be constructed on Monte Vista Avenue across the street from Stanislaus State, but the project fell through in 2014 and never materialized due to a lack of financial backing.

Then, the development was picked back up again by a group of local investors, with construction beginning at its new location on Countryside Drive in July 2017. Since then, community members have watched in anticipation as its opening is delayed time after time. The bowling alley was originally expected to be completed in February 2018 at the latest, but then it was announced that August would be the month. From there, the opening date was pushed back to December until ultimately the Journal was told Turlock residents could expect a spring opening.

Now the $18 million project is complete, save for the center’s 10,000 square foot laser tag attraction, which should be up and running soon, Soiseth said.

Turlock resident Thomas Higlesias wasted no time in getting his family down to the Ten Pin Fun Center on Tuesday afternoon, eager to be among the first to bowl on the state-of-the-art lanes.

“We heard it would be open today, so as soon as the kids got out of school, we picked them up and we ran over here,” Higlesias said. “We’ve been waiting for something like this for the kids for years, ever since construction started…Turlock was missing this.”

While Turlock already has a booming downtown with several entertainment options, Soiseth believes residents haven’t seen anything like what Ten Pin is prepared to offer.

“It’s going to take it to the next level. There is no facility like this from Manteca to Merced,” Soiseth said. “We’re very happy that these local investors decided to pour their resources and time and dedication into this center.”

The two-story facility features 34 bowling lanes — eight of which are located in the alley’s separate VIP room known as the “Back 8,” which can be privately rented out for parties and get togethers. The Ten Pin Fun Center arcade features 60 games for children and adults alike, who can also keep themselves busy at one of the outdoor bocce ball courts.

Ceres resident Russell Hayward brought his son to bowl on Tuesday, and was excited about the space just minutes down the road from his home that would provide excitement for his whole family.

“The kids can have fun and the parents can have fun, so we’re down for this,” he said. “I was curious to see how the inside would look, and I think my son was more excited about the arcade.”

Turlock’s new bowling alley will also have a full-scale restaurant, known as Deadwood Social. General Manager and Director of Food and Beverage Robert Provencio said the restaurant’s name came from a Facebook contest and represents a well-known bowling term.

“Deadwood means when there’s a pin that’s knocked over and it doesn’t get cleared, so if you really think about it, the entendre involved in having a restaurant inside of a bowling alley is almost like deadwood,” Provencio said. “It’s just a little play on words and it’s fun…the whole idea is to make this a social environment.”

Deadwood Social will serve everything from wholesome “bowling” food like chicken strips and fries to culinary masterpieces such as slow-cooked ribs and New York steaks, creating every menu item from scratch thanks to locally-grown ingredients. The restaurant and bowling alley hired locally, too, providing 125 jobs to local residents and Stanislaus State graduates.

“We’re trying very hard to source as close to Turlock as we can. It’s awesome because we actually serve the growers, and we serve the workers and people who own the land,” Provencio said. “My goal is to have this whole area support us, and the fact that we’re local…there’s a certain amount of pride in that.”

Local businesses like Dust Bowl Brewing Co. have also jumped in on the fun, brewing Ten Pin Fun Center its very own beer to serve on tap: The Ten Pin 99. Provencio describes it as a light, refreshing beer, and the title combines Ten Pin’s name with the number of the nearby highway as well as the number of calories in each serving. Another brew, a dark ale called the Deadwood, was also created for the restaurant by Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. of Fresno.

While enjoying a beer, diners can catch sporting events on one of the many television screens in the restaurant, and those who prefer a bird’s-eye view can take in the entertainment center from the windowed “Sky Lounge” on the second story.

With a capacity of 1,300, both Soiseth and Provencio expect Ten Pin Fun Center to be a packed house. Patrons can park in the Ten Pin Fun Center parking lot, and overflow parking is permitted in the lots of surrounding businesses like Hobby Lobby and Lowe’s. Guests can bowl, eat and hit the arcade beginning at 11 a.m.

“There’s been a lot of anticipation for this place all day, every day,” Provencio said. “I just can’t wait because I really think it’s worth the wait.”

The Ten Pin Fun Center is located at 3700 Countryside Drive, and the facility’s hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Monday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Walk-ins are welcome, but to reserve a lane or book a party, visit www.tenpinfun.com.