Local bowling alley under new ownership, will eventually include pizza parlor with play area
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IDAHO FALLS – If you’ve driven past Skyline Lanes Family Bowling Center in Idaho Falls recently, you may have noticed some changes.
Mike Nesbitt, the president of Papa’s Pizza group in Eugene, Oregon, recently bought the building.
Andy Snider, the new co-owner and general manager of Skyline, tells EastIdahoNews.com the plan is to remodel it and eventually add a pizza parlor inside.
“Bowling and pizza just seemed like a good business opportunity, so we jumped on it,” Snider says.
Nesbitt worked with Nikki Hugues at Century 21 Greater Landco Realty in Idaho Falls to buy the 15,500-square-foot space April 1. Rich Pottorff and his wife, Ylona Benson, closed the bowling alley at the end of February after more than 20 years of operation.
Snider and his assistant manager and co-owner, Billy Taylor, are busy making minor repairs to the interior and working with the previous owners to learn how to run a bowling alley.
“They’re doing a bunch of necessary cleaning and painting and doing what they can to get the bowling center looking good,” Nesbitt says.
Nesbitt says the bowling center will reopen once the governor’s stay-home order is lifted.
“We’re going to open up in the exact same fashion as it was before it closed down. We’re going to be doing burgers, which we’ve never done before, so that’s going to be a learning curve for us,” Snider says.
They’ll also offer other appetizers and typical “bowling alley food.”
Major renovations — including adding the pizza parlor and play area — will happen at a later date.
“When we do the remodel, we’ll be gutting the interior,” Nesbitt says. “We can’t afford to do the remodel we want to do until we sell some property we bought in Nampa. We originally bought some bare land in Nampa to build a pizza parlor. It turned out it was way too expensive (for what we wanted).”
Commercial property takes time to sell, Nesbitt says, and there’s no way to know how long it will take. He’s hoping to move forward with the project soon.
What is Papa’s Pizza Parlor?
Papa’s Pizza Parlor first opened in 1971 in Eugene, Oregon, and has grown to include five locations throughout Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
“Back in 1971, there wasn’t another Papa’s Pizza anywhere in the valley,” Nesbitt says. “Now even in Idaho, there’s Papa John’s, Papa Murphy’s, Papa Tom’s, Papa this and Papa that.”
Nesbitt says having the word “Papa” in the name of the restaurant gets confusing for customers. He chose Homestead Pizza as the name for the restaurant’s first location in Idaho.
“We wanted to get a name that was unique to us and a better fit for what we perceive as an Idaho-centric theme,” Nesbitt says.
Nesbitt will continue to operate the Oregon locations while Snider and Taylor take charge in Idaho Falls.
The menu at Homestead will include 11 different classic pizzas. There will also be a build-your-own concept, gourmet flatbread and gluten-free options. Appetizers include wings, chicken strips and salad.
Snider says they pride themselves on making all their dough in-house daily.
“We also go after high-quality ingredients and don’t skimp on the toppings,” he says.
Nesbitt says Papa’s Pizza is unlike any other pizza place people in eastern Idaho are used to. The average size of each location is about 10,000-square-feet. It seats up to 400 people and includes a huge play area for kids and an arcade.
“We’ll put out 300 to 400 pizzas in an evening on weekends. For a business that size, we had to have a really big building,” says Snider. “When we decided to expand to Idaho, we were looking at large buildings on large lots.”
The space at Skyline proved to be an ideal spot for what they have in mind, Snider says.
Why Idaho Falls?
Bringing Papa’s Pizza Parlor to Idaho Falls began about three years ago. The growth in the community was one factor that made it appealing, Nesbitt says. The other factor was the people.
“It seems like a city that cares about its people. Everything that we saw made it come across as a good family-oriented city, and that’s what we depend upon,” says Nesbitt.
Skyline opened for business during the 1960s. Pottorff and Benson bought Skyline from the building’s original owners. They declined to offer any comment, but Randy Waters at SVN High Desert Commercial and Century 21 High Desert, who listed the property for sale, says they love the sport of bowling and worked seven days a week. They ultimately sold it because they were ready to retire, according to Nesbitt.
Both Snider and Taylor are grateful for the couple’s help as they take on this new venture. They are looking forward to serving customers and bringing their restaurant concept to eastern Idaho.
“We’re really excited to be here in Idaho Falls. It’s a really new experience for the both of us, but we’re excited to dive in, learn how to run a bowling center and be part of this community,” Taylor says.
Skyline Bowling Center is at 1770 W. Broadway. It will be open seven days a week with varying hours. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and 10 a.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday. Hours for Saturday are 10 a.m. to midnight, and noon until 10 p.m. Sunday.