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Published: Wednesday, 3/16/2005

Toledo bowling center to yield to restaurant

Ottawa Lanes, across Talmadge Road from the Franklin Park mall, is to close almost exactly 46 years after it opened. Ottawa Lanes, across Talmadge Road from the Franklin Park mall, is to close almost exactly 46 years after it opened.

Avid bowlers have a month left to enjoy Ottawa Lanes on Talmadge Road, which is slated to close April 16 to make way for a ribs restaurant.

The Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill restaurant chain, based in Orlando, Fla., plans to open a Toledo location on the site of the bowling lanes, which have been operating in the same location since the first week of April, 1959. A Smokey Bones on Dussel Drive in Maumee opened last spring.

The appeal of the location for the restaurant chain, said a company representative, is that it is across Talmadge from the expanding Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park mall. The restaurant is owned by Darden Restaurants Inc. of Orlando.

The bowling center's closing will occur almost 46 years to the day after it was opened by James Nopper, who said at the time he patterned the operation after developments in Florida and California.

Through the years, the bowling center has been home to a number of leagues, and the decision to sell was not an easy one for Mr. Nopper, said John Healey, who works for Park West Development Inc. in Sylvania Township, a company that helped broker the deal.

"Part of the reason that motivated him into selling was that he was so drastically impacted by the smoking ban in Toledo," Mr. Healey said. The anti-smoking law has since been loosened.

Mr. Nopper could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr. Healey would not comment on the selling price for the two-acre site but said the closing will occur next month.

Demolition is to begin June 1 and the restaurant, a spokesman said, is to open by the end of the year.

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