There has been much online chatter about the price of the hot dog served at Primrose Lanes, a new “restaurant and bowling club” in the Milk District. But there’s been nary a natter about the cost of the crab cake fritters appetizer, which I contend is even more outrageous. But I’ll come back to both in a moment.
Primrose Lanes is the culmination of a multiyear project by Team Market Group (Mathers Social Gathering, The Wellborn) to renovate the former Colonial Lanes, a conventional mid-century bowling facility, into a hip and happening latter-day entertainment and dining facility.
Colonial Lanes was originally to be demolished for a self-storage facility – (don’t we have enough of those? I mean, really, people, start getting rid of stuff) – when TMG took over and stopped the razing.
There is still bowling, but the 32 lanes have been pared down to eight, with much of the rest of the physical plant converted to a bar and restaurant. Some of the old alleys, perhaps in a 21st century recycling mindset, are now tabletops in the dining area.
That’s a nice design touch, as is the archway from the restaurant to the alleys fashioned out of bowling pins. But overall, the facility lacks the panache and class of some of TMG’s other brands. There is a disappointing lack of integration between the bowling area and the restaurant, with the two separated by the bar. It would have been fun to be able to have dinner while watching people bowl, but a high counter cut off the view through the windows behind the bar. You can get a good view if you sit at the bar, or that high counter, but if you’re in the main dining area you could be in any other restaurant.
Albeit a restaurant with a $15 dollar hot dog.
And for the record, it’s a good hot dog, house-made (Jason Campbell is the executive chef), longer than your average wiener and served in a bun similar to what you’d find filled with lobster roll.
At that price, the fries could be included. Instead, they’re an extra three bucks. But when I ordered the fancy frankfurter, the server told me there was a new option: chili and cheese may be added for $5 more. In for a penny, in for 2,300; I said sure.
The amount of chili and cheese added to the hot dog was laughably little. For the extra charge, that hot dog should have been smothered with the stuff.
But then there’s that appetizer of crab cake fritters, which commanded a $19 fee. The four smallish balls were over fried, dry and had undetectable crabmeat amid the dough.
The O.K.C. smashburger my dining companion ordered was good – $18 good? – and had grilled onions and melted American cheese on a heavily seeded bun.
Servers were still finding their way more than a month after opening. Perhaps some additional training would help.
A shoulder injury prevented me from trying the bowling. Maybe the true potential of the facility lies in the full experience. But solely as a restaurant, Primrose Lanes is a bit of a gutter ball.