Historic downtown Fayetteville building to debut this month as new entertainment venue

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 2,078 views 

The historic UARK Bowl at 644 W. Dickson St. in downtown Fayetteville is wrapping up a transformation for new business.

A news release from GMS Group, an entertainment marketing/PR firm based in Fayetteville with offices in Little Rock and New Plymouth, New Zealand, says the owners are developing the 9,000-square-foot venue into a restaurant, bar and sporting lounge called The Leroy Pinhouse & Sporting Lounge. It’s scheduled to open later in May, but a specific date was not disclosed.

An investment group led by Fayetteville developer Ted Belden and Conway businessman Todd Ross owns the UARK Bowl, which was built in the late 1940s as a bowling alley. According to fayettevillehistory.org, the bowling alley was removed in 1978 when the space was converted into shops and called the Boardwalk. The building was remodeled in 2000 to include condominiums on the upper floors and a large meeting hall on the main floor.

Belden and Ross own the business (pronounced La-ROY). The ownership group includes a third partner “with a historic attachment to the city.”

“His name is indeed Leroy (pronounced LEE-roy), a Fayetteville native whose last name we’ve promised not to reveal,” Belden explained in the news release. “He left here long ago, made quite a fortune in all sorts of off-the-wall ventures, and now just sort of travels the world living the good life.”

According to the news release, Ross said Leroy approached them with the idea a few years ago.

“He’s been very persuasive about opening a unique lounge here,” Ross said. “And he’s been exceptionally particular about every aspect of the place that will bear his name, so we took some time to get it right. The UARK Bowl was a good fit but had to be completely remodeled to showcase his vision.”

Good Gravy Group will operate the facility. The hospitality company, led by managing partners April Seggebruch and Stan Zylowski, operates several Northwest Arkansas brands, including Tusk and Trotter, The Bend, Butcher and Pint, High South Catering and Trash Ice Cream.

The owners said the venue will have a distinct menu crafted by a renowned California chef in partnership with Northwest Arkansas chef Rob Nelson. They also offer custom cocktails, four duckpin bowling lanes, and two sports simulators for golf, shooting, hockey, soccer and more.

The venue also has a dart competition area, two lounges with large HDTVs, and video games. The ambiance is described as a blend of neo-industrial and classic Vegas vibes.

“It’s quite a new concept, one that we feel will be quickly adopted by people looking for an elevated entertainment experience,” Belden said. “Actually, most of the design, menu and gaming ideas came from our third partner.”