Austin Ottaway is following a family tradition by opening the Holiday Lounge & Grill in Augusta.
Not that his family has been in the bowling industry, but its history in the entertainment industry dates to when his great-grandfather, Herbert Ottaway, founded Joyland. His father and grandfather own Carousel Skate Center.
“I was actually wanting to buy a Laundromat,” Austin Ottaway said.
That was his business plan, but he confided to a friend that what he really wanted to do is be in the entertainment industry.
That’s when he learned of an opportunity to reopen the Holiday Bowl, which had been closed for a few years.
Ottaway has done extensive remodeling of the 1958 building.
“Pretty much everything in the building is new,” he said.
He has redone it in a retro style and plans a “1960s, ‘Mad Men’-themed lounge and grill.”
Ottaway enlisted the help of former Copper Oven Cafe & Bakery owner Larry Burke.
“I was hired to come up with a concept,” Burke said.
“What Austin hired me to do was to design a theme and then do all the layout and design work for the kitchen and the bar-lounge.”
They plan hoagies, cheeseburgers, wood-fired pizzas and salads.
“We’re going to have delicious food,” Ottaway said. “If the Copper Oven was a sports bar, that’s the food we’re going to have here.”
There will be a dozen lanes at the alley.
“There’s an incredible market,” Ottaway said of the need in that area. “There’s just no entertainment option here in Augusta.”
Ottaway said he already has 400 league bowlers who have signed up, “which is incredible.”
“People are really good out here about supporting local businesses.”
He said the local government is as well.
Augusta Mayor Kristey Williams said the city is excited about Ottaway’s plans for the bowling alley, which opens Saturday.
“He’s re-creating it, but also preserving it,” she said. “He’s trying to really recapture the way it originally was.”
She likes some of the retro elements at the building – for instance, there’s a re-creation of a vintage Sputnik lighting fixture – along with the original refurbished sign.
“So many Augustans wanted to invest in that particular bowling alley, but it had issues,” Williams said. “It just needed somebody that had entrepreneurial passion.”
She said it took passion coupled with resources.
“That’s what the Ottaways brought to the table,” Williams said. “We’re really looking forward to it.”