River City Roll – boutique bowling alley set to roll along Boulevard
Rob Long, a former investment banker with BB&T Capital Markets, is leading a team that includes former Jefferson Hotel restaurant director Ben Eubanks to bring a high-end “boutique” bowling alley to a mostly vacant lot between the Boulevard and the Cookie Factory Lofts.
To be called River City Roll, the $5 million project is planned for a 2-acre plot at 939 Myers St., a block east of the Boulevard across from Scott’s Addition. The 25,000-square-foot facility would include 150 parking spaces and replace a pair of dilapidated storage buildings on the site.
Long said he came across the so-called boutique bowling concept – alleys with fewer lanes and an emphasis on high-end food and finishes – in bigger cities while working debt capital raises for some of the country’s largest corporations.
“I lived in San Antonio, Charlotte and Boston, where these concepts were doing very well. Being from Richmond and understanding the market here, I knew this was a concept that could work here,” he said.
“You have so much happening within this vicinity of the city … it just made sense to start this venture here,” said Long, who said his team is eyeing additional bowling alleys locally and nationally. “Given the renewed activity in the city, especially Scott’s Addition, we feel like this model can be very successful in Richmond,” he said.
Long said each lane at River City Roll will be named for a Richmond street or landmark and include leather seating and custom-made tables, where wait staff will deliver drinks and food. Eubanks, a former restaurant director at The Jefferson, is overseeing River City Roll’s food and beverage concept.
“[Eubanks] is very well known for his craft and attention to detail,” Long said. “Our food and beverage options are going to be very memorable.”
The venue will include shuffleboard and Skee-Ball and a stage for live music.