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Shannon Bryan

mainetoday.com editor Shannon Bryan has a fondness for Maine’s peculiar goings on. And helmet cams. There’s definitely a fondness for helmet cams.   Since she arrived in Maine from the Midwest seven years ago, it’s been her mission to experience it all firsthand – from the cardboard boat races to the paddleboard jousting tournaments. With any luck, she’ll persuade you to try it, too.

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Posted: March 2, 2014

Eat & bowl in SoPo: Easy Day restaurant & bowling alley is open in South Portland

Written by: Shannon Bryan - mainetoday.com editor - sbryan@mainetoday.com

The main entrance to the newly opened Easy Day restaurant and bowling alley in South Portland. Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo

There’s a new restaurant in South Portland, and this one has a bowling alley (ten-pin, not candlepin, for those who are wondering). And the view across the water? Yea, that’s definitely worth noting, too.

Easy Day had a soft opening Feb 26, and by the looks of things this weekend, word is out. (The grand opening is March 12.) The space isn’t recognizable from its previous iterations (you may have been in Events on Broadway or Beale Street Barbecue). It’s bright, lively, and open from front to back. Best of all: Huge windows looking out over Portland Harbor and the Portland skyline.

The view from the dining area at Easy Day. This space, adjacent to the bar and bowling alley, allows for quieter dining and private parties up to 100. Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo

The restaurant/bowling alley is owned by Chris Tyll, owner of Pat’s Pizza in the Old Port, who said he’d been considering the idea of a restaurant/bowling alley for a few years. He was just waiting for the right space. He found it right on Broadway just over the Casco Bay Bridge…and then stripped the place “down to the bones,” knocked out some massive windows, moved the kitchen out of the way of the view, and voila.

Looking at the bar toward the 10 bowling lanes. Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo

Tyll said he’s aiming to provide affordable family entertainment for South Portland, Scarborough, and Cape Elizabeth. “It’s a family-style restaurant with an entertainment option,” he said. “A family of four can eat and bowl for less than going to the movies” when you include the high-priced popcorn and soft drinks.

Ten lanes of ten-pin bowling and five really big projector screens, so you can bowl a game without missing the game. Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo

And while bowling alleys are appreciated across the states, Tyll aims to ensure this one has “South Portland, Maine” written all over it – from pictures of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth on the walls to local bread, gelato, and other locally sourced ingredients on the menu.

The seating space (with coffee tables!) at the lanes. Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo

More about that menu: Tyll certainly knows his pizza (see aforementioned reference to Tyll being the owner of Pat’s Pizza in Portland). But at Easy Day, “we’re flipping everything on its head here,” he said. And that includes the pies. Easy Day will serve Detroit-style pizza, where the layers are reversed: Dough, topping, cheese, sauce. Folks who grew up in the Midwest may already know and love this style, and it’ll be interesting to see how southern Maine takes to the idea (to help ensure the pizza is awesome, Tyll even sent his chefs out to Detroit to train with Shawn Randazzo, the 2012 World Champion Pizza Maker).

The “This isn’t an off-the-truck-into-the-fryolator-and-onto-the-plate kind of place,” he said. “It’s all fresh” and it’s locally sourced when possible.

Did I mention the view? Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo

There’s a semi-private dining area for people to eat or where private parties can hang out (the space holds 100) and there are plans to have live music on occasion, shuffleboard, and outdoor seating. The bar boasts plenty of beer, high-end liquor, and a “crazy wine list” that has options for big spenders and the rest of us, said Bonnie Polak, Easy Day’s event coordinator.

On busy nights like Saturday and Sunday, there’s a one-hour limit on the bowling lanes, so everyone who comes in has a chance to bowl. “We’ll never turn anyone away,” said Polak.

The main entrance of Easy Day in South Portland. Shannon Bryan/mainetoday.com photo

Easy Day’s hours are 10 am-1 am every day (kitchen opens at 11 am). Lanes are $30 an hour or $15 for a half-hour, or bowlers can pay $4 per person per game.

And while the lanes were full of bowlers this weekend, Tyll said he thinks it’s something else that will make Easy Day a success: “It all comes down to two things: People and food.”

Easy Day’s grand opening is March 12. For more information, check out the event on Facebook and Easy Day’s Facebook page.

Easy Day has a website, but there’s not much info there at the moment. So, for future reference: easydaysopo.com

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