Park Lanes has been a Myers Park institution since it opened in 1960. For years, legions of Myers Park High School students have hopped 7:30 a.m. buses to bowl there for P.E. classes; later each day, children's birthday parties and then serious bowlers have played the lanes.
Recently, however, while the rest of the real estate on Montford Drive was getting an epicurean makeover during the aughts, Park Lanes remained fairly stagnant. Then new owners Mike Scornavacchi, Adam Williams, Patric Zimmer and Jamie Muir decided to rejuvenate the place and adopt a new name: Ten at Park Lanes.
Now, the interior blazes 1960s retro while the exterior sports three patio areas. The dining area is small inside, with only a few booths, while the patio has a comfortable neighborhood feel. There, groups of friends meet at some tables and families with children gather at others. Dogs are leashed to chairs. Between the tables and curb are sets of cornhole boards. Bocce courts will be added soon.
Ten's eclectic bar list includes local and regional draft beers, bottle beers, a small wine list including a cava by the glass; and moonshine. A chilled moonshine dispensing system has bottles — and, fittingly, mason jars. Many are regionally crafted. Also on the cocktail roster are moonshine martinis and such exotic libations as a jalapeño and bacon-infused moonshine Bloody Mary.
Mason jars also appear on the food menu. As a signature dish, the kitchen layers food in a jar: barbecue, beans and slaw; or prime rib, mac and cheese, and smoked jalapeños. Creative types can use the "build your own" section. Although the jar dishes look tantalizing, they are difficult to manage.
The starter list is less novel. Patrons scarf down crunchy fried pickles and jalapeños while others wrangle heavily fettered onion rings. At times, the familiar gets finessed. The taco sliders — sliders here mean smaller — come with some iffy flavor combos like blue cheese and barbecue sauce on the prime rib.
Better is the tasty pork barbecue, smoked onsite, accompanied by a plate-stealing slaw, which arrives with a covey of sauces, including a mustard-based for South Carolinians, a vinegar-based for North Carolinians, a sweet one, and a sassy Old West-styled cattle drive coffee and chile sauce. The St. Louis ribs, meaty and tender, disappear fast. The menu rounds out with flatbread pizzas skewers, hot dogs and melts.
But when it comes down to it, what you really want while playing a round of cornhole is a cold OMB and a good burger. And Ten has one: the griddled Lucy, a patty of Angus brisket and short ribs. The use of these flavor-packed cuts of beef transforms the patty into a gorgeous, succulent burger that is hard to do in North Carolina (a state law requires burgers to be cooked — and cooked — until 155 degrees). Until the state adopts the FDA national food code guidelines (perhaps later this year) allowing eateries to serve rare and medium-rare (aka juicy) burgers if the establishment prints the potential risk on the menu, there is the luscious Lucy.
Ordering dessert at Ten is weird because it makes it seem as if you have committed yourself to a meal rather than a good time. Ten at Park Lanes, however, offers both.
Ten at Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive, 704-523-7633. Hours: Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. www.rollten.com.