Burgers and Bowling

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

Today is National Cheeseburger Day! With that, we acknowledge that some of the best burgers can be found in the most interesting places.

For example, St. John Burgers located inside Super Flea has what our Northeast News readers voted as the “best burger in Northeast.”

Another example is the grill area in the former space-age All Star Bowl in what is now the CSL Plasma.

Outfitted in what we today refer to as “retro-chic,” the All Star Bowl at 6000 Independence Avenue was all the rage during the 1950s and 60s with its beautiful Space Lounge.

Billed as “Northeast Kansas City’s Family Recreation Center,” the bowling alley offered “24 ultra-modern automatic lanes, complete with Pro-Shop, children’s playroom and featuring the Beautiful Space Lounge.”

A four-foot planet Earth was suspended over the circular bar in the center of the lounge.

Other planets, comets, quasars, rocketships and satellites were hand-painted on the wall’s blue background, making bowlers feel as if they really were in outer space.

Colored lights danced along the walls as if a comet had just passed through the lounge itself.

Belle Shaw, a local “scratch” bowler, went on to become an accomplished professional bowler, after having started her career right here in Historic Northeast.

Back in the day, no fewer than four bowling alleys were located in Northeast: Allen Bowl near Van Brunt and Independence, just down from the Nu-Way Drive In; Northeast Bowl, right behind the historic Fire Station #23 at St. John and Elmwood; Sheffield Lanes, where Car Quest Auto parts is now; and of course, the All Star Bowl.

Leagues were common and neighbors often met five nights a week to bowl against other area teams.

“Double-Dutch” bowling was a game in which one couple bowled against another couple for the “kitty.”

One of the rules was that swear words cost an extra quarter, and whoever won the match got the prize kitty.

The bowling alley has since been closed and was Club Millennium for a few years.

After an extensive overhaul, the building operates as CSL Plasma, a far cry from its campy, former incarnation as the “spaciest” bowl around.

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