“Facebook is literally just going crazy right now,” said Jason Smith, who bought the Harbor East bistro and bowling alley along with business partners Justin and Stacy Naecker. The team had originally planned to open a similar bowling alley in Eldersburg, but decided to purchase the Baltimore location when it came on the market this year. Customers, Smith said, are happy to have them back.
Since taking over, Smith and his partner refinished the cherry wood floors, painted a few walls, and made some modifications to the menu. “It’s basically the same menu,” he said. “We still have the alley wings.”
Located on the 1300 block of Bank St. near Little Italy, the bowling alley will have a soft opening Friday and Saturday, and then general opening beginning Tuesday afternoon, Smith said.
Smith, who also owns two Ledo Pizza restaurants in the area, said he has been inspired by meetings with people from Living Classrooms, an organization that offers workforce development programs to community members.
“I was very hesitant about opening a business here in Baltimore City," he said. But, “Once I met with Living Classrooms ... all my fears and hesitations were completely erased.” In addition to several previous staff members, Smith said he hopes to hire ex-offenders trained through Living Classrooms to work at Mustang Alley’s.
Smith acknowledged that ongoing construction in the neighborhood has posed some challenges for area businesses. “Yeah, it is horrible,” he said, citing the nearby Blue Dog BBQ, which closed this summer. “I think once it’s done it will be for the better.”