Frame of Mind

Photography by John Videler

Lucky thirteen! Nearby Norwalk welcomes the thirteenth location of Pinstripes (pinstripes.com), an “experiential dining-and-entertainment concept.” What does that mean? It means we can now grab friends and family and enjoy a game of bowling or bocce and a table filled with Italian-American cuisine. Drop by the shiny new The SoNo Collection to try-and-taste the first Pinstripes location in Connecticut. Its 26,000 square feet features twelve bowling lanes, four indoor and outdoor bocce courts, and private event spaces that can accommodate from twenty to 1,000 people.

Work up an appetite while having fun at the courts, lanes and event space, then indulge in tasty Italian-American cuisine, fine wines, handcrafted cocktails and an ever-changing selection of craft beers. The menu, with house-made dishes that feature locally sourced ingredients, includes tempting options such as filet mignon,  maple-glazed salmon, wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, salads, handcrafted sandwiches and gelato. Plus, each season brings chef specialties. Pinstripes serves lunch and dinner seven days a week as well as hosting Happy Hours, offering a late night menu and serving filling weekend brunches.

Just as the food is not your standard fare, these aren’t your average bowling lanes—they’ve gone luxe. The bowling lanes and bocce courts are meticulously maintained. Moffly Media Senior Art Director Venera Alexandrova visited on opening night and remarks: “The ball doesn’t roll down the lane, it floats.” Also, forget about plastic seating while waiting your turn. Here you relax in plush sofas and lounge chairs—and your food and beverages are served game-side.

“We are excited to bring Pinstripes’ sophisticated fun to Norwalk,” notes Dale Schwartz, founder and CEO. “Adding to The SoNo Collection’s spectacular shopping, dining, art and lifestyle destination, we will offer a welcoming entertainment experience for the Fairfield County community.”

Pinstripes, Inc., founded in 2007, is headquartered in Chicago and operates locations in Illinois, Minnesota, D.C., Maryland, Kansas, Texas, Ohio and California. It has also announced plans to roll out more venues. Rooted in a nostalgic love of bowling, Pinstripes is about connecting with one another—having fun together, beyond just going to dinner. Schwartz paired bocce and bowling, Italian and American cuisine and wines, and gelato and ice cream. (He came up with the name “Pinstripes” by connecting bowling “pins” with “pinstripe” formal attire.)

For special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, clients work with a team to create customized menus, games and activities that suit their style. They can choose from the flexible-use ballroom, which seats up to 200 guests; one of the private reception rooms; the 3,000-square-foot outdoor patio and fire pit area; or, of course, the bowling lanes and
bocce courts.

Ready to play? Reservations are not mandatory, but recommended. Each bowling lane accommodates up to eight people; each bocce court, up to ten (see pricing online).

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