The Big Lebowski meets the BLT 

For lunch today, I had a BLT, curly fries, a large root beer and nine gutter balls. I'm pretty sure the gutter balls were a direct result of my fingers being greasy from the curly fries. But then, that's a risk you take with the Lunch 'N' Bowl special at Bear Creek Lanes.

The Lunch 'N' Bowl special is exactly what it sounds like: lunch and bowling (two games) for $5.95. Also included in that low, low price are those beauteous rental shoes and ambiance that could never be found at any other $5.95 deal out on the wasteland known as Academy Boulevard. Bear Creek has warm ambiance that can result only from the glow of a burnt sienna color scheme, combined with the fine wood finish on the lanes -- this is a downright homey atmosphere, particularily if you are a fan of the VFW.

Joining me for lunch and the chance to strut his stuff on the lanes was Indy photographer, distribution manager and my current officemate, Scott, who must have been a pro-bowler in a former life. He swears the greasy-finger factor only enhanced his game. Sure. He had soup, anyway.

Though the Lunch 'N' Bowl special is a fairly straightforward deal, there are a few things to consider. First, you must decide the order of events. Do you want to eat and then bowl, bowl and then eat, or eat while you bowl? In retrospect, the simultaneous eating and bowling wasn't such a good idea.

Of course, depending on your meal, you may or may not end up with greasy fingers. While the Bear Creek Lanes restaurant has a rather extensive menu, only certain items were lucky enough to make it as part of the meal deal: grilled cheese and soup or chili, BLT and chips (or fries), chili dog and fries, cheeseburger and fries, chef's salad; each served with a large soft drink or tea.

Truthfully, I had a hard time deciding what to order. I'm not normally a chili-dog fan, but there's something about being at a bowling alley or a baseball game that inspires me to eat things I wouldn't normally think to ingest. I didn't go with the chili dog though, tempted as I was; instead, I went with a BLT on whole wheat and an order of curly fries (they only have curly fries).

It was what you would expect from a BLT; lightly toasted bread, lettuce, tomato and surprisingly crisp and lean bacon. As for the bread actually being whole wheat, it was more like Wonder wheat bread.

Scott, also meat-phobic, had a grilled cheese and bowl of chicken noodle soup. I will say that my BLT was far more substantial than his grilled cheese, which was two pieces of Wonder wheat with two slices of American cheese in the middle. But his soup looked mighty good and, oddly enough, homemade. Thick noodles, chunks of chicken and, possibly, carrots.

Watching the other meals go out, I began to wish I had ordered a burger. The cheeseburgers looked and smelled good. Going by on big, oblong, thick diner-looking plates, the burgers were situated on sesame buns, garnished with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, with a big heap of curly fries surrounding them. Next time ...

The Lunch 'N' Bowl special didn't disappoint by any means. It was low-key, American dining at its finest. The special runs Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. And if you're an early weekend riser, they've got a deal for you, too -- Bowl 'N' Breakfast from 9 a.m. to noon. Bring on the Bloodies.



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