Ebey Bowl back in action with new partnership

After taking a break, Ebey Bowl is back in action.

The bowling alley was closed for about a month, and re-opened mid-October.

On Sept. 22, Traci Wisdom received a phone call from Matt Iverson and Mimi Johnson, the siblings who own Ebey Bowl. They asked her if she wanted to become a partner.

The siblings own an Allstate Insurance Company branch in Oak Harbor as well. Between the business in Oak Harbor and the bowling alley, they were not getting to spend as much time with their families, Wisdom said.

By managing Ebey Bowl, it helps everyone out.

Wisdom worked at Oak Bowl & Mario’s Pizza and managed the kitchen for six years. She said John Youngsman taught her how to run a kitchen when he worked there, and the owners Thomas and Kathy Cockrell showed her how to run a business

That experience gave her the confidence to take on this project.

“I’ve always wanted to have my own diner, and something to call my own,” Wisdom said.

Wisdom and her husband, Gary, are now partners with Iverson and Johnson.

And Wisdom has been busy since re-opening.

The menu at EB’s Diner in Ebey Bowl has changed some, but Wisdom is keeping old favorites. She added all-you-can-eat fish and chips on Sundays and created a build-your-own burger menu.

The bowling alley still has the same features customers love — the old Pac-Man and Donkey Kong video games, as well as the old Brunswick pin setting machines.

The business is rich with history, opening in November 1959 after Bill and Anne Engle decided to give their barn a makeover.

“This is what people like. It’s got one of those feelings that takes people back to their childhood,” Wisdom said.

Wisdom  graduated from Oak Harbor High School and has been friends with Iverson and Johnson for a while. When she got her drivers license at 16, she actually bought her insurance through their dad. When they first took over Ebey Bowl in 2010, she helped them put together their menu, and taught them everything she knew from her previous experiences.

“We’re just one big happy family,” Wisdom said.

After high school, Wisdom joined the Army military police and served in Virginia for 10 years. She moved back to Whidbey Island in 2002 to be closer to friends and family.

Winter is the busy time at the bowling alley, Wisdom said. The weather isn’t as nice outside, and the sun sets sooner. League bowling started Nov. 7 and is every Thursday for 12 weeks not counting holidays. It’s non-sanctioned, Wisdom said, so bowlers play for fun and of course for bragging rights.

A new addition to Ebey Bowl’s offerings is karaoke.

The first karaoke night is 7-11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15.

Wisdom said she is excited because it will be family friendly. Children will be encouraged to participate.

“If a 5-year-old kid wants to sing, ‘I’m a Little Teapot,’ she can do that if she wants to,” Wisdom said.

Wisdom said her goal is to make Ebey Bowl a place where families and community members want to come and enjoy.

“It’s all about giving families a nice, fun place to go.”