By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Golfers, video-game players and food-lovers will soon have a new place for parties and simulated gaming when the Grill at the Dome completes its expansion in early 2013.
The popular restaurant and bar, located inside the Paddock Golf Dome on Brompton Road in the town, has taken over the former pro shop’s space, totaling 1,477 square feet.
The expansion will house two banquet rooms and seven simulator gaming systems.
“When this space became open, we started thinking about what we wanted to do with it,” said Josh Edholm, who owns the store with his father, John Edholm Sr. and his brother, John Edholm Jr.
And then John Jr.’s brother-in-law, Erik Lugris, proposed an idea to install game simulators in the space.
The Edholms readily accepted.
“The theory of that business is to make it very family oriented, and more affordable than the other simulation games out there,” Josh said.
Players will be able to take a swing at 18 holes on a number of courses across the county, in addition to many other sports, including baseball, hockey, soccer and even popular, modern video games, like “Halo.”
“They can integrate basically any game,” Josh said. “They use sensors and high speed cameras. They are really state of the art.”
Gamers can also challenge friends in other cities to a game of golf or “Call of Duty.”
“A group of Harvard alumni all across the nation could have a tournament,” Dan Wiles, director of the town’s Youth, Parks and Recreation Department said.
The seven simulators at the site will be managed by Sportzone, a separate company from the Grill at the Dome.
But the Edholms’ restaurant also will be expanding into the vacant space. They are in the process of constructing two private banquet areas that will be separated by a moveable partition wall.
“That can be taken down to create one big room,” Josh said.
The two rooms will hold 58 and 35 occupants, repsectively. The previous banquet space will become part of the kitchen’s storage area.
Construction on the expansion began Nov. 21 and Josh is hoping it will be complete by Jan. 1. Just this week, beams for the new walls were put up for the banquet rooms.
The Edholms, who have lived in the town all their lives, took over the grill in 2000 with no previous restaurant experience.
“My dad has a degree in chemistry, I have a degree in marketing,” Josh said. “But it was always something we talked about, and we knew the previous owner, and he was looking to get out — so here we are.”
The business is in the perfect spot for the Edholms, who are sports junkies themselves. John Sr. is a golf instructor at Medaille College. Josh also golfs, but his passion lies in hockey.
The combination of sports and food at the town’s dome has helped the Edholms’ business boom.
“We have grown a lot,” Josh said. “We have been consistently growing ever year.”
Many regulars stop in for a drink on the weekend, while others eat lunch after a round in the dome, like the Hubmans.
“We come here at least once a week,” Jack Hubman, of the City of Tonawanda said. “It’s a great place to come, meet people and eat ... and the food is good.”Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.