Owner Jeff Taylor demonstrates feather bowling. Photo Dave Gorgon

World of Games to open this month in 20,000-square-foot facility

DAVE GORGON

World of Games, which combines unique entertainment in a bar and restaurant setting, is scheduled to open this month in an expansive 20,000-square-foot facility in the Southgate Shopping Center.

The new family-owned and -operated business at 13751 Eureka Road will feature a number of games, such as ax throwing, smash bowl and feather bowling, under the same roof.

An anticipated earlier opening was delayed by previous orders of the Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Downriver-based Taylor family is ready to begin welcoming the public during a “soft opening” on July 29 with a grand-opening party to follow on Labor Day weekend.

Members of the sports-oriented Taylor family said their goal has been to provide a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience in the Downriver area. Jeff Taylor, who came up with the concept and will handle most of the day-to-day operations, said the facility will feature affordable “Downriver pricing.”

“You always see venues pop up in places like Royal Oak, Auburn Hills or Downtown Detroit,” Taylor said. “Now residents of Downriver don’t have to drive far to have fun with a group of friends or family members.”

Taylor’s mother Kathy, who works at a travel agency, learned of the site’s availability and recommended it for the venture. There has been plenty of work to do on the building, combining space that used to house the All-American Buffet and a Fashion Bug store. Her husband Ken has been overseeing the construction.

Photo by Dave Gorgon

“We live in Brownstown,” Kathy said. “My husband and I grew up in Allen Park. We wanted to stay Downriver… We’re right in the heart of the Downriver area.”

Jeff Taylor said the family has made a huge investment in funds and time in the nearly 1½-year project, but the result is eagerly anticipated by area residents based on comments posted on the World of Games Facebook page.

“One thing we really like about it when you walk in you can see everything,” Taylor said. “It’s so open. I set it up like that by design. I don’t like hidden corners. You walk in and you can see everything.”

“Everything” includes, but is not limited to:

● Hundreds of places to sit or stand at tables and counters while enjoying food and beverages and watching sports on televisions. There are two full-service bars and there will be outdoor dining available as well.

The menu will include specialty items, including “unique and different” WOG (World of Games) Dogs, cooked and served in a hand-held sub-style bun that gets toasted from the inside out and served with “fixings.”

There will be nachos and cheese and salsa, and the menu will expand in time.

● The games. They’re everywhere. And most are designed for groups of up to 10 or 12, although there is no minimum number of players needed.

Just to the right of the main entrance is a series of cages containing large targets for ax throwing under the supervision of “ax masters,” who are in charge of “keeping it safe, teaching how to play the game and making it fun,” Jeff Taylor said.

Taylor said ax throwing seems to be getting the “most traction” from people who have followed the process leading to the opening. 

The price for ax throwing is the same — $85 to $100 an hour – whether there are two people or 10 players dividing the cost. Anyone 18 or older can play, although people as young as 16 can play if accompanied by an adult.

Along the north end of the facility are dozens of games of “smash bowl,” a high-bred football bowling game in which teams of players throw a football to knock down bowling pins. The fee is $70 an hour for groups of up to 10.

There are games typically played outdoors such as corn hole and an advanced corn hole game called “war hole.” The fee is $35 an hour for groups of up to 10 players.

Feather bowling – a traditional game that mixes curling and bocce ball – involves rolling a “cheese wheel-type disc” on a carpeted lane toward a feather sticking out of the lane at the other end of the lane. The goal is to land the disc as close to the feather as possible. The game fee is $50 an hour for up to 12 people.

Taylor said the games are meant to be both a social experience and competitive with leagues being available. Kathy Taylor said the selection of games may change as time goes on.

● A banquet room for private parties and other events, such as work parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties, adult birthday parties and retirement parties.

● A staff of about 50 employees working in a lively environment featuring music playing on speakers. Most employees were hired months ago, although the Taylors are still hiring.

The business has a capacity of 734 patrons but will operate at a maximum of “half capacity” during the pandemic. Employees and customers will be required to wear masks and will practice social distancing.

Jeff Taylor praised the support and cooperation of officials from the city of Southgate. In fact, Mayor Joseph Kuspa said he was looking forward to the grand opening, describing the games at World of Games “enjoyable competitive sports.”

“I think it’s wonderful to see a new entertainment venue open in our city,” Kuspa said. “I toured the place and I am very impressed with Jeff Taylor and his team. They are totally committed to keeping customers safe and complying with social distancing.

“I appreciate their investment in our community and bringing customers together. It is a great family business that will do great in the City of Southgate. I am sure there is a pent-up demand for this. I’m looking forward to taking my family and friends there to enjoy a great time.”

Hours of operation are Sundays from noon to 8 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays from 3 to 11 p.m., Fridays from 3 p.m. to midnight and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to midnight.

Hour-long game reservations, which are recommended, can be made by calling (734) 250-8558. Staff will field calls about private events, parties and general inquiries.

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