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The Red Carpet Inn

No matter what era a building is constructed in, it is doubtless that those (i.e. architects, contractors, etc.) who assembled said structure hope that the building will continue to be used and maintained far into the future. In 1963, plans for a new, modern supper club and bowling alley to be built in Filer Township were announced in the spring of that year. One year later those plans came to fruition as the Red Carpet Inn and Red Carpet Lanes both opened to the public, providing Manistee with a distinct structure that continues to be occupied today.

Throughout much of the early 1960s, Manistee was in a construction boom as numerous buildings were being put up around the city and new businesses were opening their doors. In the summer of 1963, an announcement was made by the Northwestern Red Carpet Inn, Inc. that a new supper club and bowling alley would soon be in the infancy stage of construction.

An article published in the Manistee News Advocate on August 5, 1964 describes the planned building, which would provide leisure time for those who either enjoyed a good meal and bowling or both:

“Announcement has been made by officials of the Northwestern Red Carpet Inn, Inc., in conjunction with the Brunswick Corporation of their proposed projects which include a supper club and bowling center to be built on US-31 North south of Merkey Road.

“The supper club will have a banquet room, dining area, cocktail lounge and a private party room on the lower level. Dining capacity on the ground-floor level will be approximately 200 with an additional 250 to be accommodated in the lower level of the facility. Total area of the building will be 8,400 square feet.

“The building will be of masonry cut stone construction with a glass paneled front and a white shale roof. The interior will have an early American open-beam ceiling, paneled cherry walls, and will be furnished in early American style carrying the red carpet theme throughout. Both levels will be completely air conditioned.

“The bowling center will be known as Red Carpet Lanes. It will have 16 bowling lanes with automatic pin setters, subway cluster ball returns and TEL-E-SCORE units.

“A billiard room equipped with four billiard tables will be an additional recreational feature. Future plans call for an archery range with the latest targets featuring automatic arrow returns.

“Bowling and sports equipment will be on sale and locker facilities will be available for rent. Snack bar service will be available from the concourse of the center. A split-level piano bar will be featured in the early American furnished cocktail lounge of the center.

“A playroom will be provided for children of bowling parents.

“The bowling center will be of masonry construction consisting of cut stone and face brick, 17,722 square feet in area. The open beam early American interior featuring the red carpet décor will be maintained throughout the entire air-conditioned center. Lighted parking facilities will be provided for both supper club and bowling center.

“Completion of the supper club is scheduled tentatively for early fall and completion of the bowling center is anticipated for early 1964.”

By January of 1964, the new restaurant, called Red Carpet Inn, was close to being completed with the opening of the supper club scheduled for an estimated February date.

Additional details on the restaurant as well as the bowling alley were published in the January 21, 1964 edition of the Manistee News Advocate:

“The restaurant portion has two levels with the supper club and cocktail lounge on one and a room for banquets on a lower level. Architect for the restaurant is Peter Leonard of Milwaukee while the architect for the bowling alley is Ruben Dragowich of Detroit. The bowling alley is expected to be ready about April 1 and is the portion of the building with the peaked entrance.”

On the morning of March 1, 1964, the new restaurant, another addition to Manistee’s construction boom, opened to the public at 7 a.m. for breakfast with a grand opening scheduled for later in the spring. Final specifications of the building included: a 10,000 square feet area in the supper club with seating for 181 people, furnishings with red wall-to-wall carpeting, captain’s and mate’s chairs upholstered in red or white leather, hammered brass Early American lighting fixtures, cherry paneling, and walls of red Norman brick.

The new supper club also included a banquet room on the lower level which would seat up to 400 people and could be used for private parties and meetings. Further details on the kitchen as well as the menu of the menu of the Red Carpet Inn were published in the Manistee News Advocate:

“The chef, Benny Mercer, formerly of the Spring Lake and Kalamazoo Country Clubs who also has been chef in supper clubs throughout Florida.

“He plans to feature prime ribs of western beef in every day at both luncheon and dinner and to offer sea food from all over the world which will be kept fresh in the large walk-in deep freeze adjacent to the modern kitchen which has air purification equipment to remove all cooking odors.

“Mercer said later he planned to offer some of his specialties such as sauerbraten, Italian dishes and many unusual buffet dishes.

“A gourmet table will feature 25 varieties of salads, relishes and appetizers.”

In April the gala grand opening of the restaurant was held with Filer Township Supervisor, Chester Pieczynski, Mayor Ray Wissner, Red Carpet Inn Manager John Konicki Jim Gouin, president of the Red Carpet Inn all in attendance. By June of 1964, the Red Carpet Lanes bowling alley was officially opened offering a full leisure and convenient bowling package including: a snack bar, shoe rental, subway ball returns, billiard room, tele-scores, and spacious parking.

Today the building is home to Striketown bowling alley and Subway.

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