Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DINERS DISH: Billiards on Broadway -- a surprise hit with the teen set

With Columbia's smoking ban, the old image of the smoke-filled billiards parlor no longer fits.  Nowhere is billiards' new image more evident than in Billiards on Broadway
Les and Molly Wagner's homage to the pool halls of yore -- even the walls are decorated with vintage billiard photos -- Billiards on Broadway has good food, a friendly staff, and what may be the best large screen TV in any Columbia restaurant.

Though I've eaten in Billiards a few times, my teenage daughter started joining her friends and parents there more frequently.  To my surprise -- my daughter doesn't play pool -- the restaurant has become her current top choice for dining out. 

Though side by side, the pool hall is toward the back of one large room, almost separate from the restaurant.  The result is a broad expanse of pool tables that cater to the billiards crowd and a family-friendly restaurant toward the front centered around large windows and the big screen television. 
Taking my daughter and her little brother one recent evening, I paid attention to what she liked and decided that friendly staff who take kids seriously, regularly checking on their dining experience, may be a big reason for her enthusiasm.

Wagner -- a billiards aficionado who also manages Boone County Family Resources -- started Billiards on Broadway (BOB) with wife Molly after Maggie and Phil Spudich closed downtown's Columbia Billiards -- a predecessor of sorts -- blaming the smoking ban in 2007. 

Could be that BOB's family friendliness has helped it survive where Columbia Billiards could not. 

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