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Entertainment chain Round 1 to open at Burbank Town Center

The All Amusement Family Center at the Burbank Town Center offers family-friendly entertainment for children, its owner says. Mall officials announced that Round 1 Bowling & Amusement, with bowling and karaoke, will be opening on March 14.
(Raul Roa / Burbank Leader)

It has been almost four years since Sport Chalet ceased all operations and shuttered its stores nationwide. The loss of the sporting goods chain created a large gap inside the Burbank Town Center, but that will all change this weekend.

Round 1 Bowling & Amusement, a Japanese-based entertainment chain similar to Dave & Buster’s, will have its grand opening at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Like its competitor, Round 1 serves food and beverages and offers a variety of arcade games that people can play to win prizes. However, the chain takes things up a few notches, and Burbank guests will also find a bowling alley, billiard tables and private karaoke rooms.

“Burbank Town Center provides the perfect demographic for Round 1,” said Shane Kaji, chief operating officer for Round 1 Entertainment, in a statement. “We’ve seen such a great response to our concept, and this marks our third location in the greater Los Angeles area.”

Michael de Leon, general manager of the Burbank Town Center, said he and members of the public have been waiting for the opening of Round 1 since it was first announced in January 2019 the chain would be taking over the 43,355-square-foot space left vacant by the Sport Chalet closure.

For the last four years, the Town Center has undergone a transformation from being a conventional shopping mall into a gathering space for the public with entertainment and dining options.

An outdoor escalator was built on the Magnolia Boulevard side of the building and leads to a newly made third-floor dining terrace, and the food court was moved from the third to first floor.

De Leon said Round 1 fits in with what he and the mall owner want to do with the property.

“We’ve made great strides in making the Burbank Town Center a hybrid shopping center, where it’s not only retail shops where you can buy hard goods,” he said. “We’re making great strides to add entertainment to it, and that entertainment aspect is certainly going to lend itself as a tool to keep the Burbank Town Center alive.”

While Round 1 may be the new kid on the block, the Burbank Town Center has had an entertainment facility for 26 years — the All Amusement Fun Center.

Relocated from the ground floor to the third level of the mall in 2017, the arcade owned and operated by La Cañada resident Jim Rowton has been the go-to place for many families over the decades.

Though Round 1 may seem like a direct competitor to the All Amusement Fun Center, Rowton said the two entities are different — his business is focused on creating a family-friendly environment for children while their new neighbors cater to an older demographic.

“Their business model significantly differs from ours in that they rely on food and beverage sales, which includes alcohol,” he said.

Additionally, Rowton said Round 1 is expected to draw more foot traffic into the mall, which increases the likelihood of attracting new customers.

“We’ve known that they were going to open this location for a long time, and now that it’s upon us, I’m happy that it’s here,” he said. “Anything that brings traffic to the mall will help us.”

However, the novel coronavirus pandemic may put a hamper on opening-day festivities.

De Leon said he and the retailers at the Burbank Town Center are well aware of the situation and understand that business will take a hit.

In light of that, the mall general manager remains optimistic that Round 1 and his other tenants will make it through the health concerns.

“We just have to get through this wave,” de Leon said. “This will go away, and we will get through it.”

Along with Round 1 opening this weekend, Burbank Town Center officials announced on Wednesday the addition of two new restaurants.

Panini Kabob Grill is scheduled to open on March 18, while Han Korean BBQ is expected to open by late 2020.

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