Saline has a new entertainment option and it comes in the form of a game that just about anyone of any age can enjoy together.
Pete Toarmina, owner of Mangiamo Italian Grill, has converted the third floor of his downtown building into two full-size bocce ball courts, complete with artificial turf, handmade scoreboards, proper lane markings and dividing rails, as well as competition-grade bocce ball sets.
Toarmina intends to lease the lanes to groups wanting to play independently. He also has leagues operating on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The bocce concept fits in perfectly with Mangiamo’s Italian lineage, Toarmina said, stating that he considered adding a court upstairs from the very beginning.
“From the time we bought the building, when we were trying to figure out what to do with it, I thought we should put bocce ball on the third floor,” he said. “Nothing came along that made better sense.”
Toarmina said he used hometown craftsmen and companies in sourcing materials for the bocce courts, primarily those who are patrons of his restaurant.
“We have these nice scoreboards down at the end,” he said, pointing toward the north wall. “A local sign guy made those.”
The game itself is deceptively simple, according to Toarmina. A round begins by rolling a smaller ball, called a pallino, into the middle of the court.
Players then try to roll the larger bocce balls as close to the pallino as possible, with the closest balls accumulating points. Knocking other players’ bocce balls out of the way is fair game.
Since bocce requires a soft touch, just about anyone from kindergarteners to great grandparents can join in the game and be competitive with just a bit of practice.
The Mangiamo bocce league is an eight-week season. Games for each league take place at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., with an additional hour of free practice.
Teams of four or five can register for either eight week league for $70-per-person. Teams with five players are required to alternate one person in and out. Individuals can also register and will be assigned a team.
Toarmina said there will be food and drink specials for participants, as well as a playoff party on the last week of the league.
To register or find out more, call 734-429-0060, or visit Mangiamo Italian Grill at 107 W. Michigan Ave.