Family Bowlaway's History: Frame by Frame
“Can you teach my son to bowl?” a customer asked Joe Caparosa, Sr., founder of Family Bowlaway, in 1954. Family Bowlaway’s history and involvement in the community began when
Joe Caparosa, Sr., bought Penn Lanes, a 10-lane bowling alley that employed “pin boys” who reset every pin by hand. At that time, it was a small second-story bowling alley across from
Penn Theater, a cinema on Main Street, Butler, Pennsylvania.
More then sixty years ago at his first bowling alley, Caparosa taught one special needs child to
bowl, creating the oldest Special Olympics bowling program in the country. Today, Family
Bowlaway Fun Center hosts more than 120 special needs individuals most Friday afternoons.
During 1956, the Caparosa family built a new bowling alley featuring 16 lanes named Bowlaway
Lanes. The building still stands today but is now called “Just What The Doctor Ordered,” a
health and medical supply store. “My father was an entrepreneur and go-getter,” Joe Caparosa,
Jr., current co-owner said. “He was always building new businesses and finding new ways to
make Butler better.”
In 1963, Joe Caparosa, Sr., added a second location up the hill from the original Bowlaway
Lanes, called Bowlaway Annex. This addition included 12 lanes, a pool table and new state-of-the-
art bowling machines. A few years later after obtaining a liquor license, a small bar and
restaurant was added: the original 11th Frame. More lanes were added in 1970. In 1973, there
was a fire which badly damaged the building.
At that time, the decision was made to rebuild the bar, but the bowling center was eliminated.
Out of the tragedy, the 11th Frame took over the space that the lanes had occupied and was
transformed from a simple bar to a large facility that could handle close to 1,000 people. It was a
great spot for night life and became increasingly popular with a wide variety of well known
bands who performed there.
The 11th Frame was destroyed by a second fire in 1975. The facility was rebuilt and resold
several years later to a local couple that renamed it “Tanglewood” and operated it as a banquet
facility. Years later, it was resold to a senior citizen group.
Then in 1978, Joe Caparosa, Jr., joined his father to help run Bowlaway Lanes for about five
years. In 1983, they purchased Family Lanes and moved their equipment from Hansen Avenue
to Route 8. A year later, Kevin Caparosa, son of Joe Caparosa, Sr., joined the family business.
In 1992, the Caparosa bothers built the final location of Family Bowlaway on Fairground Hill
Road in Butler, PA. With an acquired liquor license and the new bar in place, the Spare Time
Lounge had come to life.
About five years later, the laser tag arena and various other party rooms were added to the
center. With the addition of the various entertainment venues, it was decided that Family
Bowlaway would now be called Family Bowlaway Fun Center.
Unfortunately, in 2012, Joe Caparosa, Sr., passed away. With his passing, Joe, Jr., and Kevin
decided it was time to rebuild and renovate the Spare Time Lounge in their father’s honor. The bar was renamed the 11th Frame Bar and Grille and underwent open construction for about
five months. During the renovation, the Caparosa brothers proudly kept their Butler roots with
strictly using local contractors throughout the process.
The bar officially opened its doors in 2014 to the Butler community. Now, the 11th Frame Bar
and Grille is home to 40 beers on tap and offers various food and drink specials almost every
day of the week. Featuring an exclusive catering menu, the 11th Frame Bar and Grille also
hosts small-to-large-scale events.
The Caparosa brothers take great pride in their establishments. Family Bowlaway Fun Center
and 11th Frame Bar and Grille offer first class customer service in a modern family-friendly
atmosphere where memories are created “by our family, for your family.”