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Big Fun Is Coming To Durand

Owners of Popular HQ Vigilante Food Truck Developing Former Durand Lanes Into Family Entertainment Center

Posted by Durand Now at 11:37am 2/26/19

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It's a plan more than five years in the making.  Stephen and Melanie Pratt's popular food truck, HQ Vigilante, has been booked solid at events throughout the region for going on four years now.  But even before the mobile military-themed restaurant hit the road, they had a vision for a brick-and-morter establishment in Shiawassee County that caters to the entire family.

Stephen was a pivotal level for Kazoo's in Corunna, serving as founder Paul Dietzel's right hand man.  That facility was to boast a full kitchen and restaurant, but politics prevented that part of the vision coming to fruition.  So, Stephen and Melanie, who've now been married 18 years, continued searching for the right place to open what Melanie is quick to define as a "family entertainment center" that is restaurant-first.  Just two weeks ago, the Pratts got the keys to what will soon become the Fun Bunker.

The Fun Bunker and the Tiger Shark Cafe will open on April 15th in the former Durand Lanes building, if all continues as planned.

In addition to open bowling all day, every day, and arcade games, the Fun Bunker will offer even more family fun and entertainment options, including a new interactive game involving bowling pins and a super secret something that has never been done in Shiawassee County.  

But it's a full-menu restaurant first.  Stephen said "Some people may come in and eat and not do anything else," but for those families like the Pratts, who have five kids ranging in age from 3 to 22 years old, the Fun Bunker will have an entertainment option that caters to each of them, and the Pratts say entertainment options will be packaged and priced affordably for those that want to do some things, but not necessarily all of them.

Though the Tiger Shark Cafe will offer a menu familiar to those that have visited HQ Vigilante on the road, along with much, much more, the restaurant will not serve alcohol.  That's by design, the Pratts say.  Fun Bunker will be a place where families can come and have fun, feel safe and be encouraged, uplifted and inspired.  

That's the Pratts' heart; they've been community action players for years in Corunna and Owosso, and feel it's time to bring the love to Durand.  It's a coming home of sorts for Stephen, a member of the Durand Railroaders Class of 1992.

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Both Melanie and Stephen are Army veterans and have a combined 18 years service, and all veterans, she said, will be honored with discounts.  Korean, WWI and WWII vets will always eat free.

But that's not the only group the Pratts are looking out for.  The Fun Bunker will be fully ADA compliant, meaning anyone in a wheelchair, like Melanie's step-father, whom she becomes visibly emotional when sharing has always been there to help her and Stephen with their projects, will be able to have as much fun and enjoy all the amenities as anyone else.

The Pratts want to partner with school districts too, and invite officials to reach out for a "meeting of the minds."  The Tiger Shark Cafe can provide unique opportunities to students interested in the culinary arts.

As the Pratts prepare for opening day, which involves a complete renovation of the entire building, they say things are coming together quickly, and while they're confident in the capital they have to have things up and running by the planned opening day of April 15th, they invite anyone that believes in their vision and wants to see it thrive in Durand, to support the initiative with a donation.  The Pratts hope to expand in the future, making use of the multiple acres of property the facility sits on by adding outdoor activities.  Your donations will help.

Additionally, the Pratts are selling some old bowling memorabilia from Durand Lanes like pins and balls; even a vintage competition Brunswick pool table.  From the old The Loft kitchen, commercial deep freezers and antique deep fryers are also for sale.  Pins are priced at $1 a piece.  If you want to make a donation or want to pick up a pin (or ten), or are interested in other nostalgic merchandise, call Melanie or Stephen to set up a time to meet, at 989-627-6180 or 989-494-3960.

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Former Durand Lanes as it appeared February 23rd 2019./Durand Now photo

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