Shake & Bake Family Fun Center, the Pennsylvania Avenue roller rink, bowling alley, and arcade that has served West Baltimore for three decades, is set to close indefinitely on Sept. 1.
A pre-recorded message at the phone number for Shake & Bake announced the closure, and it would appear the website has gone dark.
Anthony Williams, the current owner, could not immediately be reached for comment.
City Councilman Eric Costello, whose district includes the Shake & Bake, said significant capital improvements were required to bring the city-owned building up to shape, including a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. He praised Williams for being a stalwart to the community, particularly for neighborhood kids, and pledged to work with Mayor Catherine Pugh to reopen the Shake & Bake.
"It's a great amenity and we need to get it up and running as soon as possible," he said.
In a later Facebook post Costello wrote, "While renovations and improvements are underway at Shake and Bake, the City will be seeking program and management ideas."
On Wednesday morning, Mayor Pugh released the following statement: "Shake and Bake is an iconic gathering place for Baltimore youth and families, and with much needed upgrades, it will be able to serve residents for many more years to come. In June, I toured Pennsylvania Avenue to outline what investments could be made to enhance community life in West Baltimore, including the Shake and Bake facility. Despite its character, after a preliminary engineering report, we discovered several dysfunctional health and safety conditions including core systems such as heating and cooling, roofing, and plumbing. Shake and Bake will be closed temporarily to make necessary improvements, and with the support of the community, when it reopens, our goal is to relaunch with sound infrastructure and robust recreational programming for all ages."
Started by former Baltimore Colts wide receiver Glenn "Shake and Bake" Doughty in 1982, the center has for years been a family-friendly hub and venue for community events.
"God gave me the vision to put a facility that was not like any other in the country right in the heart of the inner city," Doughty told The Sun in 2015.
"This skating rink saves and restores lives," Williams told City Paper in 2014.
For more on the history of Shake & Bake, now is as good a time as any to revisit the first episode of Stacia Brown's excellent podcast "The Rise of Charm City," in which she put together an oral history of the place.
Shake & Bake also helped give rise to a skating style, snapping, "often marked by a quick one-footed turn, where the skater does a 180-degree slide and then moves back," and a culture of competing clubs from here to D.C., as City Paper documented in the 2014 cover story "Snap City."
A flier circulating on Facebook highlights an upcoming Back to School Skate event on Aug. 25, when kids will receive free school supplies, boys will get new haircuts, girls will receive manicures, and more.
"Don't miss Anthony's final community service event at Shake and Bake to the citizens of West Baltimore after 30 years of passionate and dedicated service," it reads.