Second Local Pickleball Bar Opens in January


Chicken N Pickle entrance in Grapevine | Image by Chicken N Pickle/Facebook

Pickleball continues to be one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, and now companies are flocking to capitalize on the sport’s popularity.

Kansas City-based company Chicken N Pickle opened its first restaurant/entertainment facility in Grand Prairie in December 2021 and is planning expansion throughout the Lonestar State.

Chicken N Pickle is opening new locations in Grapevine in January 2023 and Allen sometime late next year, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Pickleball is best described as a mix of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. But what is it about this sport that has people across the country converting tennis courts into pickleball courts?

According to Tony Polichino, general manager for the new Grapevine location, the answer lies in the sport’s adaptability.

“I think what makes [pickleball] so appealing is the inclusivity of it all,” he explained.

While the game is typically played two-on-two, roughly 16 players can fit on a typical pickleball court. The force and tempo of the play can be adapted as well, making it suitable for all ages and physical conditions.

“You’ll see people out there in jeans and cowboy boots, whacking the ball around, big smiles on their faces,” Polichino said.

Chicken N Pickle hires coaches to teach players of all skill levels. Pickleballers can rent a court by the hour, with the cost ranging from $20 to $40, depending on the time of day.

The concept differs from a recreation center with pickleball courts because it offers a fuller experience. Chicken N Pickle locations include a restaurant, several bars, lawn games like cornhole, a dog park, and TVs for watch parties, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The assortment of options aims to serve all kinds of customers — and in mass.

“We wanted there to be a place where, once you’re done playing pickleball, you stay,” said Polichino.

He said the company’s goal is for customers to stay for at least a couple of hours.

True to its name, Polichino explained that one of the most popular items offered at the restaurant is the rotisserie chicken served with various seasonings and sauces.

The Grapevine location is expected to fit 2,000 people. This amount of space will come in handy since pickleball is much more social than other sports. Because of the smaller court size and doubles component, players are much closer to the action than in tennis.

“The word you use for pickleball is social,” Polichino said.

Chicken N Pickle can be viewed as the Topgolf of pickleball, yet another example of an entertainment venue centered around a sport that has recently grown in popularity. For his part, Tiger Woods has continued to expand his own mini-golf concept, Pop Stroke, opening a new location in Houston.

While pickleball’s trajectory has been increasing for years, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated its growth and public awareness.

In addition to Chicken N Pickle, athletic wear makers are taking notice. Nike is finally promoting items specific to the sport on its website.

The increased professionalization of pickleball also seems in the works, with investments being made by celebrity athletes LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Tom Brady.

Dallas area resident and owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, Tom Dundon, recently bought Pickeball.com and the Pro Pickleball Association.

The owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, became the first team owner in the Vibe Pickleball League in November.

Amateur Texas pickleballers can hone their skills at Chicken N Pickle’s Grapevine location after January 17 or later in Austin and Houston, where the company aims to eventually expand.

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Brian Hershman
Brian Hershman
1 month ago

Pickle On My Friends!