There's an unusual restaurant-entertainment concept breaking ground in Grand Prairie that combines rotisserie chicken with the "sport" of pickleball.
Called Chicken N Pickle, it's a Kansas City-born chain that dubs itself the nation's leading pickleball-focused dining and entertainment venue. That's probably an easy claim, given the dearth of competition? (Although there are places to play pickleball in Dallas-Fort Worth and an entire Facebook page dedicated to Dallas pickleball with 779 followers drawn from Dallas, Plano, Rowlett, Rockwall, DeSoto, Arlington, etc.)
It'll break ground this week in Grand Prairie's Epic Central development; a release says it'll open in late 2021.
Chicken N Pickle is an indoor/outdoor complex centered around the sport of pickleball, combined with a restaurant/sports bar, lawn games, fire pits and TVs.
According to company lore, founder Dave Johnson conceived the idea in 2016 in the Grand Cayman Islands, where all great ideas are conceived. There, he discovered his love for wood-fired chicken and the game of pickleball.
He opened the flagship location in Kansas City, Missouri, followed by Wichita and San Antonio, which premiered in summer 2020. Three more are in the works for 2021, including Grand Prairie, Oklahoma City, and Overland Park, Kansas.
Grand Prairie's location will comprise 77,000 square feet with:
- six indoor pickleball courts
- five outdoor pickleball courts (two covered)
- 7,500 square feet of outdoor yard games
- dining room
- rooftop bar
- stages for live performances
The menu includes wood-fired and rotisserie chicken dishes, pork and grass-fed beef sandwiches, and salads.
You can get 1/4 chicken or 1/2 chicken which comes with a flour tortilla, avocado, and a fried serrano pepper, a flourish not unlike the pickle you get with barbecue.
There's a hot chicken sandwich, a chicken-fried chicken sandwich, a burger, pulled pork, and pulled jerk chicken.
Salads include a Caesar, Cobb, and a couple of power bowls such as the one with sweet potato, kale, quinoa, mint, jalapeño, cilantro, and avocado, in citrus vinaigrette.
"Munchies" include fries, tots, biscuits, chorizo fondue, avocado hummus, and fried pickles, which seem essential at a place dedicated to pickleball. There are also four desserts served in cast-iron skillets that include a s'mores cookie and apple crisp.
Chicken N Pickle - Grand Prairie will host pickleball clinics for beginners or advanced players and pickleball tournaments. Wow, there are advanced pickleball players out there, who knew.
Is it time yet to post a definition of pickleball? Yes. Yes, it is time:
Pickleball is a paddle sport where two to four players hit something resembling an enlarged whiffle ball back and forth on a court. Think of it as a combo of ping-pong, tennis and badminton, with a few variations. First-timers and advanced players can have fun playing at Chicken N Pickle.
The release says that pickleball is the fastest growing "sport" in America, and is most popularly played as doubles on a court half the size of a tennis court, with an oversized ping pong paddle and a plastic ball. The rules are a mix of tennis and ping pong and are easy and fun for all ages.
The mayor of Grand Prairie and the Grand Prairie city council are totally on board.
"We are so excited that Chicken N Pickle has selected Grand Prairie as the site of its sixth location nationally," says Mayor Jensen in a statement. "We have so many residents who are ready to play pickleball and eat chicken, some of whom serve on the City Council with me."
He calls it a wonderful addition to the Epic Central project, which already includes Epic Waters, The Epic, The Summit and PlayGrand Adventures, with hotels, more restaurants and retail coming soon.