Dining With Denise Neil

Gregg Marshall loves pickleball, and other news from Chicken N Pickle's groundbreaking

Chicken N’ Pickle groundbreaking in May

Chicken N' Pickle has its ground breaking with the help of WSU Coach Gregg Marshall. (May 7, 2018)
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Chicken N' Pickle has its ground breaking with the help of WSU Coach Gregg Marshall. (May 7, 2018)

Chicken N Pickle, the new restaurant and entertainment complex scheduled to open this fall at the Plazzio, 13th and Greenwich, had its official groundbreaking on Monday night, and if you weren't there, you missed some interesting sights.

Most notably, Wichita State University head basketball coach Gregg Marshall taking on developer George Laham, City Councilman Pete Meitzner and Chicken N Pickle owner Dave Johnson in a lively match of pickleball on a temporary court.

The groundbreaking, complete with shovels and dirt turning, gave Wichita a first look at the site where the restaurant — which will feature indoor and outdoor pickleball courts — is being built. It's massive space just south of Sumo, where work has already started.

A big crowd gathered in a parking lot across from the site on Monday night to sip beer and try some of the salads and sandwiches that are on the Chicken N Pickle menu.

Dave Johnson, who opened his first Chicken N Pickle in Kansas City in 2016, wore a Shockers jersey and talked about meeting Marshall back when he recruited Kansas City native Garrett Stutz, who played high school ball with Johnson's son.

Marshall said he first visited Chicken N Pickle during an alumni event put on there.

"I was really blown away at the fun I had and I saw all of the people with families and kids and the games that they had," he said. "And pickleball is very fun. i was a tennis player once upon a time, and those wheels have fallen off a little bit. But pickleball is a little easier for someone of my age."

Johnson, who said he is a season ticket holder at Koch Arena even though he lives in Kansas City, said he was excited to open his second store in Wichita.

"We've learned a lot," he said. "We're having a lot of fun in Kansas City and doing great, but this one is going to be even better. There's going to be some fine-tuning that we did here. We thing this is going to be the most fun family entertainment place here in Wichita."

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