Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita Chicken N Pickle will have pickleball courts ready before restaurant

Back in early May, there was an official groundbreaking party for Chicken N Pickle at the Plazzio, 13th and Greenwich, and its owners said they hoped to have it ready to go by fall.

Now, it’s fall, and construction crews have made progress on the building — an 8,000-square-foot-entertainment complex designed to hold both a chicken restaurant and pickleball courts both inside and outside.

But like most restaurant projects, it’s a bit behind schedule, so owners have decided to open it one section at a time.

As of now, said Chase Watson, vice president of the company behind Chicken N Pickle, the anticipated new business will be half-open by the end of the year.

Owners are planning to open the pickleball courts in early December — the outdoor courts first followed shortly by the indoor ones — but the restaurant its self likely won’t be ready until February.

“We want to open the courts and let folks kind of get a flavor for pickleball,” Watson said. “Our restaurant guy suggest it can be easier to open in tiers rather than just open the doors and pray things go well. It’s a little easier to open in pieces.”

Though they haven’t worked out all the details, the owners of Chicken N Pickle say they’ll likely take reservations for courts online and charge a minimal fee for people to play. Until the restaurant opens, Chicken N Pickle will have a food truck set up selling some of its fare as well as an on-site bar with craft beer.

“It’s going to be very festive, party atmosphere,” said Christine Kemper, a Chicken N Pickle spokeswoman.

Kemper also said that if people want to throw holiday parties on the courts, that could be arranged. They should wait until after Thanksgiving and call the local number, which will appear on the restaurant’s social media sites soon, she said.

Chicken N Pickle, which will be just south of Sumo, will feature indoor and outdoor pickleball courts, ping pong tables plus other lawn games. Pickleball, for the uninitiated, is sort of like badminton meets tennis, and two, three or four players use paddles to hit a ball that looks like a Wiffle ball over a net.

The first Chicken N Pickle opened in Kansas City in 2016, and Wichita’s will be the second location before the company expands into other markets.

Once open, the restaurant will serve rotisserie chicken dishes made using locally sourced Amish chicken. The Kansas City restaurant’s menu lists rotisserie chicken dinners available with four different spices plus smoked wings, pulled pork, burnt end sandwiches, wings and salads. There’s also something called a a pickled chicken sandwich, made with pickle-brined chicken breast.

I’ll let you know when the courts are ready to go.

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