Chicken N Pickle is eyeing Charlotte for expansion.
What’s happening: The Missouri-based chain doesn’t have a set timeline or site for a Charlotte location, but company spokesperson Carrie Bartlow tells Axios, “to say we are exploring it would be accurate.”
- Depending on the timeline, Charlotte could be their first location on the East Coast.
Details: The restaurant combines food and sport, similar to golf concepts in Charlotte like Topgolf, Puttery and Stroke.
- It’s a sports bar with an indoor/outdoor facility. Expect games like corn hole and Jenga, but pickleball courts set it apart from other bars.
- The menu is casual, and, of course, features fried pickles. Each location’s menu looks a little different, but the “NKC hot chicken sandwich” is a staple with fried chicken, pickles, hot sauce and spicy slaw.
Why it matters: Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States, with 4.8 million people playing nationwide, and as the sport continues to grow, people are going to want more options of how and where to play.
- The sport is expanding in Charlotte, too, with Myers Park Country Club planning to install two concrete pickleball courts near its existing tennis courts.
- Plus, Life Time Charlotte will host The Professional Tour of Pickleball North Carolina Open May 5-8.
[Go deeper: The rise of pickleball in Charlotte]
Background: Chicken N Pickle opened their first location in North Kansas City, Missouri in 2016.
- Since then, they’ve opened five more locations in Wichita, Kansas; San Antonio, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Overland Park, Kansas; and Grand Prairie, Texas.
What’s next: Three locations are expected to open in late 2022 or early 2023: Grapevine, Texas; St. Charles, Missouri; and Glendale, Arizona.