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First look: Pickleball restaurant chain backed by Travis Kelce expands to Houston area

February 26, 2024

First look: Pickleball restaurant chain backed by Travis Kelce expands to Houston area

The pickleball craze sweeping the country now includes a pickleball restaurant chain, backed by NFL stars Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes, opening its first Houston-area location.

On Feb. 20, Chicken N Pickle will hold its grand opening in Webster, 210 Blue Heron, at the sprawling 80-acre Flyway dining and entertainment hub located about halfway between Houston and Galveston. The venue will feature pickleball courts, yard games and a food menu that focuses on rotisserie chicken.

While Taylor Swift is probably not dropping mentions of pickleball or roast chicken on her upcoming album — she’s dating Kelce, who is part of a team of investors that dropped $10 million behind the chain last year — the latest Chicken N Pickle expansion sends a clear message: the popularity of pickleball and sports-themed restaurants keeps growing.

Chicken N Pickle is holding a preview event Thursday as it prepares to open its fourth Texas location. The chain previously opened outlets in Grand Prairie, Grapevine and San Antonio.

The “eatertainment” venue’s 70,000-sqaure-foot space will include six indoor and two outdoor pickleball courts. There’s also a beer garden, dining areas throughout and lawn games like corn hole, shuffleboard and bocce ball.

This is the 10th location of the chain to open since it debuted in 2015 in Kansas City, MO., where it's still based today.

“The sport is growing about 100% almost every year,” said Josh Roach, general manager of the Webster location. “It’s no surprise that it’s also popular in Houston. There’s definitely a demand for it.”

Unlike some pickleball restaurants, Roach said Chicken N Pickle's focus on entertainment and food are equal.