First Look

First Look: Chicken N Pickle Opens in Grand Prairie

The NKC hot chicken sandwich
The NKC hot chicken sandwich Lauren Drewes Daniels
Tennis courts across North Texas are being retrofitted into pickleball courts, which really just requires a thick roll of durable tape. Pickleball is a cross between tennis and ping pong; it’s a leisure sport, which certainly has its pros, like that you can (should) sip a beer while playing. Instead of stringed rackets, players use paddles and a ball that is similar to a Wiffle Ball. The court has a "kitchen" and, party tip, always choose the side with the wind — even the slightest breeze — at your back.
click to enlarge Climate-controlled pickleball courts - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Climate-controlled pickleball courts
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Chicken N Pickle is a 77,000-square-foot restaurant and entertainment complex out of Kansas City that recently opened in Grand Prairie near the burgeoning Epic Central off of the George Bush Turnpike, between interstates 30 and 20. There are 11 pickleball courts, five in a climate-controlled building, four covered and two exposed to all the elements. Courts can be booked during the week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $20 an hour. From 5 p.m. to close on the weekdays and all weekend courts cost $40 an hour; $10 per person if you're doing doubles.
click to enlarge A large outdoor courtyard is at the center of the complex. - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
A large outdoor courtyard is at the center of the complex.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
This large complex is built around an outdoor courtyard that has a few other games like cornhole and a gigantic Battleship game. There are few ping pong and foosball tables and outdoor shuffleboard courts too. There are at least two fully stocked bars to quench your thirst. And because all that activity requires sustenance, there's a full-size kitchen and restaurant in one corner.

Diners and sportsmen alike walk up to the counter to order, then are given a number. Servers bring food out to the tables or out to any of the many courts and picnic tables.
click to enlarge The restaurant and dining room at Chicken N Pickle in Grand Prairie - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
The restaurant and dining room at Chicken N Pickle in Grand Prairie
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The entrées include some heavier barbecue options and whole, half or quarter chicken. The sandwich menu is filled with hearty chicken and barbecue options. A salad section makes it easy to stick to your new year resolutions with a few "powerbowls" including one topped with salmon. There are a few shareable dishes that look interesting; a chorizo fondue for two is served with corn chips and flour chicharrones.

We tried the NKC (North Kansas City) hot chicken sandwich (photo at top) topped with a crunchy coleslaw and thick pickles all doused in a hot sauce. The chicken was tender and juicy.

Even if you're not interested in pickleball, the food alone is worthy of a trip. Want a place to hang out outside and let the kids run around? This is a good spot for all that. Or if you're ready to take your pickleball game to the next level, get your paddles out and let's go.

Chicken N Pickle. 2965 S. Highway 161 (Grand Prairie). Monday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. - 12 a.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. - 12 a.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.