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Pickleball Chain To Launch First Of 5 Chicago ‘Eatertainment’ Destinations Later This Year

America’s fastest-growing sport is getting the Topgolf treatment, with the first of what could be five Chicagoland pickleball-themed sports and entertainment centers slated to open in November.

Pickle Haus, a joint venture between Hubbard Street Group and College Park Athletic Club, has begun construction on its first “eatertainment” facility in a 41K SF former furniture store at 1621 South Randall Road in Algonquin. The Chicago-area developer and the tennis club owner and operator plan up to four more pickleball-themed entertainment and restaurant venues in and around Chicago.

A rendering of Pickle Haus' Algonquin location, now under construction.

“Pickle Haus will be the first of its kind to combine best-in-class pickleball courts with a top-tier food and beverage program,” Hubbard Street Managing Partner Graham Palmer said in a release. “Our vision for Pickle Haus is to provide a pickleball-focused entertainment experience that is unmatched in the industry.”

Pickle Haus will offer 12 indoor pickleball courts, three golf simulators, a large bar, entertainment and event space, and an outdoor patio. The restaurant and bar portion is being designed by Sheamus Feeley of Family Is Food, a former featured chef at the James Beard House and part of the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour.

The joint venture hopes to capitalize on an entertainment sector projected to be worth $2.4B by 2028. Though pickleball has been around since 1965, its popularity has exploded in recent years, and the hospitality industry is rushing to cash in. The number of people playing grew by 85.7% in 2022, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

“With the increasing popularity of pickleball in Chicago and across the U.S., the initial draw of Pickle Haus will be the sport itself,” College Park Athletic Club owner Jeff VanDixhorn said. “Yet we’ve carefully designed an experience and are creating a vibe that will make Pickle Haus a go-to entertainment destination for the entire area.”

Part of the bar and dining area at Pickle Haus

Pickle Haus isn't the first to grasp the sport’s potential to draw crowds and fill empty retail spaces. In 2021, Atlanta-based Competitive Social Ventures announced it would open four sports-themed restaurants that included pickleball in Metro Atlanta and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with plans to develop a chain of entertainment-focused restaurants throughout the Southeast. 

More recently, Pickleball America leased more than 80K SF in a former Saks Off 5th in Stamford Town Center, Connecticut; All-Stars Pickleball Club took over an Old Navy space at Steeplegate Mall in New Hampshire; and a former Belk department store is being redeveloped as a 32-court indoor pickleball facility within the Macon Mall in Georgia, per Chain Store Age.

Chain Chicken N Pickle has locations in Texas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Future indoor-outdoor complexes are on the way in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Indiana.