The Harbinger Online

Review: Chicken N Pickle

Photo by Ellie Thoma

Photo by Ellie Thoma

Let’s face it, anything that involves me postponing my rewatching of “How I Met Your Mother” makes me groan. But this seemed like something different, something that I could do with my friends and get me off of the couch.

After my friend raved about Chicken N Pickle, a chicken-restaurant-meet-pickleball-court, I knew I had to try it out. I have some experience with tennis, but I’m no Serena Williams. My dad says pre-teen-me hitting tennis balls against the backboard at Homestead could hardly qualify me as a tennis player, but luckily, pickleball, basically a game of mini tennis, doesn’t require a wicked backhand.

I booked a court online for myself and three friends, totalling $46, including the convenience fee and tax. At first this price didn’t seem worth it, but when we split it between the four of us, it became more reasonable. One of my friends brought a ball and paddles for all of us to use, so that also saved us a $15 rental.

As soon as I stepped foot into the rustic, wooden room, I realized the 25-minute drive to the North Kansas City location was worth it. It reminded me of a sports bar on one end, with fans cheering at the TVs, and the other end held what I was most excited about: the chicken.

I checked in at the bar for our pickleball court reservations, and the service couldn’t have been better. Somehow our reservations booked us on an outdoor court, which worried me at first because in negative three degree weather there was no chance I’d play outside. The outdoor courts were luckily closed, so I’m still confused how our reservation could’ve even been scheduled for outside, but the employees accommodated us and fit us in to play inside – and gave us a refund for the hassle, too.

Finally situated in our court, my friend briefly went over the rules and then the four of us began playing against each other, picking it up pretty quickly. Maybe it was just beginner’s luck, or the fact that my partner was a varsity tennis player and pickleball connoisseur, but we killed it! Playing had me exercising more than I have since cross country ended in October, but it was a good kind of exercising – the exercise where you don’t even realize you’re getting a work out until you’re sore the next day because you’re so focused on winning, not how many calories you’re burning.

Pickleball is one of those games you don’t have to be good to enjoy playing it, as long as you’re with a fun group of people. But honestly I’d go back to play pickleball alone.

Photo by Ellie Thoma

Photo by Ellie Thoma

Exhausted from our game of pickleball, we walked back into the restaurant ready to eat. The process was a standard “order food at the counter and have it served to you.” I ordered the five-piece wings with the “jerk” sauce and a side of brussel sprouts, totaling about $10. I would easily order both again – the wings weren’t too spicy, and the jerk sauce added a smokey flavor.

I split the brussel sprouts with my friend and shared her beets. In the future, I don’t care if I’m stuffed full, I can make room for both of these. The brussel sprouts had a bit of mustard seed, bacon and grana padano cooked with them, turning a sometimes dreaded vegetable into something mouthwatering. Topped with pistachios, arugula and goat cheese, the beets offered a cool-down from the spicier wings. Everyone else went with the chicken sandwich, which was a classic that they raved about.

Overall, this positive experience left me wanting to go back the next weekend. It’s the perfect place for a party or small hangout, and I can’t wait to go back. My dad even mentioned a few days later that he was going there for work, so it really fits any age group and event.

If you’re hesitant about leaving your Netflix binging on the couch, get up, play some pickleball and eat some chicken.

Photo by Ellie Thoma

Photo by Ellie Thoma

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Anna Kanaley

Anna Kanaley is a senior at Shawnee Mission East and is the co-Mobile Media Editor-in-Chief for her third year on The Harbinger staff. Outside of journalism, she participates in the International Baccalaureate Program, cross country, lacrosse and Coalition. Despite her busy schedule, her golden retriever Chester and homemade chocolate chip cookies keep her motivated. She is looking forward to her last year on staff and hopes to get younger staffers involved with mobile ... Read Full »

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