Pickleball. It’s one of those funny-sounding sports you may have heard referenced in the past, but haven’t actually seen, let alone participated in. However, the underground sport has quickly picked up popularity in recent years, forcing the hand of many cities to begin adding pickleball courts for lovers of the activity. Now, if you call The Valley home and have a love of the game, or simply have been interested in trying it out, you’ll have a new destination to visit. All while downing a cold beer and munching on a wide selection of food menu items.
Eureka Restaurant Group is based out of California and has been looking for an Arizona location to set up a pickleball-themed restaurant and activity center. It’s settled on Tempe. The restaurant is fully invested in making the restaurant truly one-of-a-kind here in Arizona, which is why the restaurant itself will be over 7,000 square feet, plus 3,500 square feet of patio space, plus nine pickleball courts, several bocce ball courts, setups for cornhole, and even plenty of space for music events and yoga classes.
The restaurant, which will be called Electric Pickle, will be located between South Emerald Drive and South Jewel Street. The massive size of the restaurant and entertainment complex will take up the entire block, which should give guests plenty of room to enjoy their food as well as a friendly game down on the grass.
Electric Pickle is scheduled to open in Tempe sometime next year, although an exact date has not yet been publicly announced. The Eureka Restaurant Group has several destinations spread around the country, including Austin, Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, Boise, and Cupertino, just to name a few. Each location is unique and offers something different from the other locations. Tempe will be one of the first destinations for a pickleball restaurant.
Pickleball is a court-based game, similar to tennis, only the court is smaller, and instead of using a racket, you use a paddle. The tennis ball is also replaced with something similar to a Wiffle ball. Essentially, it’s the marriage of table tennis with traditional tennis at a slightly slower speed. The game itself has been around since the 1960s when it was created in Washington. Slowly, as snowbirds moved down to California, Arizona, and Florida for winters, they brought the game with them. Now, the game has spread to pockets around the country, mostly because snowbirds would share the game with friends from other cities, and then those snowbirds would return home with the game.
The Eureka Restaurant Group decided on Tempe because not only is there a large makeup of both winter and year-round snowbirds in the area, but with the game becoming popular with college students as well, Arizona State University was simply the icing on the location cake.