An innovative concept envisioned by Robert Thompson, the founder of Punch Bowl Social, is poised to make its debut next year, creating huge interest and investment from notable players in the restaurant and pickleball worlds.
Camp Pickle, a unique eatertainment space, has successfully secured $200 million in growth capital from some major players, including Simon Property Group, a leading mall operator, along with pickleball-focused venture capital firms Good Alpha and Align Capital Partners.
The infusion of capital, garnered at the parent company and unit level has paved the way for additional development and expansion opportunities.
Camp Pickle stands out as a flagship brand under Thompson’s platform company. According to Restaurant Business, the concept will materialize in Centennial, Colorado, in the fall of 2024, showcasing two distinct formats for expansion:
A larger campus spanning 70,000 square feet will encompass indoor and outdoor courts, while a more compact 40,000- to 48,000-square-foot variant aims to penetrate urban markets.
A Scratch Kitchen
A significant emphasis on a comprehensive food-and-beverage operation, comprising a scratch kitchen, is projected to constitute around 80% of total sales.
Coming in 2024: Camp Pickle 🏢— Front Office Sports (@FOS) September 21, 2022
➖ 55,000+ sq. ft.
➖ Indoor, outdoor courts
➖ Scratch kitchens
➖ Duckpin bowling, darts
➖ 1940s rustic “summer camp vibe”
The first locations are planned for Huntsville, AL and Denver, CO. pic.twitter.com/cUpXBD0iWr
Camp Pickle’s offerings will extend beyond pickleball, potentially integrating elements from Jaguar Bolera, another of Thompson’s eatertainment concepts. This pairing will provide such diverse recreational experiences as bowling, darts, and karaoke to complement the pickleball angle. Likewise, Jaguar Bolera may incorporate pickleball courts into its locations.
Simon Property Group’s involvement encompasses a forthcoming Camp Pickle establishment adjacent to a mall in Tulsa, Oklahoma, slated to open in the second quarter of 2025.
Further prospects for Camp Pickle locations within Simon malls are being explored, accompanied by Simon’s equity investment in the parent company.
The participation of Good Alpha, an investor with a strong foothold in the pickleball domain, adds to the concept’s strategic positioning. Good Alpha’s portfolio demonstrates their substantial interest in the sport, with entities like Major League Pickleball and the Mad Drops Pickleball Club among their interests.
The success of Camp Pickle’s funding, paired with the synergistic relationship with Simon Property Group, indicates a dynamic future for this pioneering eatertainment concept. With anticipated locations spanning Centennial, Tulsa, Denver, Huntsville, Alabama, and Charlotte, North Carolina, Thompson envisions a robust expansion trajectory with aspirations for 10 locations in development by 2027.
The convergence of pickleball’s sociable nature, rising demand for venues, and the fusion of recreation and dining have triggered this recent growth of innovative eatertainment concepts.
As the Camp Pickle venture evolves and the concept prepares for its much-anticipated launch, it shows how entertainment, sports, and hospitality can intersect in a pioneering, engaging, and, of course, profitable way.
Click here to read more of our articles featuring the Camp Pickle story.
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