For those who think the sport of pickleball is just another passing recreational fad like jai alai and racquetball, think again. The statistics tell a different story. According to a report by the Association of Pickleball Professionals, over 36 million people played pickleball between 2021 and 2022, likening its popularity among amateur sports enthusiasts to golf and tennis.
A cousin of racquetball, pickleball combines tennis, table tennis, and badminton played as either singles or doubles on a court similar to tennis rather than on a table like ping pong. The game has already taken off in Atlanta, with courts now open all over the city and surrounding suburbs.
Justin Amick and William Stallworth are betting on those staggering stats and pickleball’s immense popularity when they open their next gaming endeavor together, Painted Pickle, at Armour Yards in December. It joins SweetWater Brewing Co., Capella Cheese, East Pole Coffee, and Fox Bros Que-Osk at Armour Yards.
Like Amick and Stallworth’s other recreational restaurant ventures, the Painted Pin and the Painted Duck, Painted Pickle will go beyond just gameplay. Expect snacks like fried pickles, charcuterie boards, bowls and salads, and panini, along with classic cocktails, local beer on draft, and wines by the glass and bottle. There’s even a small sushi bar planned.
But don’t call Painted Pickle another “eatertainment” venue — a broad categorical term defining a restaurant or bar offering a variety of games. Amick defines Painted Pickle as something else entirely.
“In short, a ‘compeatery’ is a place to compete, eat, drink and be social,” Amick says. “We look forward to putting our stamp on pickleball — the fastest growing sport in the nation —with Painted Pickle.”
At 32,500 square feet, Painted Pickle will feature eight indoor pickleball courts and one outdoor court, a clubhouse with a pro shop, and an elevated central seating area overlooking the center court at the sprawling sports complex. Painted Pickle will include a professional instructor and athletic director in Ivan Vizcaya, who was a former tennis player for the University of Georgia. As a certified PPR pickleball instructor, he’s won five gold medals in professional pickleball tournaments.
Court reservations will be available in limited time slots until 5 p.m. on weekdays, with walk-ins welcome for pickleball and food and drinks. Courts will be first come, first served after 5 p.m. during the week and all day on the weekends, similar to operations at the Painted Pin and the Painted Duck. Each court holds up to 12 players, with gameplay allowed for up to two hours. People are provided paddles and balls and charged per court per hour. All other games at Painted Pickle, including darts, ping pong, shuffleboard, and the indoor putting green, are complimentary. Painted Pickle will also have feature a stage for live music and other performances.
And Amick and Stallworth aren’t done adding to their growing gaming restaurant empire in Atlanta. In January, the longtime partners plan to open Painted Park, taking over the former Brasserie and Neighborhood Cafe at Parish space on North Highland Avenue in Inman Park. Parish was owned by Concentrics Restaurants, the group behind Two Urban Licks and Bully Boy. Amick is the son of Concentrics owner Bob Amick and served as the general manager of Parish for years before founding his restaurant group Painted Hospitality with Stallworth in 2014.
Painted Pickle, opening December 2023, 279 Ottley Drive, Atlanta. paintedpickle.com.