Openings and Closings

Pickleball Eatertainment Concept Camp Pickle Is Coming to Centennial and Globeville

Pickleball paired with food and drinks is the focus of Camp Pickle.
Pickleball paired with food and drinks is the focus of Camp Pickle. Camp Pickle
"Pickleball is a lifestyle, not a trend," says hospitality entrepreneur Robert Thompson, owner of Angevin & Co. "You hear a lot about pickleball facilities opening, but they're not eatertainment concepts; they don't bring together the model I put together in 2010."

That model became Punch Bowl Social, which debuted in 2012 in a former Big Lots on South Broadway and grew into a twenty-location national chain at its peak. Thompson stepped away from the brand in 2020 and has since focused on other projects under Angevin, including opening the Mediterranean restaurant Three Saints Revival in the Hotel Indigo behind Union Station and taking over The Frenchmen Hotel in New Orleans.

But now his focus is back on eatertainment with Camp Pickle. Last year, it was announced that the concept, which is inspired by 1940s-era camp culture, will open next to the Top Golf in Centennial in 2024. Thompson has also partnered with Vita Development Group to open a second Camp Pickle in 2025 as part of a 41-acre development project that recently broke ground in Globeville called Fox Park. "They put together a shockingly interesting project," Thompson notes. "It's 41 acres at the intersection of two of the busiest travel arteries in the nation."
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Each Camp Pickle will have around fifteen pickleball courts.
Camp Pickle
The development will include "fourteen acres of interconnected parks and open space to integrate culture, community and innovation," according to a press release.

Like Thompson, Vita Development Group's Jose Carredano is a pickleball believer, and in addition, "We quickly realized that we share a similar passion for the projects we take on," Thompson says.

The Camp Pickle concept requires acreage — something that's tough to come by in downtown areas. But Fox Park is maximizing space by building an underground parking system, making it an ideal fit for the brand. Thompson is also looking for a location for a third outpost north of Denver.

Each Camp Pickle location will have approximately fifteen pickleball courts, but will also offer other entertainment options, like duckpin bowling and private karaoke rooms. What really sets it apart from other pickleball facilities, though, is the food and drink program. There will be a scratch kitchen specializing in what Thompson describes as "smoke-influenced Mexican and camp cooking." While he emphasizes that it's not barbecue, he maintains that "the smoke piece is critical."
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The venue will be ideal for corporate events and parties.
Camp Pickle
There will also be forty craft beers on tap, sixteen higher-end wines by the glass and ten craft cocktails, all served from mirrored, self-pour draft walls.

While pickleball itself isn't new, its rise in popularity is, driven largely by the pandemic, when people sought fun, safe ways to socialize outdoors. "Thirty-six-million people played pickleball last year," Thompson says. "It's nuts. It's already ahead of the projections of where we thought it was going."

Another statistic that convinced Thompson to go all in on the sport: "Fifty percent of players are 34 years or younger," he says.

With a wide-ranging fan base, Camp Pickle's throwback aesthetic is designed to "be warm for older generations, and kitschy and new for Gen Z. We can really thread the needle between a lot of different demographics who love playing pickleball, and eating and drinking while doing it," he concludes. 
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Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin

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