Discovery Park’s Kitchen Grill & Games will allow family and friends to enjoy food, drink and entertainment, all in one place.
Real Equity Management, the developers of Columbia’s Discovery Park, originally announced their latest project in May 2021. The new site, The Kitchen Grill & Games, was designed as a dining and entertainment complex.
“The original project aimed to capitalize on the rapidly spreading pickleball craze, offering indoor and outdoor pickleball courts, an ice rink and a restaurant/bar – but a much smaller footprint. The almost immediate and overwhelmingly positive response we received from Colombians was so encouraging that we decided to expand,” says Jack Cardetti, spokesperson for The Kitchen Grill & Games.
The updated 10.64-acre site will be located at the southwest corner of Discovery Parkway and Endeavor Avenue, the first such entertainment complex in Mid-Missouri. The Kitchen Grill & Games will feature six indoor pickleball courts, plus four outdoor courts, a large common area for garden games and events, a restaurant and three bars. The concept builds on other successful food, drink and gaming business models, such as Top Golf, which allows family and friends to enjoy food, drink and gaming in one place.
Central States Construction, the same company that built the neighboring Aria Apartments, Marriott TownePlace Suites and Park Restaurant, will begin moving earth in the coming weeks for completion in late spring to early summer 2023.
“We have found that since the pandemic just going to a bar and sitting down has become less appealing. People like to go out, enjoy the outdoors and be active. Plus, with the explosion in popularity of pickleball, it’s a concept that really made sense,” says Jack.
Pickleball was born out of the boredom and imagination of Congressmen Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum and Bill Bell. Today, the obscure game of paddle played with a perforated ball – a quirky cross between tennis, table tennis, and badminton – is one of the fastest growing sports in America. The pickleball net is 3 feet tall, with the lowest center point at 34 inches. The game is played with large paddles, similar to those used in table tennis.
There is a bit of controversy surrounding the name “Pickleball” as some say the game was named after inventor Joel Pritchard’s family dog, while other sources say it is actually coined by Joel’s wife, Joan, because it reminded her of leftovers thrown together. non-runners in the pickle boat of crewed races.
Either way, with 4.8 million people in the United States currently playing – nearly double the number just five years ago, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association – the developers of The Kitchen Grill & Games are capitalizing on the game’s spike in popularity.
“There is a huge demand for pickleball – the interest has driven us to expand the project,” says Jack. “There are recreational teams, club teams and an ever-growing circuit of pickleball competitions that we would like to bring to Colombia.” The COMO-based Show-Me Pickleball Club gained over 250 new members in November 2021.
Pickleball courts are available in three sizes: recreational, competition and stadium. Recreational pickleball is played on a 30 foot by 60 foot court. The six indoor courts and four outdoor kitchen courts are all competitively sized: 34 by 64 feet, which includes a larger area around each court.
Jack says The Kitchen Grill & Games is inspired by a pickleball term. “The kitchen is dual purpose. It’s obviously a restaurant, but also part of the pickleball court – the “no volleyball zone” 7 feet on either side of the net. So the name has a double meaning.
“Tennis takes a lot of skill and can be difficult for beginners to compete with seasoned players. Pickleball is popular because it’s easier to learn due to the smaller court and simpler rules, so it’s a more attractive option for a wide variety of players.
“Almost anyone can play! said Jack.
For those new to the sport, The Kitchen Grill & Games will employ a pickleball pro, who will be available for lessons, as well as a pickleball pro shop for shopping.
The common area
Located between the restaurant and the pickleball courts and surrounded by cabanas and outdoor seating, the 55-by-110-foot common area is a large yard perfect for hanging out or playing yard games like cornhole. The common area includes a 30ft screen with a performance stage below to accommodate live events and performances.
“We have all the fun things people love to do when they tailgating, but in a bigger, nicer space,” says Jack. On the other side of the pickleball courts are pétanque and shuffleboard courts. During the winter months, the common area will be converted into an ice rink.
The Restaurant and the Bar
The restaurant will be set up to serve casual American meals, including small plates to share and local beers on tap.
“The kitchen will be more casual than the Park Restaurant,” says Jack. “It will offer a good mix of flavors and dishes that will complete the experience when you are there – finger foods, things that can be shared. The bar will be an extension of the restaurant but faster.
A large games room in the restaurant will offer foosball and table tennis, and it can be converted into an indoor event space available for hire, accommodating approximately 350 people with catering provided by The Kitchen.
“Columbia has always been a great place to go to school and raise a family, but has struggled to appeal to the 20-30 age bracket. With ever-growing businesses like Veterans United Home Loans, Columbia Safety and Equipment Share in town, we wanted to provide those amenities that make COMO an attractive place to move and live,” says Jack.
Over the past few years, the Discovery Parkway area has seen phenomenal growth as 1,500 residents now live in Aria Apartments, including young professionals, healthcare workers and empty nests who want to live in a maintenance-free place. . Discovery Park also includes Marriott TownePlace Suites, a pet-friendly extended-stay hotel, Park Restaurant & Bar, dozens of local businesses in the office park, and Horton Animal Hospital, a 24-hour emergency service for pets.
Nearby Phillips Lake Park features a 40-acre fishing lake with a boat launch, 2.2 km of gravel walking paths, picnic shelters and a rain garden. The City of Columbia also plans to add amenities to the area, including tennis courts, athletic fields, a sports field, and an event center.
The new home of MU’s men’s and women’s cross country teams, Gans Creek Cross Country Course is located just south of Discovery Park. The 320-acre park is a state-of-the-art facility that attracts state, regional and national meets to the central Missouri region. The course hosted the 2020 MSHSSA Cross Country Championships and the 2021 SEC Championships.
Construction began on the Discovery Parkway extension in early spring, which will create a new main artery in southeastern Columbia, connecting Gans Road to the intersection of New Haven and Rolling Hills roads. The extension will go north of the highway and pass MU’s South Farm Research Center. Other Discovery Park amenities are expected to be announced in the coming months.
“The Discovery Park area has always been synonymous with work, life and play,” says Jack. “As the area continues to grow and more residents move here and more businesses open here, we wanted to provide more entertainment options. So that’s what it’s in The Kitchen Grill & Games.
“At The Kitchen, we look forward to being a destination for families and friends who want great food, drink and great service, but in a relaxed, fun environment that promotes an active lifestyle.”