Smash Park combines food, beer and backyard fun in West Des Moines
Zachary Boyden-Holmes, DesMoines
The owners of the Des Moines metro’s newest food and entertainment venue want guests to feel like they’re sitting down to eat at a friend’s backyard barbecue.
Smash Park — part restaurant and part game center — opens Friday east of Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines.
“We want people to come eat, drink, play and hangout,” said Kerri Lockyear, who is opening the business with her husband, Monty. “We’re going to rely on people wanting to have fun.”
The expansive facility includes a fast-casual restaurant serving items such as Angus burgers, flame-roasted rotisserie chicken and salads. There is an indoor bar area and two more bars on the outdoor patio.
Games include six indoor and two outdoor pickleball courts, stand-up shuffleboard, bags, bocce ball, pingpong and board games.
All the games, except pickleball, are free to play. There is a $15 per hour fee to reserve the shuffleboard or bocce ball courts for groups that want to play at a specific time. Otherwise the courts are available on a first-come basis.
Pickleball is $7 per day on courts that aren’t reserved. To reserve a court, it’s $10 per half hour before 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and $20 per half hour in the evenings and on weekends. Paddle rentals are $3, and pickleballs are $2. (You can keep the balls.)
Smash Park is part of a social, active entertainment trend sweeping the country. Franchises like Top Golf, Pinstripes and Punchbowl Social feature food and drinks while offering indoor golf, bowling and arcade games.
Three indoor golf simulator restaurants and two ax-throwing businesses have opened recently in the Des Moines metro. And in the East Village, Up-Down serves up a dose of nostalgia in an arcade-bar atmosphere.
What sets Smash Park apart is its ability to offer simple backyard games that are accessible to almost everyone, Kerri Lockyear said.
“It’s something you can’t find anywhere else — at least not yet — in the area,” she said. “It’s meant to be very active, very social and very open.”
A majority of Smash Park’s 47,000 square feet is dedicated to pickleball, a game that has become the fastest growing sport in the nation, according to USA Pickleball Association, the organization that governs the sport.
Pickleball is played on a badminton-size court — about a third the size of a tennis court — with a hard paddle and ball that resembles a whiffle ball. The game combines rules from tennis, racquetball and badminton.
Smash Park has an activities director who is in the process of becoming a certified pickleball trainer. Employees will be available to teach the game to casual players and beginners.
Cocktail server Denise Fechner, a pickleball enthusiast, said the game is easy to pick up. “It’s just a fun game,” she said. “It’s quick moving, it turns a lot and there’s not a lot of standing around.”
Pickleball, shuffleboard, bocce ball and bags leagues begin in October. The facility plans to host training clinics and regional tournaments.
WHAT: Smash Park, a new restaurant and entertainment center
WHERE: 6625 Coachlight Drive, West Des Moines
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
WEBSITE: Find it at Smashpark.com or on Facebook
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