The original Guss’ Pickles on the Lower East Side. Image via Guss’ Pickles
New Yorkers take food seriously right down to the pickle on their plates. After all, the pickle has history in this town. It started as a peddle-cart finger food back in the 1930s on the Lower East Side. With a plethora of competition, it didn’t take long for the best pickle vendors to emerge successful and among them was Isidor “Izzy” Guss of the famous Guss’ Pickles. His pickles lived on after his death in 1975, creating a sort of pickle war between the family who bought his business and the company who sold him his cucumbers. In the end, the name Guss’ Pickles went with the cucumber supplier. The Baker family, who bought Guss’ pickle business eventually sold to Patricia Fairhurst who renamed her shop Ess-a-Pickle and then, after moving to Brooklyn, Clinton Hill Pickles.
In honor of National Pickle day this Friday November 14th, we’ve made a list of our favorite pickle places in New York City.
Clinton Hill Pickles is a change in name only. Even their phone number remains the same. At their new location at 431 Dekalb Boulevard in Brooklyn we hear that the owner still has the original Guss’ Pickle signage in her storeroom.
It all started on Essex Street (aka Pickle Alley) but of the 80+ pickle vendors that once graced these streets, The Pickle Guys are the only shop left in the area.
Jacob’s Pickles has palate pleasers like fried pickles and a pickle topped chicken biscuit sandwich. Besides options of seemingly everything pickled, it’s also full service restaurant with a great rustic interior and classic dishes like mac and cheese, grits and turkey leg.
Available at NYC’s farmer’s markets and through community shared agriculture programs like Local Roots NYC, Rick’s Picks artisanal pickles are simply fun and tasty with items like “mean beans,” “phat beets,” spicy sriracha-habanero “hotties,” “kool gherks” and more. There are also sweet pickles. Check out where they’ll be at the next farmers markets.
When you visit Brooklyn Brine in Gowanus, you get to also visit the “brinery,” which means you can buy some small-batch products that are only available in the store. The full line of pickles and sauces are also available, soda pops and t-shirts.
While it is true that The Pickle Guys, Clinton Hill Pickles and the owner of the online Guss’ Pickles have dominated pickle conversation for decades, some rather glorious pickles can be found accompanying dishes at Russ & Daughters, Katz’ Deli, Carnegie Deli and the like. With so many pickle havens, we have a lot to choose from. What are your favorites?
Contact the author at AFineLyne