We Went to NYC's Only Pickle Store. Here are Our Thoughts.

We put pickle lovers paradise to the test.

July  9, 2024
Photo by Anna Arriaga

As a part of our ongoing Snack Shop video and editorial series, Content Intern Annie Arriaga investigates the latest and greatest viral snack shops in New York City to see if the hype is real, if the snacks are yummy, and if the spot is underrated, overrated, or perfectly rated.

@food52 SNACK SHOP! We went to @The Pickle Guys for our series hosted by @annie where we tell you if this spot is underrated, overrated, or perfectly rated. Where should she go next? #f52community #pickles #pickletok #thepickleguys #tastetest ♬ original sound - Food52

You either love ‘em or hate ‘em: pickles. Regardless of your taste buds’ opinions for or against the sour snack, a pickle renaissance has made waves through the cultural zeitgeist, namely in Gen Z and millennial crowds. From being a trendy tag on TikTok (#pickles at 289K posts), to being the main selling point of a best-selling sweatshirt, to inspiring consumer packaged good brands like Hot Girl Pickles, it’s a bad time to be a pickle hater. Luckily for me, I’ve always been a pickle person.

So, when I was scrolling through candy hauls and taste test videos on TikTok and learned there was a place in Manhattan called “The Pickle Guys,” I dove down an internet rabbit hole. Unlike other ‘viral’ New York City spots, The Pickle Guys doesn’t usually have lines around the corner nor do they perform any innovative marketing gymnastics—online users order various pickles and pickled foods through their online shop, have them shipped to their front door, and film themselves crunching on all kinds of sweet and sour goodies. This humble shop in the Lower East Side is beloved nationwide, some choosing to take the subway and go home with a plastic bag and some purchasing jars of their favorite pickled snacks to have them shipped across the country.

Front of store Photo by Anna Arriaga

While pickles have recently had an online moment, their Manhattan roots run deep, as New Yorkers have been farming cucumbers since the 17th century to sell them on the streets across the city. Tucked away on a corner of Essex Street, the Pickle Guys prides themselves on being the only remaining store dedicated to pickles in a once highly pickle-populated neighborhood of Manhattan. This spot, unlike brands that operate immense pickle factory operations, makes them the old-fashioned way, soaking everything from cucumbers to pineapple in giant vinegary barrels on-site.

Along with their barrels full of brine and assorted veggies (and sometimes fruit), the store’s walls are covered in pickle-themed decor, including a ribbon for 2nd place at the Rosendale International Pickle Festival, and a constant stream of customers buying pints, jars, and sometimes even single pickles in plastic baggies. Pickled onions, radishes, turnips, olives, mangoes, garlic (olives stuffed with garlic), green beans… the list goes on. Employees dart from barrel to barrel scooping up cukes and more with their gloved hands and packing them in containers, all while providing customers with advice, witty jokes, and the occasional sample. My favorite part of the store was the smell. I need a Pickle Guys scented candle: sugary and sour at the same time, the aroma lingered on my fingers long after I finished my pints of pickled snacks.

Pickle ribbons Photo by Anna Arriaga

The Snacks

I was overwhelmed the moment I walked into the store as an expansive deli-style menu stared back at me with a dizzying amount of options. Ultimately, I decided to keep it simple while still trying some out-of-the-box options, so here’s what I went with.

Singular pickles. They’re the only item in the store you can buy one of AND they only cost a dollar. The guy in front of me came in a rush on his Friday lunch break, ordered two spicy pickles for $2, and had already downed the first one before he was out the door. After a first bite, I was shook at the amount of flavor and spice packed into the single cuke, all the while being a crunchy and satisfying snack. The pickle was fairly small in size. Honestly, I think this pickle’s spice and flavor had a similar effect to caffeine–afterwards, I was pumped, energized, and definitely thirsty.

Spicy pickle Photo by Anna Arriaga

Bread and butter pickles. Since this is my favorite pickle style, this was my ultimate test. I ordered a half pint and was not disappointed; sugary and briny in all the right ways, these pickle slices did not last 15 minutes in my refrigerator.

Pickled mango slices. My first thought was that mango does not need more flavoring than they naturally have, but the vinegar and pickle magic gave the sweet, juicy fruit a new, welcomed dimension.

Suspiciously green pickle cotton candy. This is the only product I tried that wasn’t made in-house (it's more of a specialty product they sell along with pickle-themed t-shirts and stickers). However odd pickle cotton candy may seem, I was curious about the flavor and decided it was only fair to try their weirdest and wackiest item. Surprisingly, the cotton candy was fluffy, dilly and sour in all the right ways.

Pickle cotton candy Photo by Anna Arriaga

Final Rating

From extensive pickle taste-test TikTok scrolling to finally visiting The Pickle Guys in real life, my experience was all-around delightful and delicious. I think more people should know and love this store, one that not only deserves a line out the door but also loyal, long-term pickle patrons. So, I declare The Pickle Guys is an underrated snack shop.

If you’re reading this and you have a suggestion for a Snack Shop in the city that I must visit and (honestly) rate, leave a comment here or on our Snack Shop TikTok video. I love suggestions!

What snack shop should we visit next? Let us know in the comments!

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Anna Arriaga

Written by: Anna Arriaga

Sometimes "Annie."A Miami girl at heart with an affinity for strong espresso, sweet treats, and bright colors.