As a Philly native, I can attest that Philly just feels like a pickle kinda town. Briny, acidic, polarizing, and definitely the underdog of meal sides—pickles are much like our city in the sense that not everyone likes them, the ones who do like them a lot, and those who don’t, frankly, just don’t have good taste. That being said, pickles these days aren’t just limited to the deli dill variety (made out of cucumber) that you know and love. Chances are, if it’s some kind of naturally–occurring food product, you can pickle it.
We’ll start with a modern take on an old classic: Grillo’s Pickles. With a century–old recipe and options that will please any pickle fanatic, Grillo’s Italian Dill Pickles are a perfectly garlicky accompaniment to any burger or sandwich. The spicy varieties are never so hot that you lose the flavor of the pickles themselves, and the Dill and Bread & Butter Chips make for addictive and tasty snacks.
If you’re looking to keep it local—but not so local that you can’t get them at the nearest Whole Foods—try Brine Street Picklery’s pickle goods. Not only do they have regular dill pickles (marinated with the addition of mustard seed, which adds a tangy kick), they also have pickled green beans, spicy dill pickles, beer pickles, and spicy hoagie relish made with cherry and green peppers. They also seasonally pickle beets and mushrooms, if you’re trying to expand your horizons.
While Net Cost doesn’t qualify as a pickle brand per se, this Northeast Philadelphia mainstay and Russian market go–to has a huge variety of pickled fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish. While they’re known for Eastern European specialties like Russian pickles, Polish pickles, and pickled herring, they also sell pickled tomatoes, onions, apples, jalapeño, and even watermelon.
While their branding is on point (there’s something about that alliteration that really makes people want to buy their products), with fun names and innovative flavors like Bloody Mary Bar in a Jar, Jalapeño Kisses, and Sweet Hurry Curry, Pernicious Pickling Co. doesn’t just stick with traditional pickle flavors. From classic dill pickles to pickled beans, okra, red onions, beets, carrots, and even cauliflower, their pickles are anything but pernicious, and feature a great variety as well.
While Rick’s Picks keeps the branding simple, and emphasizes that their pickles are tasty while also heart–healthy and low in sodium, their provocative pickle names are what really catch the eye. From calling their spicy Sriracha pickle chips “Hotties” to their “Phat Beets," their products aren’t just tasty, but fun, too. Like many other brands, they pickle green beans, okra, cucumbers, and beets, but they also make relishes: one with corn and the other with the classic dill pickle.
So whether you’re a traditionalist and prefer the classic cucumber/dill, or want an unconventional approach to the pickles game now that they’re trendy and cool, there’s certainly a wide world of pickles out there at your disposal, ready to be explored.