The area around Grand and Essex Street has historically been full of pickle vendors. Sadly only one remains today. And the owner of it, Alan Kaufman, has seen his fair share of half and full sours.
Kaufman started working in the pickling business in the Lower East Side in 1981. He worked for Guss' Pickle, but after his former employer moved their business out to Brooklyn, Kaufman decided to stay and keep the tradition alive. He opened The Pickle Guys in 2000 and thankfully keeps the smell of vinegar, garlic, and salt in the air.
They moved to a bigger location across the street but still have all their pickles available by the piece, the pint, the quart, and the gallon. And you can bet that they will be a major participant at this weekend's LES Pickle Day.
All the pickles are kosher (as supervised by Rabbi Shmuel Fishelis) and hark back to the strong tradition of Eastern European Jewish immigrants who would have sold pickles (and other goods) from pushcarts in the Lower East Side. We walk these streets and learn the stories of these early immigrants on our Tenements Tales and Tastes tour.
We don't always make it to The Pickle Guys on every tour, but we are always happy to send people their way to try the crisp new pickles, the funky full sours, the spicy horseradish, and the range of other pickled vegetables and fruits. We love the tangy pickle okra and the surprisingly sweet and spicy pickled pineapples.
The pickles are made using traditional pickling methods dating back centuries with no chemicals or preservatives,
In a quickly changing neighborhood that has more high-rise condos than Jewish delis, a taste of the old world is important. Not only are you supporting a local business when you visit The Pickle Guys, but you are keeping the flavors and traditions of this neighborhood alive.
Plus who doesn't love a juicy, tangy pickle? Add a sandwich from Katz's Delicatessen a few blocks up and you have the greatest pairing in the Lower East Side
The Pickle Guys
357 Grand Street
New York, New York 10002