In a Pickle: From Appetizers to Cocktails, the Sour Snacks Are Hot

Date posted: June 26, 2017

menus

By Rieva Lesonsky

Pickles are cropping up on more and more restaurant menus, according to Datassential MenuTrends. Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) reports pickles are no longer just a side dish and are showing up more than 40% of all menus, up 15% from four years ago.

NRN highlighted the Mister Tuna restaurant in Denver, which features a pickle bar with “about two dozen house-made jars of pickled vegetables and fruits—from cucumbers and kohlrabi to lemons and rhubarb.”

Many of the restaurants mentioned in the NRN article are presenting pickles, not as a side dish, but as important components of entrées.

Pickles’ popularity is not for health reasons. NRN says fried pickles—hardly a healthy snack—“are making a major contribution to the growth in pickles on menus. Fried pickles now appear on 6% of all menus, a 9% increase in the past year, and 85% more than four years ago.” 

The new pickle phenomenon is not confined to food. Datassential says pickles and pickle juice increasingly appear on alcoholic beverage menus. Right now, while only 2% of restaurants with alcoholic beverages feature pickles or pickle juice on their menus, that’s triple-digit growth over the past four years.

Why pickles? (Actually, I get it—I love the half-sour pickles you can find at any authentic New York City deli.) Troy Guard, the chef and owner of Denver-based TAG Restaurant Group, which owns Mister Tuna, says pickles “are fun, and they seem to work, and people dig them.”

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