Thursday, July 30, 2009

Opening and Closing - Guss' Pickles

A look at mom and pop shops that are leaving the neighborhood, and the businesses that are replacing them.

It's all over the local blogosphere: Guss' Pickles, the 90-year-old neighborhood staple on the corner of Broome and Orchard, is on its way out - to a lar
ger, cheaper storefront in Brooklyn. Rent was getting too high, Lo-Down reports, and "when the city put a Muni Meter directly in front of [owner Patricia Fairhurst's] pickle barrels, blocking customers' access, it was the last straw."

Guss' may be famous for surviving decades of gentrification and demographic shifts, but it isn't the only place to buy briny cucumbers east of the Bowery. A quick browse on the web turned up a couple of relative newcomers that stay faithful to old-school preparation techniques (and may become, decades from now, the new neighborhood classics):

Pickle Guys
At his store on Essex Street (once the center of the neighborhood pickle industry), Alan Kaufman makes pickles from "an old Eastern European recipe, just as my mom used to make them." At one point, he even got a chance to work with one of the owners of Guss' Pickles.

Rick's Picks

Founder Rick Field, a former TV producer, translated a childhood hobby into a business in 2004. His artisinal corn, beet, and green bean pickles are fancier and less traditional than Pickle Guys' or Guss', but they stem from family recipes and are a regular fixture at the annual International Pickle Festival on Orchard Street.

-posted by Liana Grey

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