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May 31, 2002 03:15 PM

Guss' Pickles vs. The Pickle Guys.

  • r

Just went down for my now bi-weekly pickle/sauerkraut run and I decided to swing by The Pickle Guys (TPG) and give them a whirl. Here's the result of a quick tasting comparison

Near parity. Although TPGs' new pickle was fresh, clean and tasty, with light salinity, excellent crunch and good cucumber flavor, I preferred the one I tasted at Guss'. Exactly why, I can't say - possibly nothing more than brand-name loyalty.

Major advantage to Guss'. I couldn't taste any particular difference between the half and the new at TPG. This is a big problem for me as half sours are my favorite and I expect them to be somewhat tangy and more of an olivey green than the bright green of news. We can probably chalk this one up to TPG being very new - shakedown woes. Will have to try them again in a few weeks.

Advantage to Guss'. Better texture, more of a garlicky flavor, brighter acidity, slightly less briney than TPGs'.

Major advantage to Guss'. TPGs' 'kraut has a nice clean flavor with no unpleasant off aromas, but it has the soft wet almost cooked texture generally associated with 'kraut. Guss' has the good flavor but also a crisp slawlike texture which is a bit of a revelation. You can cook this 'kraut down to soft if that's your fancy or you can nosh on it raw like hardcore high-acidity slaw.

Split Decision. TPG's store is simple, clean and the wide selection of goods is pleasing to the eye but they're not on the sidewalk. Guss' doesn't have the room to display all their wares in barrels. They are moving half a block south on Sunday to a location that will allow them to spread out some more. Staff at both places are friendly.

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  1. Ain't it grand to live and eat in NYC, one of the 1/2 doz or so chow centers of the USA, meaning what a priviledge I find it is to even have such choices.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wrayb

      Travelling to NYC on Fri. (7/12). Staying in Brooklyn Heights near the Brooklyn Bridge.

      A while back I mail ordered pickles from Guss'Pickles. They were positively marvelous. I went to order some more and the web page for Gus is down. Found your comments in a google search.

      Can you help me with an address and some phone numbers to both establishments? Are they open on Sat?

      I appreciate any help you are able provide.

      Mike Varone
      Woodbridge, VA

      1. re: Mike Varone

        This info is a few weeks old.

        Gus's new address is 85/87 Orchard Street. The temporary cell phone number is 516-642-2634. They don't have phone lines yet.

        The Pickle Guys- some of Gus's ex employees are located at 49 Essex St. They don't have phone lines or credit card capability yet but will by the end of June 2002. Their prices are a bit lower than Gus's.

    2. Several tastings over the years with sour pickles hand carried in a car trunk on a cold January day and matched up to Guss'. Unfortunately Mrs. Whyte's, which are sold refrigerated in Ontario and Quebec grocery stores, are not available in the U. S.
      I would even go further and say that Montreal bagels are better than New York bagels. Different but better.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Joe H.

        I've heard that Montreal bagels are better than NY's, also. But I've never had a Montreal bagel. Can you describe how it's different?

        I'm curious if the Montreal bagels are more like what the NY bagels used to be, and is now in contrast better because the NY bagels these days have evolved into tasteless fluffy doughy things?

        Or are Montreal bagels different from even the good old fashion NY bagels?

        1. re: HLing

          Montreal bagels are a different creature altogether. First off, they are thinner, more bialy than bagel. Second, a Montreal bagel comes coated in sesames as a default. Plain is not the status quo, and if you want it naked you must specify. Also, they are chewier and sweeter, almost to the point where, if you bought one hot and fresh from, say, Fairmount Bagels (St. Urbain and Fairmount), it's almost dessert-like. Because of its more interesting texture (denser, twistier dough) and the ubiquitous sesame seed, a Montreal bagel is much better eaten plain than a New York bagel. If you ask me, and both can be loved for their unique virtues. I would choose Fairmount for enjoying au natural and H&H for slathering in shmear.

      2. Have to say I was very disappointed by new "Pickle Guys", and not just by taste. I thought they were the classic pickle stand, like Guss, make their own products. But it turns out they buy from some company called Sunshine in New Jersey. Its a shame because Guss follows that time honored tradition - their sours are 10 months old - while the Guys are trying to compete with already cooked pickles.

        BTW, I looked up Sunshine on the Food Museum website -they look okay. I just hope people don't prefer Guys to Guss and drive Guss out of business. That would be such a blow to my tummy. Long Live Guss!!!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Karen

          I have spoken to the owners of several large pickle factories and know that Gus's and the Pickle Guys don't make all their own stuff. Much is produced for them.

        2. d
          Dave the pickle boy

          I work full time at Guss Pickles. To put an end to any rumors here are the FACTS.

          Guss is located at 85-87 Orchard Street near the corner with Broome St. (one block south of Delancey, one block east of Allen and two blocks west of Essex and, most importantly, one block north of Grand which is an exit of the FDR Drive southbound)

          It is open from 9:30 to 6:30 Sunday to Thursday and 9:30 to 3:30 on Friday. Closed Sat.

          It moved from Essex last Dec. b/c the landlord decided to make apartments out of the building. It was at the Tenement Musuem until June when it moved down the street to its now PERMANENT spot. There is not yet an awning as of July 28 but the barrels will be outside if we are open.

          Another Guss store with the exact same owner and exact same pickles is now open in Cedarhurst Long Island at 504a Central Ave.

          The phone number at the LI store is 516 509 0909.
          There is not yet a phone at Orchard Street but Tim Baker (the owner) answers his cell phone at 516 642 2634.

          To order pickles for delivery call either number or drop by either place. $50 a gallon shipped two day air nationwide.

          The pickles are the same as always but are now made in the Bronx at 181 and Park due to high rents on the Lower East Side. The owners have been the same for the last 22 years, and Guss Pickles was started in a push cart 92 years ago, got a store on Hester, then Essex.

          The Pickle Guys are not affiliated at all. Just Pickles are not affiliated at all. But don't be afraid to try their pickles. We are not worried.

          See you there,

          3 Replies
          1. re: Dave the pickle boy
            GUSS' PICKLES


            1. re: GUSS' PICKLES

              Does anyone have a new number for Guss' Pickles at the 85-87 Orchard Street location?

              1. re: Max Janeau


          2. Hi!
            Could anyone please give me directions to Guss' Pickles? I used to go there to buy pickles with my parents everytime we visited New York City. Now I'm going without them and have no idea how to get there! Please help =)


            2 Replies
            1. re: Sheva McCard

              Not only directions. . .but is there a web address for mail ordering Kosher dill,very garlicy, newish greenish crunchy pickles?