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Jan 19, 2012 10:15 AM

Clinton HIll Pickles. Old Gus's from the LES

431 Dekalb Ave
(between Classon Ave & Taaffe Pl)
Brooklyn, NY 11205

This place use to be Guss Pickles on the LES!

Yeh.. these guys are legit.. 6 bucks for a quart of pickles.. This is opposed to the 12 dollar jars of hipster pickles that contain 4 freaking pickles..

So happy they moved into the neighborhood..

All the pickles are pickled onsite in these huge old barrels.. They have sours, half sours, spicy sours, tomatoes, beets, all sorts of pickled items. I picked up a container of sours, half sours, and spicy half sours..Love em..

This place is awesome. stock up.

Clinton Hill Pickles
431 DeKalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

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  1. Six Dollars? Twelve Dollars for "4 freaking"? Huh?

    Is there anything to distinguish these pickles from the stuffed $2.19 quarts sold at many Kosher stores and made in the heart of (hip) Williamsburg or even the $2.99 containers at Fairway???

    If so, let me in on it.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Mike R.

      The pickles are pretty excellent.. I don't know how your pickles are.. But,if you are happy with what you are getting, then don't fix it. Me personally, I am pretty in love with these guys... Mclures, not so much. But, if anyone wants to try hand made pickles using a hundred year old recipe that was at one time the most famous pickle in NY, it's worth a shot. Do you ever eat pizza outside of those .99 cent places?

      1. re: Daniel76

        Pizza - now you're talkin'...and I'll have a quick $5 buck slice of DiFara's every now and again along with higher end-ers like Paulie Gee's and CO.

        It's not that a $6.00 quart should be ruled out ($12, absolutely) but I'd likely not have a compelling reason to buy it where other options exist.

        Do the Clinton Hill guys add anything out of the ordinary to their pickling mix? Just asking.

        1. re: Mike R.

          I really don't know too much about it.. It's funny, this morning I actually thought of you.. Well, not you as you but, that guy on Chowhound.. I was at my local pioneer picking up these Vegetarian Chicken Bites for a coworker (don't ask) and the guys were putting up those large sale color signs that are pasted to the windows.. Well, the first thing I noticed were these guys putting up a large sign for J&B or some two letters, Kosher Pickles for $1.99.. Haha, I almost bought a jar as I was sure it was not just a sign, sign, but more of a sign, sign. But, the moment went by..

          But yeh, I do not know enough about either one's process to make a comparison or explain them.

      2. re: Mike R.

        So, I thought of your question last night as I opened my Fridge. A few weeks ago, I had a scare and thought the Clinton Hill Pickle lady closed. So, I needed to buy a jar of pickles to test a recipe I was doing for a wedding this weekend. My wife and I are caterers.

        So, I had to buy a jar of B&G Pickled Peppers. Well, it turns out the Clinton Hill Pickle Lady is still opened and I did not need to use those pickled peppers at all.

        But, now that I have the jar I did a side by side. The B&G Pickled Peppers were $3.46 before tax, the large container of pickled cherry peppers are 9 bucks.

        Size alone, it looks like they are about the same price in terms of if the B&G is perhaps 50 or 60 percent smaller.

        But, when quality comes in to play, it's not even close. You tastes the B&G Peppers and they taste of old vinegar. There may be some other shit in there but, all you taste is a chemical sweetness and way too much vinegar.

        The Clinton Hill Pickled Peppers taste of firstly peppers, second, a mix of spices and along with the vinegar.

        If you look at the quality of peppers used. The B&G peppers are scrawny, they looked slightly dried out, the look like they were picked way too soon and were perhaps not even ripe when they were pickled.

        Clinton Hill Peppers are beautiful to look at. They are plump and juicy and look like they were pickled at the height of their freshness. The two together are like night and day.

        Anyway, just felt like sharing.

        I highly suggest people going there and trying all their products. We just bought olives the other day. They are truly special.

        Has anyone else noticed that pickles and more so pickled peppers are in all the restaurants these days? Pretty interesting. Most recently, pickled peppers saved a relatively dried piece of schnitzel over at Roman's the other day. I like to serve them over roasted chicken too.

        1. re: Daniel76

          Great timing...we noticed assorted pickled stuff on the menu last night at Kashkar (Uyguir) in Brighton Beach - $6.00 for the plate.

          You make some excellent points about B&G and whenever possible I try to avoid anything jarred except maybe Brooklyn Brine or McClure's.

          The original parallel drawn was pickled anything packed "fresh" in the same plastic containers as Clinton Hill's, albeit with a different local label. I try to keep aware of peak freshness and "pull" dates, but at high-volume sales stores (including Borough Park Kosher outlets) it can almost be guaranteed.

          Keep picklin'!

          1. re: Mike R.

            Yeh, lots of pickles out there these days..

            I had one really great experience recently and one terrible experience.

            I had the pickled peanuts at Beer Table a couple of nights ago. These were amazing. A little spicy from pickled habaneros. Delicious peanuts went well with the beer.

            Then, I was at Woodwork Bar in Prospect Heights the other night. We ordered a pickle bowl.. If anyone knows about Woodwork, it is home of the pickle back.. It's an all soccer bar where they happen to specialize in pickle backs.

            So, i noticed they have a 3 dollar bowl of pickles on the menu. So what arrives, a huge, i mean huge bowl of cornichons. More cornichons than two people could possibly eat. Some are shriveled but, most of them are so pickled and salty, I could barely eat them.

            The bottom line is, I know how Woodwork makes their pickle backs. With the brine from cornichons. So, they result is, they must have a ton of left over cornichons which they are essentially giving away for a nominal 3 dollar fee.

            My wife and I then had a conversation on all the things they should be serving with their bumper crop of cornichons. I think we moved on to a new subject when pickle soup came up.

            You would think there is a place you can buy pickle juice without having to waste all of those pickles.

            1. re: Daniel76

              As a pickle juice lover, I was never as thrilled as when the local crushed ice operator in downtown Albany, Texas made me a dill pickle juice Sno-Cone back in the day. It was his most popular flavor!

              Cost: About 35 cents.
              Experience: Priceless.

          2. re: Daniel76

            Haven't tried the peppers yet but will soon. The pickles are fantastic. Love the spicy sours. Also a big fan of the beets and cauliflower.

          1. re: Amy Mintzer

            Very good. I'm going to check it out asap. As someone who's been pickling at home since I was a kid, I can say with great confidence that Mclures is garbage.

          2. FWIW, I was browsing some Seamless spots and found that Shelsky's (on Smith) sells a quart of Guss's pickles for $6. I don't recall who ended up with the rights to the name "Guss" but I do recall that it was a contentious story.

            8 Replies
            1. re: JonL

              From what I know of the story, the people that use to run the store on the LES, took the store over from the old owner who was once removed from the Original Gus.. When the movie called "Crossing Delancy" came out, there was a mention of Guss's Pickles.. So, this guy in the Bronx, called his company Crossing Delancy Pickle company or whatever, and filed for the right to license the name "Guss's Pickles" Meanwhile, this mother and her son are running Guss's Pickles, the real place, and was not savvy enough to have licensed the name..

              So, now, the woman and son that is running Guss's pickles hears about this Guy with no connection at all to Guss's is living in the Bronx and is running around selling Guss's pickles.. She sues him., the law is on his side, because he did file for the name, she is allowed to keep the name Guss's pickles as long as she doesn't change locations..

              She decided to move, she can't use her name any longer, so she is forced to change the name even though, she is using Gus's recipes and was Gus's pickles before the guy in the Bronx watched the stupid movie.

              Seems pretty pitiful..

              1. re: Daniel76

                Does that mean Gus does not equal Gus's or Guss or Guss's?

                1. re: Mike R.

                  Clinton Hill Pickle are the same people that was behind Guss's on the lower east side they are no longer allowed to operate using the name Gus, Guss, Guss's, or Starbucks. The new Guss's is from some guy who watched a movie and had a great idea of using an existing name as his own. He certainly is a handsome devil though.

                  1. re: Mike R.

                    It's funny because even on this guys website, the story of his own business has nothing to do with the real guss' pickles..

                    "Izzy Guss was the original owner of Guss' Pickles. Izzy arrived here in 1910. He worked for L. Hollander and Sons and later opened his own store. In 1979, Harry Baker took over Guss' Pickles with his partner Burt Blitz. Through the 1980's into the new Millenium, Harry and his son ran the store. In 2002 Andrew Leibowitz announced the creation of Crossing Delancey Pickle Enterprises Corp"

                    It tells the story of the real Guss' and then he interjects himself into the story and shows there was absolutely no relationship.

                    1. re: Daniel76

                      I am legally changing my name to Pickles. I demand that all of them cease and desist using my name in their brands.
                      I do now recall that story of how they had the right to keep the name & signage as long as they stayed in place but upon moving it all evaporated.

                      1. re: Daniel76

                        Daniel76, I am writing a blog post on pickles and would like to talk/email with you regarding the Guss' story. Could you email me chef at burntmyfingers dot com ?