I hadn’t heard of The Pickle Stand until last week, and I sincerely regret that I only just found out about it. As a senior, I’ve made it my personal hobby to explore Middletown more, because—let’s face it—we’re three weeks in, and I’m already feeling nostalgic. The most recent “new” place that I tried was The Pickle Stand Delicatessen & Tavern, located at 195 Main Street. They’ve got a new menu and a new owner, and no, they do not only sell pickles, although the pickles that they do sell are phenomenal. They have a wide range of selections, including hot specialty sandwiches: this category contains breakfast sandwiches, classic deli sandwiches, grilled cheese, wraps, salads, and more. They also serve wine and have a bunch of great beers on tap.
When you first arrive, you’ll see that The Pickle Stand is everything a charming eatery should be. With an adorable storefront that reminds me of my hometown’s neighborhood deli, the building is adorned with a red and white awning, and the familiar and welcoming feel of it all immediately drew me in. It is deceptively small from the outside, and when I first walked in, I was surprised to find that there is a full bar with about eight beers on tap, some of which include Samuel Adams, Blue Moon, Angry Orchard Hard Cider, and more. They also sell PBR for an extremely cheap price.
There were a few seats to sit outside, but my companion and I decided to grab a seat inside to scope out the ambience. It was pretty dimly lit, but natural light filtered in, just enough so that I felt like I was in a pub in Europe on a Friday afternoon hanging out, even though it was actually a Wednesday in Middletown, and I had class later that day. It definitely felt cozy, and the hard wood tables and bar contributed to the hometown affect.
My friend and I decided to start with ciders. They were having a special of $3 drafts. I’m a little biased, but I believe that you can never go wrong with a little Angry Orchard. After looking at the menu for quite some time (it was a tough decision to make), I ordered the veggie wrap with avocado for $7.95. It was a generous portion that came in a sun dried tomato wrap with romaine, tomato, red onion, roasted peppers, pickles, provolone cheese, and ranch. It not only was absolutely delicious and fresh, but also looked damn good. When the waitress brought over the food, I actually started salivating.
My friend ordered The Beast for $10.50, which comes with corned beef, pastrami, bacon, Swiss cheese, and spicy tavern mustard on a hoagie. To top that off, each of our meals came with the juiciest, yet somehow crispest, pickle I have ever eaten. I could have easily eaten five of them. We were both more than satisfied with what we ordered, and the ciders certainly boosted our moods.
On top of the food being delicious, the service was phenomenal. Our waitress was extremely friendly, and our food came out pretty quickly. When it came time for the bill, she was able to split it between the two of us very easily, avoiding the tension and stress that generally accompanies unconventional handling of the check.
Overall, The Pickle Stand receives five stars in my book in terms of good food, good service, and good drinks. I can see how the seating might get tricky, because it seemed more like a bar than anything else, but if you go with a bunch of friends, I know you won’t regret it no matter how cramped it gets. If you’re on the lookout for a new sandwich, wrap, and salad place, look no further. I can’t wait to go back and try The Knuckle Sandwich.
The Pickle Stand is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.
And yes: If you’re wondering, they also do takeout.