Dill with it: Restaurant replaces bread with pickles for its sandwiches

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Never has being in a pickle been such a good thing.

Elsie’s, a sandwich shop located about 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia in Haddon Township, New Jersey, uses pickles instead of bread for its sandwiches.

Its website boasts that the restaurant, which has only been open for nine weeks, is the “home of the pickle sandwich.”

“There is no bread in the house at all,” Katherine Cohen, who co-owns Elsie’s with husband Chad Jordan, told TODAY Food.

The pickle, which is scooped out, operates the same way bread does in a sandwich, placed on either side of the meats and toppings.

Cohen, who estimated they go through about 300 pickles per day, said they use kosher dill pickles, although they do offer spicy ones on occasion. “On average, our pickles are about seven inches,” she said, while noting they come from a “proprietary recipe.”

“My husband and I created the sandwich,” Cohen said, adding the idea dates back to 2015 at a different eatery operated by the family. “We resurrected a family pickle sandwich recipe,” she said.

“We started at pop-up events and the response was good. We’d sell out in about 30 minutes, so we decided to open a brick-and-mortar store,” she said.

Cohen said two sandwiches in particular have proven to be crowd favorites. The Italian, which features ham, capicola, salami and provolone, is joined by the Homage to Katz – a nod to the famous New York City deli – which comes with turkey breast, corned beef, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and coleslaw, as the restaurant’s popular items.

If the pickle sandwiches aren’t your thing, you can also try Elsie’s roll-ups, which feature pickles or cucumbers rolled up around the meats.

Pickles have recently enjoyed a healthy second life free from its traditional role as a side item. They have been placed on pizza, served as a substitute for jelly in the traditional PB&J sandwich, made as a slush flavor, reinvented as a fried chicken flavor, and even turned into beer and soda.

The pickle renaissance is in full swing at Elsie’s, where business is booming, thanks in part to loyal fans who have taken to the unique take on sandwiches. “We have a very solid social media following on Facebook,” Cohen said.

If you want to go to Elsie’s, mark your calendar – it’s only open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. “We currently have a limited amount of pickles available to the public. And we’re a lunch spot,” Cohen said about the condensed hours of operation.

Despite the limited hours, Cohen said customers have been coming out in droves. Sometimes Elsie’s will even open the doors around 10 a.m. to let in people who frequent the establishment.

“The locals know to come in early to avoid the line before it gets mobbed,” she said.