Stuck in a Pickle

When I was younger, my mother warned me that if I ate too many pickles, I would turn into one. This actually didn’t seem to be such a bad proposition to me, given that I often ate a jar at a time. Sours only, though. None of this half-sour business.

Upon moving to New York, I knew I would have lots of options for good old, original kosher dills.

But perhaps too many options.

Today’s New York Times reviews the ongoing battle between the heirs to Guss’ Pickles (or click here, depending on which side you agree with), the definitive Lower East Side pickler.

The story boils down to this: One family has the trademarked name, the other has the famed location.

In my mind, both should and can stay as legitimate picklers in the community. The LES has suffered the loss of too much Jewish culture over the past few years, particularly in the gustatory area.

The closing of both Gertel’s Bakery and the Second Avenue Deli has left few kosher institutions behind. (Yes, I recognize the fusion cuisine of Mo Pitkin’s as having an impact on Jewish life near the LES; however, it cannot be considered a kosher restaurant under any standards.)

Now one Guss’ isn’t even near the original location. It’s in Long Island, in Cedarhurst. The other is on on Orchard Street near the Pickle Guys, on Essex.

If there is something to be learned from the larger world of New York cuisine, it is that multiple restaurants with the same name can thrive (Ever been to Ray’s Pizza?).

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