I did a little overdue scouting yesterday and noticed that Pickles ‘n Brew had a Now Open sign up, so I thought that would be a good way to do lunch today. This new sandwich shop is located at the corner of Foothills & Junction right next door to the excellent Kazoku Teriyaki & More. This used to be a Mr. Pickles, and it was an odd one. It was apparently not part of the official Mr. Pickles franchise yet was allowed to use the name and sandwiches. On top of that it had a bizarre Jim Carrey theme to it, with posters everywhere and menu items named after his characters.
Fast forward this year. Mr. Pickles closed down several months ago and the new owners (who purchased it as Mr. Pickles but decided it wasn’t working out) revamped it as Pickles ‘n Brew, catering to a slightly more adult customer base. I took a peek at Yelp right before leaving to make sure they would be open and noticed that they had a perfect rating of 5 stars (albeit with less than 10 reviews). This is a big turnaround from the late Mr. Pickles abysmal less-than-2 star rating.
Click menu image for larger version:
I arrived a bit before 11:30AM and headed in. It was unrecognizable. They completely gutted the place and started from scratch. The only things that remained were the patio tables outside, I think the beverage cooler, and the odd shaped beam on the ceiling which used to follow above the old counter. The space is clean and straightforward. Just a handful of nice new tables with stools, cooler and the kitchen. Even the kitchen looked very spartan. Only what was needed for sandwich making and ringing people up was there and it was well organized. There were a couple finishing up their lunch when I arrived and one worker behind the counter. He greeted me right away and I paused to a few minutes to go over the menu which was on the wall to the right.
It has a lot of similarities to Mr. Pickles but there are enough changes to make it unique. I read pretty much all 20 of their specialty sandwiches, which range from $7.49 to $7.99, and then settled on the #1: Sunset Cruz (Turkey, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Avocado)[$7.99]. I picked Dutch Crunch for the bread and asked for no pickles or pepperoncinis. The rest of the toppings included mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes & red onion.
While he worked on my sandwich I picked out a Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest [$3.50] from the cooler and sat down for a bit, eventually meeting him at the register when he looked about done, around 7-8 minutes later. He had wrapped my sandwich to go by accident so the presentation in my photo probably wasn’t quite as nice as it would be normally. The bread-to-fillings ratio was decent, considering the Dutch crunch roll was fairly thick and dense. The roll unfortunately had almost no crunch to it at all. Flavor-wise it was pretty good, and most of the produce was very cold, crisp and fresh. The avocado was in indeed cold and fresh (I saw him slicing it up), however it was not at all ripe. I love avocado and get it on everything. Until now I don’t think I’ve ever had to chew it though. The hummus was tasty, although I think I would ask for extra next time as it was somewhat thin.
Overall it was an OK sandwich. There’s some room for improvement but they are on the right track. Pickles ‘n Brew is already a massive step up from the old Mr. Pickles. The service was friendly and it was nice to have a tasty beer with my sandwich. I do think they have strong competition in town from Beach Hut and other Mr. Pickles locations (which are generally much better than the one that was here), but if they keep heading in the direction they’ve set out on then they should do just fine.