This New York Deli's Viral Sandwiches Ditch Bread For Pickles

It seems like every week, another food becomes TikTok-trendy. The latest item to have its moment in the spotlight is a pickle sub, and I have to say, I'm a little suspicious. Everyone in the comments on the original TikTok video that's causing all the commotion seems to think it looks amazing, but I'm over here thinking, "Isn't the pickle trend over already?" Guess not. Anyway, the deal (or the dill, haha) is that back in January a Long Island Deli called Seven Brothers Gourmet Food Market started selling subs stuffed into oversized pickles. The sandwiches didn't begin blowing up, however, until a TikTok content creator known for her food reviews posted about them in May.


Pickle sandwich🥒🥪😍 SO GOOD !!! #picklelover #pickletok #foodtiktok

♬ Cena Engraçada e Inusitada de 3 Minutos – HarmonicoHCO

The creator, who now calls herself "Pickle Sandwich Girl," has since posted a bunch of videos of herself eating different Seven Brothers pickle-wrapped creations, and two of these videos have over four million views each. Not only are the videos popular, but so is the sandwich — as of late June, Seven Brothers reported selling around 250 pickle sandwiches a day, some of them to people who have traveled from other states. Most of the crowd, the restaurant says, consists of teenage girls, since they seem to be the target demographic for TikTok food fads. In order not to drive off regular customers, though, the deli created a special line just for pickle sandwich orders so customers wanting plain old breadwiches can be served before the loaves go stale.


Seven Brothers didn't invent the picklewich

While Seven Brothers may be in the spotlight at the moment, it's hardly the first to come up with the idea of using pickles instead of buns. A New Jersey deli known as Elsie's Sub Shop actually went into business as a pickle sandwich popup offering sandwiches served on scooped-out kosher pickles. When the proprietors opened a brick-and-mortar location in 2019, at first they were selling around 300 picklewiches per day, but five years later, the thrill may have worn off. By now, bread buns are the standard order at Elsie's, while pickle buns have been relegated to a low-carb option available at a slight upcharge.


Another food vendor known for putting things in pickle buns is The Tikki Turtle, which runs stands at fairs and festivals in New York State. One of its signature items is a Reuben picklewich, while another is a hotdog with sauerkraut, hot sauce, ketchup, and mustard (but no relish) all on a pickle bun. Even out in Omaha, Nebraska, a deli called Pickleman's was offering picklewiches back in 2018, but then, Omaha always has long been ahead of the trend when it comes to all things deli. This city, after all, can also lay claim to being the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich.

You can easily DIY your own picklewich

Even though the idea of using pickles as sandwich buns may be getting a lot of media attention at present, it's pretty simple and easy to DIY. In fact, a number of websites have posted recipes for picklewiches, some of which predate the current craze. Pickles make for a flavorful low-carb bread replacement. You don't even need a recipe, since all you do is take a pickle, cut it in half, and scoop out the pickle guts. After you've eaten these (it's a shame to let food go to waste), stick some cheese and deli meat in the hollow, slap your pickles together, and you have your very own picklewich.


The only problem you may run into is creating a sufficiently sizable sandwich if you can't find extra-large pickles. Mini pickle subs would be cute, though, plus they'd combine two TikTok food trends: picklewiches + the tiny foods that were so popular circa 2020 (Anyone remember itty-bitty pancake cereal?). You could also use thin sandwich-sliced pickles to make wraps or roll-ups. Get as creative as you'd like with these picklewiches — me, I'll just be over here with my boring old lettuce wraps. Lettuce, at least, allows me to taste the fillings, and in my opinion, unobtrusiveness is an underrated but valuable quality in sandwich vehicles.