Forget your traditional idea of the long, green, bumpy pickle. At The Little Pickle, pickled fruits and vegetables are whatever Bradley Malinowski dreams them to be: mangoes, bell peppers, even avocados.
Bradley and his wife, Lindsay, opened The Little Pickle in Logan Square in late October, where they sling sandwiches, pickle flights, and the occasional bowl of soup at 3703 W. Fullerton Ave. Both have nearly 20 years restaurant experience. Lindsay handles customer relations while Bradley serves as pickle and sandwich artiste.
“We’ve been hoping to open our own place for a long time,” Lindsay said.
The Little Pickle is no run-of-mill deli. Sandwiches are B.Y.O. with your choice of house-roasted meat (pork, chicken or seitan) on Chicago-style French rolls. Follow up with a housemade sauce, and top it off with one of six pickle varieties. (Pickle flights are offered a la carte for those who’d like to try them all.) German-style sides cap the meal: Choose from sauerkraut, Balsamic pickled eggs, and potato and pasta salads. Specials come through on a weekly basis.
“I have a background in German cooking and I love the traditional aspect of it,” Bradley said. “There’s a lot of passing recipes down amongst family and friends.”
Bradley’s interest in pickling was piqued while working at nearby Logan Square German eatery The Radler.
Former head chef/partner Nathan Sears showed him the ins and outs of his pickling passion. From there, Lindsay and Bradley started pickling experiments at home.
“I love how you can play off textures and the natural flavors of vegetables through pickling. It makes everything else pop,” Bradley said.
The pickled avocado is a customer favorite, one the duo didn’t expect but don’t disagree with.
“We pickle it very gently,” Lindsay said. “It’s still got a nice vinegary bold pickle flavor but maintains the creaminess of the avocado.”
They’ve also had an unexpectedly steady crowd of vegan and vegetarian customers. Many menu items are vegan-friendly, including the pickles, sauces, and two of the sides. All animal products are humane-certified and local.
The shop is a cleanly designed space thanks to Lindsay’s eye. The walls are covered in white subway tiles, exposed brick, and reclaimed wood. White tin tiles fill out the ceiling, and bright yellow chairs and hanging plants provide pops of color.
Community, they said, is the best part of being the pair behind the pickles.
“We’re so excited to be in this neighborhood,” Lindsay said. “We just love to hang out with our customers and get to know them.”
“Everyone gets along and wants to know what everyone else is up to,” Bradley added. “It’s nice being part of a community like this one.”
The Little Pickle is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed Sunday and Monday. The full menu is available at thelittlepicklechicago.com.