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Guss's pickles


savethedeli
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This seems like an odd situation. Based on what, other than the name, is the current LES Guss' Pickles something to save?

As I read the article, Izzy Guss sold the shop to Harold Baker, who then presumably turned the shop over to his son Tim Baker, who is now leasing that shop to one Patricia Fairhurst. The current Orchard Street storefront is not the original location, the store having changed locations at least twice previously.

Also as I read the article, Guss' doesn't actually make the pickles, and hasn't made them for quite some time. For a long time, they apparently purchased pickles from United Pickle, but Fairhurst has recently changed suppliers.

According to the article, Baker at some point sold the rights to the Guss' name to the Leibowitz family, which owns United Pickle. They were apparently willing to allow the store to call itself "Guss' Pickles" so long as they sold the United Pickle Guss' Pickles. Now that Fairhurst has changed suppliers, they are less willing.

This would all seem to hinge on the question of whether Baker sold the rights to the name or not. If he did, I'd think Fairhurst is SOL. If not, then United Pickle is SOL. Or, perhaps they can both use the name? I know that the original Patsy's Pizzeria licensed their name to a NYC chain that is not under the same management (and not nearly as good) but they didn't give up their right to continue using the name in doing so.

Really, I'd be a lot more sympathetic to Fairhurst if she were making the pickles herself, or even if the current storefront had been in the same location since 1920, etc. Or am I missing something here?

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Really, I'd be a lot more sympathetic to Fairhurst if she were making the pickles herself, or even if the current storefront had been in the same location since 1920, etc.  Or am I missing something here?

Nope, you're not missing anything...fwiw, The Pickle Guys on Essex St. cure their own pickles, and I like 'em better than Guss'.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I've thought long and hard about this. I'm siding with United, I mean c'mon they make the friggin pickles

That chick Fairhurst sounds like an smarmy oppertunist that got what was coming to her...

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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I agree that, in this instance, there's nothing to save. Indeed, the pickle situation overall these days is much better than at any time in my lifetime. The quality of "refrigerator pickles" available at regular stores throughout New York is now quite high. You can go to Fairway, Zabar's, Whole Foods -- any supermarket above the level of a Food Emporium -- and get Guss'-on-a-good-day quality (remember Guss' was inconsistent) half-sour and dill pickles at a price much lower than I remember Guss' charging. All throughout the New York Metro area there are good pickles nowadays. Plus, the supermarket pickles you can get throughout the country have improved dramatically: I see Ba Tampte and similar quality brands all the time in the refrigerator sections of supermarkets in the middle of nowhere.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I agree that, in this instance, there's nothing to save. Indeed, the pickle situation overall these days is much better than at any time in my lifetime. The quality of "refrigerator pickles" available at regular stores throughout New York is now quite high. You can go to Fairway, Zabar's, Whole Foods -- any supermarket above the level of a Food Emporium -- and get Guss'-on-a-good-day quality (remember Guss' was inconsistent) half-sour and dill pickles at a price much lower than I remember Guss' charging. All throughout the New York Metro area there are good pickles nowadays. Plus, the supermarket pickles you can get throughout the country have improved dramatically: I see Ba Tampte and similar quality brands all the time in the refrigerator sections of supermarkets in the middle of nowhere.

I agree with your overall impression; however I've had a hard time with the Ba Tampte brand the few times I've bought it - lots of pickles that are hollow on the inside - generally a sign of mishandling. One of the better jarred brands I see more regularly now is Bubbe's, out of the Bay area, I believe.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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