By Bobby Panza
Upper West Siders, rejoice! WSR can confirm the return of Pickles Olives Etc., a.k.a. “The Pickle Guy,” at the Grand Bazaar flea market, which re-opened Sunday on Columbus Avenue, between W. 76th and W. 77th Streets.
The Pickle Guy himself, Simon Karaben, told WSR that he’s been coming to the Grand Bazaar for 12 years now. His colleague, Ersin, said, it’s the “good people and customer base,” that keeps them coming back.
The customers were coming back too, smiles on their faces. There was some initial worry amongst readers when The Pickle Guy wasn’t listed on WSR’s short list of Grand Bazaar participants on June 2nd. I mentioned to Karaben and Ersin the outpouring of love and support from readers, who feared they weren’t going to be at the Bazaar anymore. Ersin said people were coming up with excitement on their faces, expressing that they had some concern over the matter. In the end, all was well on this hot, but not too humid June 6th day.
Ersin went on to suggest some of his favorites at the stand, including grilled olive tapenade, spicy eggplant salad and artichoke hearts. The Pickle Guy’s favorite are the “old-fashioned garlic sour pickles.” Those are known as the Full-Sour Pickles, according to the sign on the barrel.
The Pickles Olives Etc. stand was bustling with action today, especially considering this is the first Grand Bazaar since it closed amidst the pandemic in 2020. One customer told WSR, “I love everything here, huge variety and they’re so nice! Great team.”
I’ve walked past The Pickle Guy many times but never tried anything, despite loving pickles. I picked up a pint of Hot Full Sour Pickles and shame on me because one bite and these are now my favorite pickles of all time. Literally exploding with flavor. You’ll know what I mean with the first bite if you’ve never had them. The blue cheese stuffed olives were amazing as well.
This stand is a gem with lots to try. Thank you to the readers who expressed concern as it led me to this culinary masterpiece today.
The Grand Bazaar market raises money for four local public schools: The Parent Associations of P.S. 87, The Computer School, P.S. 334 Anderson School, and M.S. 247 Dual Language Middle School are the beneficiaries.