At KJ’s Pickle Barrel in Kingston, the staff relishes the social media shout-outs their sandwiches and spears earn.
Among the more traditional American deli-style subs and clubs offered, guests have found post-worthy meals in menu items like the Big Dill, which replaces bread to sandwich fillings between housemade pickles sliced longways.
“It went gang-busters,” said manager Rick Dunnum of the trend, which has been a hit with Keto dieters especially. “We’ve sold a ton of pickle sandwiches.”
KJ’s makes its own pickles using a dill and garlic recipe, and occasionally introduces other varieties, such as its Horseradish Pickle. Guests get one included with each hoagie and can buy them singularly and by the container.
Originally opened on Main Street in Edwardsville in 2012, the Pickle Barrel was bought by current owners Dino Riviello and Dr. Charles Scrobola in the fall of 2016. The duo kept the name — “It had a following and a good reputation behind it,” Riviello said — but eventually changed locations to Market Street in April of 2018.
Dunnum, a Wisconsin native who joined the team when KJ’s opened in Kingston, said that the cleanliness, convenience and congenial staff of the Pickle Barrel have made it a success over the last year.
“It’s a good meal at a great price,” he said.
Among the signature sandwiches, Dunnum pointed to the Hipster (oven-roasted turkey with melted Cooper cheese and chipotle mayo on a toasted sub roll), the Reuben (corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing grilled on rye), the Rachel (roasted turkey, Swiss cheese, coleslaw and Thousand Island dressing grilled on rye) and the Crusher (baked ham with smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, a thin-sliced dill pickle and spicy mustard grilled on a sub roll) as the shop’s most popular picks.
Made with Amoroso bread delivered daily from Philadelphia — “one of the big selling points,” Dunnum noted — each of the two dozen or so sandwiches are standouts, including the spicier ones found on the “Wicked Selections” portion of the menu.
Hoagies can be paired with any of the three soups offered daily (including the everyday French Onion), or those seeking a greener choice can pick from the Chef, Antipasto, Caesar and other salads, though the Cobb is most in-demand, Dunnum said.
KJ’s Pickle Barrel serves La Colombe coffee and offers a full catering menu, which includes deli platters and four- and six-foot sandwiches.
With seating for 32 (and more to come), the restaurant is a cozy, bright destination for diners, though limited delivery options — including partnerships with DoorDash and ChopNow —are available.
KJ’s Pickle Barrel
- Address:355 Market St., Kingston
- Established: Original location opened in 2012.
- Owners:Dino Riviello and Dr. Charles Scrobola
- Cuisine: American deli-style
- Hours:Mondays through Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Online: Visit kjspicklebarrel.com and the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Patrice Wilding is a 13-year employee of the Lifestyles Dept. at The Times-Tribune, where she worked her way up from a clerk to a web video producer to a full-time reporter, writer and copy editor. An Olyphant native, she graduated from Mid Valley Secondary Center and earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with concentration in media arts, political science and communications from Wesley College, Dover, Delaware. She lives in Clarks Summit with her husband, Justin, and their son, Johnny. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5369; @pwildingTT