In A Pickle: Kind Of A Big Dill
By Sarah Gelmeau and Gloria Kabulo
Located on the corner of Moody Street and Crescent Street in Waltham, a bright green awning emblazoned with In a Pickle attracts a crowd of customers eager to indulge in a cuisine that is among the tastiest Boston has to offer.
Tim Burke, the owner of In a Pickle, always tries to give his customers a unique and unforgettable dining experience that is influenced by the wide array of unusual ice cream flavors created by Ben & Jerry’s. With dishes like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups pancakes or caramel crunch French toast, it is easy to see why this eatery is always crowded.
When Burke first started out in the restaurant business, he was pretty strapped for cash and down on his luck. While trying to figure out how to house his vision, he thought to himself, “Gosh, I’m really (you guessed it) in a pickle.”
“I was always kind of an entrepreneur in high school. I had my own lawn business; I watched kids; I washed cars. Then I got into college and I took a business class, and from junior year on, I was really gung-ho towards opening a restaurant,” said Burke.
And thus, In a Pickle was born. Burke finally found a restaurant site, on Main Street in Waltham. Eventually, he found the Main Street locale to be less than desirable and moved to the present-day spot on Moody Street, also in Waltham. The new location for In a Pickle was formerly a restaurant that had gone out of business, making it the perfect place to set up shop.
“The first restaurant I worked in I was lucky because I worked with a general manager who really taught me a lot of stuff,” said Burke.
Their Moody Street location’s opening day was to be the day of the Boston Marathon back in April 2013, but the date was postponed due to the Boston Marathon bombing. The Pickle crew took the setback in stride and opened the following week.
“This name follows me everywhere. I tell them it’s part of the theme; it’s part of our niche,” said Burke.
The menu is another reason the eatery is so popular —only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients are used. The staff is dedicated to providing guests with the best food possible. All of the menu offerings are made to order, and no frozen ingredients are used in the restaurant.
“We have a whole notebook of different things that we want to try. We read a lot of blogs, and we watch a lot of Food Network to get inspiration,” said Burke.
In fact, the idea for the caramel crunch French toast came to Burke in a dream. The menu consists of what seems like thousands of choices, featuring everything from breakfast sandwiches to omelets and specialty pancakes.
“Ben and Jerry’s is a huge inspiration for a lot of our pancake ideas; that’s where our cookie dough pancake came from,” said Burke.
In addition, there are weekly specials that Burke and his team whip up to bring their guests something extra, such as the banana coconut pecan pancakes—a stack of pancakes filled with sliced bananas, chopped pecans, and sweet shredded coconut, which is then topped with powdered sugar and vanilla whipped cream. Another fan favorite is The Ringer. This belly buster comes with two fresh farm eggs cooked to order; golden-brown seasoned home fries; a choice of Black Forest ham, smoked bacon, or pork sausage; and a choice of two full-size pancakes or two pieces of French toast. Coffee or black tea is included. In a Pickle’s sweet and savory items have drawn many to its delectable menu.
The restaurant’s popularity really began to grow after it was featured in the CBS “Best of Boston,” which has since become “The A List.”
“We won it and we put a big banner up outside our restaurant. We felt like we started to catch some ground; we started to get some traction,” said Burke.
This win helped to attract many new customers to the restaurant. In a Pickle also has a strong social media presence on Instagram in order to draw a younger clientele, typically college students.
In a Pickle was also featured in 2010 on “The Phantom Gourmet,” which is a food-centered television program that features restaurants all over New England on Boston’s myTV38. “Phantom” recently returned to In a Pickle for another filming, which will be airing around Mother’s Day in early May.
Especially interesting are In a Pickle’s walls; they are quirky and inspired by social media. Framed posts from sites like Facebook and Snapchat adorn them. The wide array of witty posts and pictures is sure to attract attention, whether the customer is dining at the bar or waiting to be seated near the hostess stand.
“We grabbed a bunch of funny pictures from the Internet, then had to recreate every single one of these situations ourselves because of copyright issues with the posts used,” said Burke.
More social media posts and photos from different platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram are soon to be featured at In a Pickle. These add to the aesthetic that the restaurant is known for.
When asked what advice he wishes he had received going into the restaurant-owning business, Burke said, “You just have to love it. There’s no way you can work in this business and not be passionate about it.”
In an effort to revitalize the menu, In a Pickle is constantly altering its offerings and will be adding new items this spring.
“We’re going to release a drink menu soon, featuring more cordials and more mixed drinks. When you own something, you’re always trying to perfect it…you don’t want to be a Smurf and wear the same outfit every day,” said Burke.
With its wide array of food and beverage choices and a friendly, cheerful staff, In a Pickle is a unique hideaway that will satisfy any sweet tooth and still leave customers hungry for more. Visit the website at www.in-a-pickle.com for more information.