For holiday charcuterie, the new Pickletopia store devoted to all things pickled is the logical second stop after Jimmy’s Food Store in East Dallas. Pick up the cured meats and cheeses at Jimmy’s, then segue across the street for pickled okra and giardiniera at Pickletopia, where Lee Theilen has transformed a hobby into an artisan food enterprise.
“I retired three years ago and had been doing a lot of pickling at home for friends and family,” Theilen says. It was so good, they encouraged him to go into business.
One of his first efforts was sauerkraut, the really sour pickled cabbage German families traditionally used to make in stone crocks. Then he discovered his grandmother’s bread-and-butter pickle recipe on a piece of paper in an old family cookbook. “I loved my grandmother’s bread-and-butter pickles,” he said, so he made a batch. “My uncle said, ‘You nailed it.'”
From there, he’s gone on to sour pickles, which are gradations from “new” (lightly brined) to half-sours (brined three weeks) to full sours (six weeks), which are so sour your lips will pucker.
Right now, just into his soft opening, he has about 15 different items pickling away in barrels around the store, including purple onion slivers, mushrooms, turnips, crunchy jalapeño rounds, okra with a bread-and-butter-pickle base, bread-and-butter pickles and more.
Theilen is still working out the kinks and expects to have a grand opening in January. I’d love to see him post descriptions by then, so he doesn’t have to pickle-‘splain anew to every customer. Then again, those samples speak volumes on their own.
Also coming in the new year: relishes, salsas and — wait for it — Thai chile hot sauce (best known as Sriracha). Fresh, artisan Thai chile hot sauce. I don’t know about you, but I’m in.
Pickletopia, 4812 Bryan Ave., Dallas. 214-238-2218. Website coming. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.