Fried Pickles: Penguin/Pinky's/Diamond
Ok, so first Greg Auten left The Penguin where he had been a chef and co-owner, moved across town, and opened Pinky’s Westside Grill. Then, in January, The Penguin reopened under franchisor Big Game Brands. And now, Brian Rowe and Jimmy King, who had been operators at The Penguin and became partners in the nearby Diamond, have released The Diamond‘s much-anticipated menu and are (finally!) set to open to the public any day now.
(Side note: The fact that Charlotte is able to support three new restaurants where hot dogs and burgers play such prominent roles probably says something about our city. I’m not sure what. At the very least, it says something about our city’s cholesterol levels.)
Anyway, while all of these openings and this drama is fun and exciting for the restaurant scene, let’s get to the really important stuff: The fried pickles. As these were The Penguin’s most famous offering and they’re now offered on the menus all of all three of these restaurants, this begs the question: Whose are the best?
At The Penguin, they’re called Famous Penguin Fried Pickles (with a TM after the name) and they’re $3.99 for a basket. At Pinky’s, they’re called Greg’s Pickles and they’re $3.50 for a small basket and $5.50 for a large one. And at The Diamond, they’re called Classic Fried Pickles (the description reads "the neighborhood’s first and best original recipe." You hear that, Penguin?) and they’re $5.95 for a full order or $3.95 for a half.
So, whose are the best? I haven’t tried them all yet, but if you have—or if you just have thoughts on one—let’s hear them!