Cheese blintzes are among the traditional menu items served at Pickles & Rye. (Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News)
In this era of kale, quinoa and tri-colored beets, it’s refreshing to find something bucking the trend. A brand-new deli. Aren’t delis completely out of style?
Open for just three weeks now, Pickles & Rye is certainly a deli, with the requisite mountainous three-decker sandwiches and bowls of matzo ball and kreplach soup, but it’s a deli with a difference. Proprietors Rick Therrien and Linda Collins are making the assumption that corned beef and pastrami lovers can easily co-exist with the vegetarian and gluten-free crowd.
And although it’s much too soon to tell if they will be able to pull it off in the long run, Pickles & Rye looks promising. It took over the spot that formerly housed a Deli Unique, and the clean slate includes a re-do of the former garish interior. Now it’s freshly done up in soothing shades of slate blue and gray, letting the fare provide the color. Because the small deli counter is at the entrance, and not part of the dining room itself, there’s a softer atmosphere for those who choose to take a table or booth.
Like most deli menus, it does go on and on. First of all, breakfast is available at any time of day, starring pancakes, including a multi-grain version with bananas and pecans. There’s corned beef hash and three-egg omelets such as the Mediterranean with spinach, feta cheese, tomatoes and olive tapenade. The deliciously tangy tapenade also works well on a sandwich atop ciabatta bread with pulled chicken, edamame hummus, roasted tomatoes, basil and vinegar and oil. And while kale and spinach do make an appearance, there’s also a salad that includes corned beef, turkey and cheese along with the greens and tomatoes.
Ciabatta is just one of no less than nine available breads, from marbled rye to onion roll and pumpernickel, all fresh from a good local bakery. Salads are served in big glass bowls, making them easy to share.
Granted, there’s no restaurant that has, in that awful cliché, “something for everyone,” but this new spot can certainly please an array of tastes, from those who want traditional deli fare to the dressing-on-the-side crowd.
The snappy logo on the menus and over the door is an original drawing by artist Jerry Phillips, who happens to be Therrien’s father-in-law. It is just one of the touches that shows that this is a family enterprise, not a corporation. Most of the physical transformation, including the new tile on the floor at the entrance, electrical work, painting and major clean-up was done by the proprietors themselves with the help of friends and family.
The weak link at this point is service. The young crew is still getting acclimated to what it takes to be efficient.
Pickles & Rye
6724 Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield Township
Call: (248) 737-3890
Rating: 2 1/2 stars (out of 4)
Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
Prices: Breakfast dishes $4.99-$13.99, sandwiches $6.99-$13.99, salads $6.99-$11.99, soups $2.89-$9.99, desserts $1.49-$4.99
Credit cards: All major
Noise level: Moderate to high
Parking: Attached strip mall lot
Wheelchair access: No barriers