Pickle Island is more than your typical grab-and-go local food spot. Arcade games, manga, comic books, and deep-fried pickles can all be found within its doors. Entrepreneurs, Nick Horman Jr., 38, and Matthew Roren, 43, opened its first store in April 2021 in Bayville, that they filled with their passions — pickles and vintage media. In December 2021, a new location with a kitchen was opened in Glen Cove across from Robert M. Finley Middle School at 18 Forest Avenue.
“Glen Cove is nice because there is more traffic, especially being across from the school,” said Roren. “It is hard for the children not to notice.”
Customers have been happy about the new addition to the city. “I love that they orthopened up here in Glen Cove and also love the comic books and arcade in the store because it will attract our young kids to go there and not be out in the street,” Jessica Pajares, a Glen Cove said.
Horman, founder of Horman’s Best and a resident of Glen Cove, came from a third-generation pickle business. Established in 1898, his grandfather, Joe Horman, started the business in Brooklyn. Since then, the family’s organic pickles have been sold at farmer’s markets across Manhattan and Long Island. The businesses main office and facilities, Allen Pickle Works, Inc. is located in Garvies Point, Glen Cove.
The unique quality of their pickles comes from the Horman family approach of meticulously sorting each pickle and storing them immediately from the vine in frigid temperatures to brine.
The idea for Pickle Island started with a simple conversation. After losing his job in March 2020 at Huntington’s Cinema Art Center, Roren, who lives in Huntington, teamed up with Horman to work at farmer’s markets. Their collaboration during the pandemic led to the creation of Pickle Island. “It was just a thing that was said,” said Roren. “A couple of months later he was like, hey I found a spot.”
“I have been doing farmers markets for like 20 years so I always wanted to open a shop,” Horman Jr., said. “Now the next chapter, making cool fun stores with pinball machines and some place to hang out and get good food.”
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Glen Cove establishment has an assortment of specialty items such as eight-ounce jars of olives, stuffed peppers, a variety of dips, deep fried green tomatoes, fried pickle pops, pickle poppers and tuna pickle boats. Their breakfast sandwiches are served with pickles on the side. All pickles are in collaboration with the family business and Horman originals are sold at the Glen Cove store too. Customers can buy 32 oz. jars of pickled asparagus, fermented pickled salsa, and classic, spicy, or chip pickles.
Horman has partnered with Snap-O-Razzo, a sausage brand, to serve smoked hot dogs to his customers. He is looking to collaborate with other vendors to help expand business.
“Now I am working with a really good cook. He has shown me the way of the kitchen,” Horman said. “I think we got some good momentum.”
Local comic book and candy stores have been a rare find on Long Island, especially with the pandemic causing businesses to close. Horman and Roren have been hoping to bring back the reminiscences of their childhood with Pickle Island to Glen Cove.
“I think that there is a need for it. People love small local spots to hangout because that is something we used to have when I was growing up,” said Horman. “That kind of went away for a while but now that everyone is working from home, I feel like there is a new set market for that.”
Roren has been collecting and selling vintage media for years at conventions and expos. At the Bayville location, he has boxes filled with CD albums and movies on VHS tapes waiting to be stocked on the shelves in Glen Cove. Now, with the new store, he has a chance to share his love for media culture with the community.
“The place is very new and they are still setting up, so not so much in there yet, but I found it to be a little gem in the community,” Phil Kitevski, a resident of Glen Cove said.
As business continues to increase, more arcade games may be added to the stores. “We are always looking to give youth something to do,” said Roren.
Along with free stickers, Pickle Island has a hoodie with a pickle design. The apparel is currently sold in stores.