Chances are, if you've gone into downtown Modesto, you've noticed the dancing pickle.
Five days a week, the jolly green snack food is grooving outside of the Mr. Pickle's Sandwich Shop. Inside the shop, you will find an assortment of fresh and hearty, hot or cold sandwiches.
Husband-and-wife owners Eric and Debra Del Toro
opened their first Mr. Pickle's in downtown Modesto in May. The shop was so successful that they opened another location, across from Beyer High School, in December.
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Daughter Erica Del Toro, who helps run the shops along with her parents and two younger sisters, said the secret to their success is simple: quality products, fresh ingredients and great service. "We try to treat people like they're eating in home," she said.
The West Coast franchise specializes in sandwiches that range from signatures like the hot Mr. Pickle (chicken, bacon, avocado, jack cheese) to the Italian Stallion (ham, pastrami, bacon, cream cheese and avocado). All sandwiches come with choice of bread (Dutch crunch, sweet and sourdough rolls or sliced wheat) and toppings (choice of cheeses plus mayo, mustard, garlic sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickles, peppers and onion).
Sides include macaroni, pasta, potato and green salads. Larger chef, chicken and tuna salads also are popular. Daily specials, as well as soup, are available, too. Each sandwich comes with a chocolate chip cookie.
Del Toro said that while the dancing pickle may get people inside, it's the food that keeps them coming back.
"A lot of people say that's how they hear about us; they say, 'Oh, we saw your dancing pickle outside,' " she said. "But the freshness of our food and friendly environment is what we hear also. We have a lot of regulars that come back."
-- Marijke Rowland
Restaurant: Mr. Pickle's Sandwich Shop
Location: 1801 H. St., Modesto; 525-8500
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-
4 p.m. Saturdays (Oakdale shop open seven days a week)
Price ranges and house specialities: All sandwiches, hot and cold, are $6.99 and come with a chocolate chip cookie. Popular choices include the Mr. Pickles and Hang Loose (hot pastrami, bacon, avocado and cream cheese). Other options include the House Combo (turkey, salami, ham and American cheese), Tuna Tuna (tuna, Swiss cheese, avocado, cucumbers), Fast Eddy (roast beef, melted cheddar, barbecue sauce) and Veri Vegi (cheese, cucumber, avocado). Side salads ($1.99-$3.99) and entree salads ($5.99) also are available.
Bar: No alcoholic beverages sold
Reservations: None required, phone-in orders taken
Accepted Payments: ATM, debit or cash
For Children: Sandwich on sliced wheat with ham, turkey or peanut butter and jelly comes with a Capri Sun drink and cookie for $3.99. High chairs and booster seats are available.