Fried pickles have to be one of the most debated appetizers in the history of Southern cooking. I’ve parted ways with dear friends simply over the fact that they couldn’t understand my passion for such a deep-fried delicacy. But those of us who have this mature pallet deserve quality establishments to eat them at, and Birmingham doesn’t disappoint in this category. The Magic City has your back–here are just a few of the candidates to consider.

Black Market Bar & Grill

Come for the fried pickles, stay for a great experience. There’s always something happening at Black Market. Image: Black Market

This 5 Points South fixture has built its reputation by taking a unique approach to just about every aspect of the restaurant. Comic book tables and the ability to order a mystery burger that could include anything from onion rings to a quesadilla are a couple of examples, but the true differentiator between Black Market and many establishments is the bar’s decision to cut their friend pickles longways instead of the often-seen circle slices. The risk pays off and provides a delicious experience, which the restaurant calls “Pickle Ricks”, along with the sauce it comes with.

Exotic Wings

Exotic Wings has some of the best combo options in town, cooking up delicious wings that can be paired with fish, shrimp, philly cheese steaks, cajun ranch fries, and a medley of other great tasting alternatives. It can be tempting to ignore the other sides with all of this food already available, but Birminghamians should give the fried pickles a try–you won’t be disappointed. They offer regular and family-pack sizes so it’s up to the customer if you feel like sharing or splitting from the pack for this appetizer experience.

Gus’s Fried Chicken

Fried pickles are one of many great sides found at Gus’s. Image: Gus’s Fried Chicken

Gus’s Fried Chicken joins Black Market in providing the spear version of fried pickles, and the result is quite the tastebud paradise. Paired with their famous fried chicken or any of their classic Southern samples will make the dullest day suddenly burst with sunshine in the form of fried goodness. The restaurant’s ideal location at The Battery means you can walk over to Birmingham District Brewing Co. to enjoy your snack with a local beer as well.

Saw’s Soul Kitchen

 Saw’s continues to set itself apart, and fried pickles are certainly part of the experience. Image: Saw’s Soul Kitchen

The collection of Saw’s restaurants throughout the city is famous for an assortment of top-notch dishes, and the Avondale location has risen up from this all-star grouping to become a city favorite. We’ve already included them on multiple lists, and have no shame in adding them to yet another. Their fried pickles join their fried green tomatoes in setting them apart from other Southern appetizer experiences, and the newly-renovated building complete with a bar and much more sitting space is another reason to check out this fun restaurant.

The most important thing to remember as fried pickles lovers is that we must stick together and defend our almighty appetizer. While it’s fun to debate which restaurant makes these little bites of paradise the best, the fact remains that we have so many places to choose from that include so many other great meals in addition to fried pickles that everybody is a winner in the Magic City.

Lead Photo: Saw’s