Peace, Love & Pickles is located at 131 First Ave. in Atlantic Highlands. photo credit: Allan Dean

To most, it’s a terrific place to get an unusual sandwich from some mighty friendly and well experienced employees. To others, it might well be just what the doctor ordered!

Lisa and Joe Lomonaco of Middletown opened Peace, Love & Pickles at 131 First Ave., just next to First Avenue Playhouse, late last month, and decided on a soft opening to be sure their team of employees…and it’s big, no fewer than ten!…..had everything down pat!. This week, Lisa, bubbly, enthusiastic, outgoing, and not reticent at all to talk both about how much she loves Atlantic Highlands and how special Peace Love & Pickles is, said her team has done outstanding, works well together, cut their prep time more efficiently to accommodate more customers and is ready to provide an outstanding service and an even greater sandwich, roll up or tray of delicious hors d’oeuvres- looking finger sandwiches.

Yes, the basis for the sandwich a pickle. No bread at all! Simply a sliced pickle, filled with your choice of meats, cheeses, dressings, Cole slaw, Cheetos, onions or whatever else you desire, then folded over or eat as you please.

The part about no bread at all is what is meant by just what the doctor ordered. It’s the perfect lunch, late supper or snack for those on gluten free diets, or even those with celiac disease or post bariatric surgery. In fact, Lisa pointed out, the only bit of non-gluten free product in the entire place is the salami since it’s got an exterior skin on it. So simply skip that, and order turkey, corned beef, roast beef, tuna, or cheeses instead.  Stopping in one day this week, Karen, an attractive woman who isn’t from town but works in the area, couldn’t wait to tell me she switched to a non-gluten diet more than a month ago and never felt better. What’s more, she said, she has some pretty severe arthritis, and her new diet, including those pickle sandwiches, has made even that feel better.

Peace, Love & Pickles also offers all kinds of toppings, from lettuce, tomato and onions with mayo, mustard or Russin dressing, as well as special mayos made with Wasabi or Sriracha. And they make their own roasted garlic, varieties of hot, sweet and banana peppers, and Jalapeno peppers as well.  If you like crunch in your sandwich, add some crushed chips, be they Dorito, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or potato!

Even the drinks sound fascinating here.  A Bloody Mary is a house-made spicy brine-infused tomato and spices juice, a Pinney Baron is Elsie’s special brine with Jalapeno and lime, together with pineapple juice, a Pickled Surfer is brine and lemon, and a plan Brine is available by the bottle at $7.00

Prices for all the sandwiches, be they pickle or cucumber sandwich or rollup, run about $9.50 with your choice of toppings or you can build your own for about the same price.  Of course, Lisa said, they cater with trays as small as seven sandwiches to giant trays with a variety of ten selections offered.

The Lamonico’s started in the business of the Elsie’s Pickles franchise because they saw how successful it is in Haddonfield. They own a building there, and the original Elisie’s rents from them. Seeing that store booming and bursting with customers made them think they wanted to duplicate it in a very special town in Monmouth County.  And in Atlantic Highlands, Lisa can’t think of enough adjectives to describe how “special, friendly, wonderful, happy, Mayberry-like, nice, beautiful…..and more” the borough is.  “Just to be part of it and greet all these wonderful people is enough,” she enthuses .

The shop is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Stop in an pick up a menu, stay a few minutes and hear some might enthusiastic praise for the community, then go ahead…do away with the bread and calories and opt for something special and unique!     

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Muriel J. Smith

Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, in...