I spent the first seven weeks of summer eating fried pickles

These pickles from Billiards on Broadway stole my heart


The headline says it all.

When I moved to Missouri from Chicago in 2012, I didn’t have high expectations. And that’s saying a lot because I certainly am known for expecting too much.

I was well aware that the closest Apple store was nearly two hours away, that I wouldn’t ever be able to eat good pizza, and that the closest I’d come to a skyscraper would be Columbia’s Tiger Hotel.

But 18-year-old me was pretty naive. The only time in four years I needed an Apple store was in France,my pizza void was filled by Gumby’s (passive voice, I know) on numerous occasions, and Columbia’s constant struggle with building high-rise student housing options would prove to be enough of a hassle that I wouldn’t miss tall buildings.

Luckily, Missouri had its ways of surprising me. One of those ways was an introduction to fried pickles. I’m sure there are places in Chi-town where one can find these delicious treats, but I’ve never bothered to check because it just felt wrong eating them that far north. Since the first moment I tried fried pickles, I’ve been in search of a list of places to eat them. Even in a city as overpopulated with journalists as Columbia, no one had dared to come up with a ranking of the city’s fried pickles.

So I did.

For seven weeks, I took advantage of my time as an editor for Vox Magazine and ate as many fried pickles as I could. And even though I’m slightly ashamed of the number I ate (my friend Paul told me it was unhealthy), I can rest my head at night knowing that I did it all in the name of quality journalism.

I ate some great pickles and some truly nasty ones. I visited parts of Columbia I hadn’t ventured to over the course of four years, met some interesting people, and now feel that I have enough street credit to become a self-proclaimed fried pickle expert.

Think you’ll agree? Read the ranking below, which includes links to my more in-depth reviews.

The definitive guide to Columbia’s best fried pickles