Lewiston, NY

The Heat is Unique at The Spicey Pickle

J.M. Lesinski

A shot of the prep bar at The Spicey Pickle in Lewiston, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

When it comes to customizable food and build your own meal options at a great price, as well as a centralized location to a major concert venue, The Spicey Pickle in Lewiston, New York has it down to a science. With ARTPark a mere five minute drive tops, the restaurant has become a favorite spot for nature lovers to refuel at after a lengthy hike along the mighty Niagara River.

The cozy, welcoming entryway of The Spicey Pickle makes it an ideal sit down restaurant, especially now in the summer with the exquisite patio set up out front. Nestled right in downtown Lewiston, the view of the street and up the road in the historic intersection is pretty much unbeatable on a cool summer day.

A shot of the front entrance of The Spicey Pickle in Lewiston, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

The Spicey Pickle employs the “builds your meal in front of you” style of preparation, similar to Subway, Chipotle, etc. with far less restrictions than the chains. Rotating toppings like roasted corn come in and out, for no extra fee, in addition to the numerous mainstays like hot peppers, greens, or the namesake spicey pickles – which are a must-try for any first-time diners.

The build your own options at the Spicey Pickle feature some of the best prices for Mexican cuisine in Western New York period. The most basic of burritos, the small burrito, is six dollars. This includes choice of one meat, choice of rice, and unlimited toppings thereafter. One could get every vegetable if they were so inclined to, and they should be, as pretty much all the ingredients look about as fresh as it gets.

The same options go for the large build your own burrito and the large and extra large build your own bowls. By the way, both large build your own options are eight bucks, and are more than enough food for two meals. The value at The Spicey Pickle for the amount of food one gets is by and large one of the most appealing features.

Of course, there is also a behemoth burrito option for those seeking a mountain of deliciousness. The Nooch is the Spicey Pickle’s massive fourteen inch burrito that comes with two meats of choice, rice, and unlimited toppings from there on out. At ten bucks, the gigantic burrito speaks for itself in terms of value, and the two meat option is a godsend for the indecisive diner.

Tacos at The Spicey Pickle are about three bucks a pop, or one can get the Pickle Pack, three hard or soft shell tacos for eight dollars. Tacos follow the same build your own rules as their burrito and bowl brethren, with the exception of being limited to four toppings after the meat and rice, at least according to the menu. My most recent Pickle Pack, the staff let me get unlimited toppings on the tacos too. Hopefully nobody gets in trouble for disclosing that, but when everything else on the menu is unlimited toppings, why would the tacos not be included in that?

The Pickle Pack at The Spicey Pickle in Lewiston, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

Loaded nachos offer a build your own nachos option for the chips fans out there, while the Pick Six Salad does the same for a build your own salad. Just nachos and guacamole dip is about three bucks for a good side, if one has not already made their meal a combo meal. With any drink in the restaurant an option for a combo drink and nacho cheese a must-try item, a combo meal is always a good call.

There are, of course, additional fees for the premium ingredients like guacamole (about a buck fifty extra), shredded beef (adds fifty cents to any build your own base cost), and extra meat. These too are generally quite reasonable at a buck extra for bacon, two dollars for extra meat of any kind, and fifty cents for crumbled Doritos, Fritos, or nacho cheese.

Of the nacho cheese at the Spicey Pickle, there is something captivating in and of itself strangely enough. At first glance, the nacho cheese looks to be the viscosity and appears to have that cheese whiz texture found in that generic pump cheese. Everyone is basically familiar with the generic ballpark, movie theatre nacho cheese that comes out of a vending machine one Jell-O shot cup at a time and knows it does not even taste like cheese most of the time.

The nacho cheese at the Spicey Pickle is not that at all, and is in fact, mind-bogglingly good. There is no trace of shredded cheese in the fluidity of it, yet the flavor of the almost liquid cheese is much lighter than cheese whiz or even American and some sharp cheddars. Even I have to admit, I thought at first the nacho cheese was the generic stuff just in appearance, but one bite changed my tune right quick. Whatever the secret ingredient in the queso at Spicey Pickle is, it is divine.

There are a number of house burritos on the menu as well, which aside from the core ingredients, also allow for full customization. The Clark Attack is a unique spin on a chicken bacon ranch burrito, while the Dorito Burrito (also called The Baio) features crushed Doritos chips with black beans, nacho cheese, and ground beef.

The Ultimate Veggie is essentially a build your own burrito without the meat, while the Sharppedo and Lewy are two interesting split meat burrito options. The Sharppedo integrates chicken and beef together with the classic simple taco ingredients of rice, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream with choice of cheese. The Lewy does the same with the proteins but features crushed Fritos chips and nacho cheese for a heartier consistency.

In addition to the burritos on the menu, The Spicey Pickle also does a variety of daily burrito specials and some superb chicken tortilla soup. Buffalo Chicken was the special on my most recent trip, which unfortunately sold out literally two people ahead of me in line before I could try it. If one wishes to try the specials, which are well worth the attention they deserve, get there early.

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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