Pickle & Pie is Wellington’s version of New York’s Katz’s Delicatessen. But rather than serving American-style filter, this new addition to Lombard Lane has upped the ante on its coffee, offering only espresso coffee.
Owners Tim Tracey and Mia Freeman met while working for prominent catering company Ruth Pretty Catering. They would cater to high-end functions for the New Zealand Prime Minister, corporate functions at Government House, or cook extravagant food often in the middle of nowhere. They travelled the world together and worked as private cooks in a château in France to yachts on the Mediterranean Sea.
After their European adventures, Mia and Tim came back to more “grounded” work, with Mia working at Clemenger Bbdo, and Tim at Café Polo, then Spruce Goose. On Tim’s days off he would visit Mia on her lunchbreak, but they found a significant lack of “decent sandwiches” in Wellington, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and opened Pickle & Pie.
“We didn’t want to be just another stock standard café. We knew we had a different concept. We just weren’t sure how Wellington would react to a New York-inspired theme, but in the three months we’ve been open, it’s been amazing,” Mia says.
The delicatessen retains Tim’s passion for the all things US-inspired. It serves Rueben sandwiches, and daily sandwiches that forever rotate in combinations and ingredients. There are also lots of pies because as Mia says, “Kiwis love their pies”, which also change daily.
When the shop opens at 7am each day, the eight-metre counter top features a big maple glazed steak that sits under the heat lamp ready to be sliced and diced for the ultimate bacon and egg brioche bun. At 11am the counter top is cleared to make way for pastrami for the lunchtime Reuben sandwich trade, in addition to its variety of salads and sandwiches. From 4pm, Pickle & Pie offers $18 take-home dinners for the busy worker who wants to eat something nutritious but doesn’t have the time or can’t be bothered cooking.
The good news is that coffee is served all day long on the white powder-coated La Marzocco machine. Pickle & Pie serves Coffee Supreme’s Supreme blend, which Mia describes as “the ultimate crowd pleaser”. “We just wanted something that was easy drinking and smooth,” she says.
The Supreme blend combines seven Brazil cultivars, roasted medium dark to give a milk chocolate cup, smooth silky body, and a long finish.
Deli ownership is not always as exotic as serving canapés on yacht but Mia says it’s more rewarding. “Most people come in on their lunch break and we provide them with a moment of happiness,” she says. “It’s such a great industry with amazing suppliers and a tight-knit community.”
Tim and Mia get Sundays off each week, but they can usually be found making pickles and chutneys – all for the sake of the delicatessen.
Pickle & Pie
2 Lombard St, Te Aro,
Wellington, 6011, New Zealand
Open Monday to Saturday 7am to 7pm