As a resident in the Davidson area, I have been to many restaurants throughout the years. Nothing makes me happier, though, than a good sandwich and a bowl of soup from one of my favorite restaurants – The Pickled Peach. Set back in a little nook off Main Street in downtown Davidson, this place offers something special to its diners and it never disappoints.
Owners Jen and Travis Jentz opened The Pickled Peach in 2014. “We wanted this place to be comfortable and approachable, while making simple, honest food,” said Jen. The name, Pickled Peach, is a story as unique as the food and experience the restaurant offers. Originally from Michigan and after moving to the South many years ago, Jen developed a love for southern cooking and southern cookbooks, where she first learned about pickled peaches. “The idea of pickled peaches seemed like this little hidden gem that southern grandmas know all about and I loved that.” Taking it one step further, the restaurant’s name elicited memories of her childhood nickname, “Peach,” bestowed upon her by her father. “It all just seemed to fit,” she recalls. “It’s like a little piece of me, a little piece of a culinary connection and a little piece of a southern connection too,” Jen recalls. “It all felt right and not too fussy.”
They hit the nail on the head because “not too fussy” is the perfect way to describe the experience at the Pickled Peach. She told me that they they haven’t reinvented the wheel here – they are just making great food with great ingredients. She explained “You just start with great ingredients and get out of the way. You take a turkey breast, add fresh herbs and olive oil and put it in the oven and slice it up and serve it on a sandwich. It’s really simple, but it’s not often done.” She further elaborated on the concept of the great ingredients with the example of how they take tomatoes in the summertime and roast them at their highest peak of flavor so that in the wintertime, they have more flavorful tomatoes. That’s why their sandwiches taste so amazing in the wintertime – they have the most flavorful ingredients to start with, no mater what time of year.
Not only does the food taste good, the concept behind the restaurant and the foundation it is built upon is also good. According to their website, they “source what [they] believe to be the best ingredients possible for the menu [they] serve. That usually means choosing organic produce and natural or grass fed meats, but sometimes [they] find that a local-picked-yesterday-down-the-street tomato looks, smells and tastes better than its organic counterpart picked green and shipped across the country. All of our ingredient choices are thoughtfully made for their taste and ability to nourish our bodies and souls.”
As a customer, knowing this, I feel better about what I am eating, knowing it’s made from fresh, simple, quality ingredients. Additionally, they source the majority of their ingredients from North Carolina farmers. “And that feels really good too,” said Jen.
The menu consists of sandwiches, salads, baked goods and soups. Oh, the soups! The soups are what did me in. I can’t go a week without stopping in for a bowl (or three) of soup. After talking in more detail with Jen about the intention and process behind the soups, I am even more in love! They wanted the soup to be a standout for the restaurant and there is a lot of thoughtful intention that goes into it every day. First, the magic number of soups offered is three. They vary in taste, texture and color and provide scrumptious options for a plethora of different taste buds. The day I visited with Jen, the soup selection included: White Bean Bacon, Turkey Quinoa and Lentil Mushroom (I went with the White Bean Bacon and haven’t stopped thinking about it since!) The best part to me, other than the taste obviously, is that they want the soups to be accessible to everyone – both to see, smell and even taste. “Tasting the soups is important,” said Jen. “We want people to taste our food as much as possible. You might discover something you didn’t know before you tried it.” With this in mind, there are soup spoons available for you to try each soup straight out of the pot before you make your choice. Jen said “The last thing I want you to do is to sit down with one of the soups you don’t want.”
As if the restaurant options aren’t enough, they are expanding and opening a Market adjacent to the restaurant that will feature cold pressed juices, smoothies, coffees, and artisan groceries. The Market will offer “grab and go” items from the restaurant (Yes! More soup for me to enjoy at home!), take home dinners, pantry items, cheeses, fresh produce, and more. Jen said they have done their research and are sourcing the artisan groceries (e.g. jams, jellies, oils, etc.) from reputable companies and people who approach food and care about food the way that they do at the Pickled Peach.
Again, the philosophy behind this restaurant is what sets it apart. When you combine that with the amazing food, the eclectic décor (complete with real flowers on every table in the spring and summer – it’s the little touches, y’all!), and the new Market – it is truly a community restaurant that you can feel good about supporting. And PS… when you try out the restaurant (and you absolutely should), make sure you taste the soups before you pick one. Go ahead – don’t feel weird about it – they want you to do it! And, I guarantee you will have a hard time picking just one!
You can always find the Pickled Peach at:
The Pickled Peach
202 South Main Street
Davidson, NC 28036
Closed on Mondays