I’m Going to The Pickel Barrel

By Steve Cook | September 15th, 2022

Spell check be darned, I’m going and I know it’s right

country breakfast with flaky biscuits and country ham, scrambled eggs, fresh strawberries, coffee and orange juice. Photo by Cheryl Davis, Dreamstime. Boomer goes to The Pickel Barrel for comfort food that will satiate your belly, from flaky biscuits with country ham to Southern supper gems.

Richmond food and travel writer Steve Cook takes us to The Pickel Barrel. Yes, Steve knows how to spell, and he knows how to find traditional diners to satiate your belly, too.

Someone asked me recently where my favorite local go-to spot is for breakfast. Now that’s a head scratcher. I’ve had several places that I enjoy for breakfast but nothing immediately sprang to mind. However, a few days later, an old friend suggested we meet for breakfast. Before I could even ask him where, he said, “Let’s go to the Pickel Barrel.”

Oh, by the way, both for you the reader and for my spell check, Pickel is the correct spelling of the name. Owner Sharon Farmer named the place in honor of a Mr. Pickel. I think he may have owned the building once or perhaps she had worked for him. She had been a waitress at Debbie’s Restaurant on Route 33 near Cobblestone (Overhill Lake) for many years and had always dreamed of having her own place. I know, a good reporter should have his facts straight, but I’m more of a good eater than a good reporter.

The Pickel Barrel at 12912 Plaza Drive in western Henrico should have been my immediate reply when asked about breakfast. The thing is, when one is dieting, it’s hard to get too creative for breakfast. I usually have to just cook a couple of eggs and call it a day. I rarely eat breakfast meats anymore. I like to save my WW points for later in the day.

But when we got to The Pickel Barrel and I began to peruse the menu, I saw an item that altered my daily routine. I knew I could never resist their country ham and tender, flaky, delicious biscuit. I am so glad that I opted to indulge myself. Perhaps it’s because it’s been so long since I had a biscuit that the Pickel Barrel’s was so fantastic. But I think it’s also because the biscuits at the Pickel Barrel are, indeed, fantastic. And the slice of genuine country ham was so large that I’m surprised it didn’t take two servers to bring the plate to the table. There may be nothing on earth that tastes better than a country ham biscuit at Pickel Barrel. Except, maybe, a crab cake at the White Dog Bistro in Mathews. I’ve told you about that place previously.

There are other things that make The Pickel Barrel a wonderful place for breakfast, which they serve daily starting at 7 a.m.

Sandwich with fries at The Pickel BarrelActually, the place is a great place for lunch and dinner, too. The friendly service is one of the major factors. This truly offers the feel of dining at home, especially if your dining room was big enough to hold about 25 tables and had a bevy of helpful servers bustling around offering to fill up your coffee.

While the country ham is inducement enough to abandon one’s diet, there is plenty on both the breakfast and the lunch/dinner menus to entice you in. One of my other favorite breakfast meats is salt herring. The Pickel Barrel does that beautifully.

This is one restaurant where I have never had any negative feedback when I recommend it. In fact, many of my friends who had gone with me on their first visit now tell me the Pickel Barrel is their favorite.

barbecue chicken sandwich with potato salad and Cole slaw at The Pickel Barrel.If you’re into good ol’ down-home cooking, you have got to take a look at and a bite from this menu. In addition to all your favorite burgers and sandwiches, you can also enjoy the fried or grilled pork chops or, even better, in my opinion, the fried chicken. Ah, how I long for the days of yore when I innocently devoured such fried delicacies giving no thought to my expanding waistline or the linings of my arteries.

The Pickel Barrel also offers a delicious spaghetti and meat balls entrée as well as a very good meatloaf made with peppers and onions. For all you lovers of Southern comfort food, you can’t go wrong with virtually anything on the menu that strikes your fancy.

If you’re a vegetable lover, which I, personally am not, there’s plenty to enjoy. I’ve actually been out to eat with folks who get excited at the thought of kale, beets, lima beans, and coleslaw. Apparently, the folks at the Pickel Barrel do a good job because the vegetable fanatics always seem very happy with their selections. Secretly, I pity them as I sit there relishing every bite of my 12-ounce Barrel Burger, smothered in my choice of Swiss, provolone, or American cheese. But to each his own, I reckon.

I also reckon that if you check this place out, you’re going to love it. The Pickel Barrel also offers seafood and steaks, but I think you’ll be happier if you stick to the home-cooking type meals. The restaurant is open every morning at 7 and they serve lunch or dinner (and you can probably call it “supper,” if you like) from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sure, Google may try and correct you when you search for it, but which would you prefer, a spelling bee or a beautiful biscuit?

The Pickel Barrel, 12912 Plaza Drive, Henrico, Virginia 

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