The Southern Drive-In Where Fried Pickles Found Fame

There are a lot of great foods out there that you should try, and then there are the foods you need to try before you die. Fried pickles fall into that category. It may sound strange at first, but once you have one, it makes sense. First of all, it's something fried. Americans love their fried food. Pitco writes that the reason we enjoy fried food is that our mouths are partial to the crispy coating that, after being bitten into, reveals a moist interior, whatever that interior may be. You likely agree.

Now take that crunchy exterior and wrap it around a salty, snappy, dill pickle — brilliant. Today, the fried dill pickle has made its way to menus everywhere, especially as a bar food. Customers eat them plain or sometimes dip them in a sauce. There are even fried pickle recipes all over the internet so that you can master the art yourself. However, even though the fried pickle has made itself famous, there is one place in particular that gave it a head start.

The Duchess Drive-in

According to THV11, it was a little place called the Duchess Drive-in, located in Atkins, Arkansas, that invented the fried pickle. David Smith, the son of Bernell "Fatman" Austin, told THV11 about his father, "He thought, well there's got to be a way to cash in on that pickle. Of course, this is the south, where did it go? In the deep fryer." Ironically, the Duchess was right across from the Atkins pickle factory at the time. It was the early 60s, and sadly, today, the Duchess Drive-in is no longer there. Thankfully, the fried pickle legend carries on.

Even though you can find fried pickles anywhere now, you may be daydreaming of the original. You're in luck. The little town of Atkins, Arkansas, holds Picklefest on the third weekend in May every year, per Outdoorsy. They bring back the original recipe, and folks line up to enjoy it. As a bonus, you can watch fun competitions to see who eats the most pickles and drinks the most pickle juice. Bring your appetite and a strong stomach.