At Pickles, Olives, Etc., everything old is new again

When we first heard about the new business on Valley Brook Avenue in Lyndhurst called Pickles, Olives, Etc., we had a chance to speak with the owner and proprietor, Simon Karaben. And of course, one of the first things we said was how unique it was Lyndhurst was setting its first-ever pickle and olive shop. And that of course, there probably weren’t all too many others in the area.

That’s when we were stopped in our tracks.

That’s because the business has been around in one shape or form for the last say 20 years.

“My sister and brother-in-law started the business,” Karaben says.

It started two decades ago and there was an incarnation on Ridge Road, 267 to be precise. But after a while, about six or so years ago, the brick-and-mortar version shut down and Simon and his wife, Esra, picked up the pieces by continuing to offer pickles, olives, etc., at farmers markets near and far — not limited to but including one you may know — Kearny, Nutley and beyond.

But once the cold weather came, goodbye were farmers markets — and then it wouldn’t be until the spring when the Karabens would be able to do their thing. Not surprisingly, however, many of their customers clamored for them to do something year round. They were universally loved by their customers and the warm weather months just weren’t enough for the demand.

And so finally, after years of having to haul gigantic barrels and other items from market to market, the Karabens settled on their new location at 554 Valley Brook Ave. (once home to the beloved the J&B Men’s Shop owned and operated by the great Bernie Vigner, among many other establishments, most recently a tattoo shop.)

“Our customers recognize us still,” Simon Karaben says. “But we’ve expanded the etcetera part of the business to include artisanal items, cheeses, sweets, mustards, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, sauces and various high-end olive oils — among other items. The variety is improved so we can bring our customers the best variety when they come in for a visit.”

The shop itself proves that easily. Aside from the obvious, the shelfs are filled with the aforementioned items. And because of this, coupled with their history (most recently the farmers markets), we paid one visit to the store and bumped into several customers who loved the place. One even raved about it.

“We were so excited to see they would be open all year round,” the man, Charles, who declined to share his last name, says. “We’ve already been in several times and plan on coming back regularly.”

No whilst one might think a shop like this one would be considered gourmet-ish — make no mistake about it, the quality of the food is high end — what one won’t find here are prices you might find if you were shopping around Hoboken or the Village in Manhattan where prices sometimes climb through the proverbial roof.

“Our aim is to serve the customers with new products, the very best quality, at affordable prices,” Simon Karaben says.

Now, it was Esra Karaben who did all the design work to make the shop look as great as it does. In fact, one of the walls is perfectly green —though that color was already there when they were setting it all up. All of the pickles and olives are fresh and made locally. Nothing is ever jarred. Ever. The items are maintained each and every week to ensure that freshness. Esra makes all of the juices herself, in fact.

Simon estimates there are close to 30 kinds of olives and 15 or so varieties of pickles, too, so not only is the selection great, it’s vast.

Around Valentine’s Day, they create pickle bouquets, too — that has to be an awesome alternative to flowers, no?

And, best of all, if one needs more than just a few items, the  Karabens will prepare special trays and/or gift baskets — again, all reasonably prices — for takeaway. And generally, they only need about a day’s advance notice.

So don’t delay — head on over to Pickles, Olives, Etc. soon. You won’t regret it.

The shop, at 554 Valley Brook Ave., is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays. Theyre closed Sundays. During the holidays, however, you might see Simon, Esra, et al there a little later than the announced closing times so give it a shot if youre late. Find them online at, on Facebook at (Yes, there are two Cs at the end there.) Reach them on the phone at (609) 957-8582.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.