At long last, we made it to Pickles Café, a little off the beaten path in the bustling town of Dunfee (you’ll get that reference if you listen to the Columbia City high school radio station, which you should, because it’s very good). We’ve been eager to check out this reportedly hidden gem, located on County Line Road on the eastern edge of Whitley County. They’re only open for lunch, with breakfast foods also available on Saturdays.
To reach the dining room and outdoor patio you first pass through a room with antiques and food items for sale. It’s like Cracker Barrel, if Cracker Barrel actually were a small country store and restaurant. The café is cozy, with only 10 or 12 tables, but comfortable and charming (Today’s post is brought to you by the letter C). Upon arrival, Beth (who had been to Pickles before) informed me that the upstairs houses a tack store, but since we weren’t in need of jodhpurs or riding crops, we took a pass.Wendy: The menu was full of yummy sounding options. After asking the waitress for some of her favorite recommendations, I opted for the Chicken Lickin’ Salad Sandwich ($7.25), which is one of the things they’re known for, and with good reason. Chicken salad is chicken salad is chicken salad, right? Wrong! This was quite possibly the best chicken salad I’ve ever had, with just enough dill to be interesting and flavorful, without overpowering it. And there were small pieces of mandarin orange which added just a little bright sweetness. It was delicious. The sandwich was served with small melon wedges and potato chips. The chips were basic, but I’ve since heard that they generally have good side salad options, so either I missed that somewhere, or they don’t have them on Saturdays when they’re also serving breakfast.
Beth: Okay, I admit it. I’m a Pickles fan, and when Wendy mentioned that she hadn’t been I agreed that it should be on our list of places to visit. Now, for those of you that know my health history, I warn you — this next part is not pretty. Tuck your judgy notions in your pocket and enjoy along with me the yumminess of my selection. Wendy opted for lunch and I for breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, after all. I chose a concoction known as Hot Mess Hash ($7.95). This decadent mix of hash browns, onion, cheddar cheese, Honey Ham, homemade horseradish sauce, scrambled eggs and sausage gravy was as comforting as a soft blanket and pjs. Every once in awhile one needs to indulge, and this was such a day.
Wendy: I liked the atmosphere, with mismatched plates and mason jars for drinking glasses. And speaking of drinking glasses, the water was served with a tiny fresh mint leaf, another fresh little surprise.
Beth: Pickles reminds me of a one of those places that you see on a road trip and say to yourself, “that place looks like it would be good,” and so you stop and fall in love and make a pact with yourself to always stop there every time you travel that direction. And the fact that it is in a place called Dunfee, which seems to have only a couple of houses and a church, makes it seem even more so.
The wall in the dining room sported a chalkboard listing the day’s pie offerings. And where better to have pie than at a small country café?
Beth: Since I’d already given myself permission to fall off the proverbial healthy food wagon, pie seemed like a good idea. And, of course, it was. Blueberry pie was my selection and it was delicious. Like melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Regrets, I’ve had a few, but this was not one of them.
Wendy: I had a slice of the peanut butter pie, which was basically like eating a plate of really scrumptious buckeyes. Creamy, peanut buttery, chocolatey goodness.
Beth: “You had me at ‘hello’. For some reason, people in Fort Wayne sometimes think that certain areas of Allen County are just too far away to visit. If you can’t get there in less than 10 minutes, well, let’s forget it. I’m here to tell you that Pickles is worth the extra gas it takes to get to Dunfee (which is actually just a teeny-tiny bit north of Hwy. 14 on County Line Rd.)
Wendy: “You had me at ‘hello’.” Right on, Beth – definitely worth the small drive. I want to go back soon and have that chicken salad again, and also try more things. It’s too far of a hike for me to make it out there on a workday, but I will look forward to any excuse to head toward Pickles again.
5310 S 800 E-92
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46818
Phone: (260) 625-5082
Located on the Whitley/Allen County Line Rd between State Rd 30 and State Rd 14, approx 7 miles from I-69