People pick Pickles Deli in ‘best of’ contest

CLINTON — Voting is over. Pickles Deli is the people’s champ.

CLINTON — Voting is over.

Pickles Deli is the people’s champ.

The little shop in Clinton’s Ken’s Korner Mall won King 5’s Best of Western Washington award for best sandwich shop. Pickles owner Kim Bailey could hardly believe that her store was nominated, let alone in contention for first place.

“I can’t even believe we won,” Bailey said.

“South Whidbey being such a small community, everyone sticks together. That’s why I love it.”

Just over a week after learning Pickles Deli won first place in the online voting contest, the shop had its annual “Customer Appreciation Day” Monday. Pickles offered $5 sandwiches and $2 pints of ice cream. Though Bailey easily could have scheduled the reduced-price sandwich event on any other day, she wanted to bring in the most customers and friends so she could say, “Thanks.”

“Everyone was off, so I thought it would be perfect,” she said.

Sandwiches that typically cost about $8 brought in droves Monday. Schools and banks observed Veterans Day, which meant a steady stream of sandwich making as early as 9 a.m. when Bailey opened the doors. For one of Pickles’ employees, that meant a sort of trial-by-fire. Liz Setlow was busy entering orders, answering the phone and thanking customers, of which more than a dozen filtered in between 10 and 10:45 a.m.

“They were more fervent today,” Setlow said. “I understand this is kind of the norm.”

“We’ve never been the popular girl in school,” added Keith Kinsey, one of Pickles’ employees.

A couple of Pickle supporters praised the deli and its owner. Curt Devoir of Poulsbo comes to South Whidbey about once a month, and when he does, he eats at Pickles.

“It’s a long way to go for a sandwich,” Devoir laughed.

“It’s the owner, she makes the difference,” said Mark Flotlin of Greenbank.

Admittedly, Bailey is not much for social media and online marketing. A promotional video by Northwest Public Relations helped spread the word about Pickles’ spreads — mayonnaise, mustard, spicy sauce, cranberries. Recently a food blog has taken notice and with the coming accolade of being a “Best of Western Washington” award winner, Pickles soon may be more packed than ever.

“Now all that’s left is Sunset Magazine,” Bailey said.