Tristin Ukmar, who with his mother invented pickle pizza, isn’t wild about dill pickles. “I pull the slices off,” he admits.
But Ukmar is apparently one of the few pizza fans who haven’t fallen hard for a pie with pickle juice and ranch dressing beneath the cheese, and pickle chips atop it. His family’s company, Rick’s Concessions, this year wowed fairgoers from Oklahoma to Minnesota with its newest menu item, now available at the Coastal Carolina Fair.
“Social media is a huge influence,” Ukmar says.
Once a picture of an $8 pickle-garnished slice gains local traction, Ukmar says fairgoers reliably line up to try intentionally sour pizza.
“It’s actually pretty good,” admits Jay Wallace of The Exchange Club of Charleston, which puts on the fair. “We’ve been eating it all week.”
Unlike scorpion pizza, which Rick’s Concessions introduced a few seasons back, pickle pizza apparently sounds sane enough for most fairgoers to consider sampling. The topping was so popular this summer that it eclipsed pepperoni, a perennial favorite.
“Pepperoni always outsells every other pizza two-to-one,” Ukmar says. “Now pickle is outselling pepperoni two-to-one. At one point, we had to pull sausage out of the window, because it’s only four pizzas across, and nobody was buying sausage. We had pepperoni; cheese and two pickles.”
Instagram has also contributed to the success of another new item at this year’s fair. For the first time, Fluffy’s Hand Cut Donuts is selling its oversized yeast doughnuts at the Coastal Carolina Fair.
Asked how many varieties were on offer, owner Lora Westphal scanned the case holding doughnuts bedecked with candy bar bits, cookies and souvenir plastic rings. “Wow, that’s a good question,” she said. “We have so many.” (Final answer: 22, and all of them can be converted into sundaes.)
The Coastal Carolina Fair is open 10 a.m.-10 pm. on Saturday, and 12 noon-9 p.m. on Sunday.