BY SOFIA VALDES
Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, donated to Maspeth-based pickle supplier company Eagle Pickle Works because he “loved the story and couldn’t lose this pickle company.”
“I think you are our first pickle company,” Dave Portnoy said.
“That’s right,” said Rafal Pisarki, owner of Eagle Pickle Works.
In a video call, Pisarki talks with Portnoy about the fermenting process they use that makes their company unique from other pickle suppliers.
“The pickle industry, probably around the 70’s, it took a turn where what we call ‘Instant Pickles.’ You put some vinegar, you put some flavoring, you got a pickle the next day,” Pisarki said. “Fermented pickles take a while, takes a couple weeks. It’s kind of like making a beer or a wine or something. Those are the ones you should be drinking. Those are the brine that you should be drinking for those pickleback shots and it’s good for the gut, it’s good for your immune system. Really old-world foods and really what New York used to be about.”
Barstool Sports is a sports and pop culture blog that broadcasts the latest news and highlights in the form of blogs, videos and podcasts. They place big emphasis on helping small companies, by making donations frequently.
On Dec. 17, 2020, Portnoy launched The Barstool Fund, geared to help small-business owners who need help due to impacts of COVID-19.
In a video, also found on the Barstool fund page, Portnoy criticizes the government for not providing the adequate relief needed to keep small-businesses alive. So, Portnoy is stepping up to the plate by “going to do what we can,” to save small-businesses from going under.
Barstool Sports planned to start off with half a million dollars to provide aid to small businesses and asked those who are able to help, to make tax-deductible contributions to help support their project. As of Friday morning, Feb. 5, 213,928 supporters helped Barstool support 230 businesses by raising $34,361,998.
With this relief fund, Portnoy says he plans on helping small-businesses who are in his program by checking in regularly and providing them with the amount of money needed each month to keep their business afloat during the pandemic.
Gaining the support of Barstool Sports was a huge surprise to Pisarki because he had no idea that his brother sent in an application to the Barstool fund page requesting aid for the company.
Eagle Pickle Works, or as many customers know them as their brand, Eddie’s Pickles, was established in 1888 and has stayed in their extended family since that time. Home of the original NYC pickle, Eagle Pickle Works uses barrel fermentation, making them the best pickles in the world. They make a variety of pickles as well as their world-famous sauerkraut.
Eagle Pickle Works relies heavily on indoor dining restaurants to carry out their business. Since the close of indoor dining, the pandemic hit restaurants hard, forcing them to drop business with Eagles Pickle Works in order to make ends meet. In turn, Eagle Pickle Works is suffering and with that, Queens risks losing the unique quality of what makes Eagle Pickle Works so great: their method of barrel fermentation.
Since being picked up by Barstool Sports, Pisarki has been really proud that Queens is finally gaining recognition for something as opposed to its Brooklyn and Manhattan counterparts. He is especially proud that the company gaining recognition in Queens is his very own.
“Man you have no idea what you did for us. This is really really — you know, we’re the oldest in New York City. We’re one of the smallest guys and we really depend on the community and this what we are dealing with and you really, you have no idea what you just did for us. Man, I appreciate it and you got free pickles for life man.” Pisarki said
“I’m a huge pickle fan, so I might just take you up on that,” Portnoy said.