Although the Pickled Lemon is one of Boulder’s newest restaurants, with their soft opening in June, they are no strangers to the culinary world. With the infamous Udi’s bread, bakery, restaurants and catering business in Denver, Pickled Lemon (their sixth restaurant) is spear-headed by Udi, his daughter Robin and son, Etai Bar-on.
The soulful stories of worldly cuisine, cooking and family are deeply rooted with the Bar-on’s. You can feel it by watching them interact, their smiles and the taste of their delicious food.
Their food tells a story.
Rooted in traditional Middle Eastern food, Robin’s dream was to make this food accessible and at a price point for everyone to enjoy. Robin has been cooking around the World since a young age, from Israel with her Uncle’s catering business, to New York City with Bobby Flay and throughout Colorado.
As I asked Udi who designed the menu and the interior of the restaurant he looked at me, smiled and turned his gaze to his daughter, “This is all from Robin’s imagination…”
The name? It’s no wonder Robin’s favorite ingredient is lemon. She shares, “A squeeze of fresh lemon brightens up flavors and makes a lot of things just taste better. It can take a dish or sauce from flat to bright and, unlike vinegar, it tastes natural and fresh. I love lemon so much that I actually got the nickname “lemon queen.”
Inside Pickled Lemon:
When you step into the interior of Pickled Lemon, I was drawn to the vibrant colors. The tables were splashed with a funky, pop design that Robin sourced from artist, Rana Salam, who created them just for Pickled Lemon.
The “fast-casual” food ordering setup is designed to blend flavors and ingredients by choosing a pita or plate, then filling with your choice of seasoned vegetables, meats, grains, sauces and pickled ingredients. Toppings include the likes of charred kale, warm garbonzo beans, Moroccan carrots and pomegranate taboule (among others).
You will also find a pickled bar after you’ve ordered your food, chalk full of sauces including: hot harissa, roasted garlic, green chili, amba mango (ketchup of Iraq) and dill ranch.
Their pickled bars includes kimchee kraut, cauliflower, sumac onions, jalapenos, turnips, cucumbers and pickled lemons all to adorn your food with. Mix and match creates a new meal, even with the same dish each time.
With ample room inside (50+ seating), it still feels cozy and enlivening. They have a patio facing 13th street on The Hill with shaded umbrellas.
They also have their liquor license which is smart as they’re located on Boulder’s The Hill university neighborhood. They’re serving beer and blended drinks like pomegranate mint mojito and pickled lemon margaritas.
Robin, Etai and Udi have spent months in their home of Israel specifically to research dishes, spices and food.
I love the story of Robin finding a perfectly spiced chicken shawarma at a traditional road-side stand in the Armenian Corner of Old Jerusalem. Most vendors do not give up their spices or culinary secrets, but they obliged Robin. Thinking they over-charged, chuckling as Robin walked away, she gladly bought the bag of spices for about $10.00 (US). She brought it back to Boulder, to Savory Spice Shop and worked with the team to recreate the delicious 21 spice mix. Savory hit the mark and now she has created her own delicious spice mix, custom to the succulent, chicken shawarma.
All of the food is made in-house by Robin. Robin knows the best tahini to find and many of the dishes are a spin of her own research from living in Israel, down to her Grandmother’s horseradish beet dish with fresh apple cider vinegar served alongside Moroccan carrots with garlic, cumin and braised tomatoes.
Udi’s makes their fresh pitas (they’re Yeminite style, making them thicker and doughier) in Louisville and delivers them, piping warm with steam at 10:30 AM, as the Pickled Lemon opens at 11 AM.
For dessert, they have a creamy pistachio pudding and a tahini cookie. They also serve fresh watermelon and pineapple!
Robin described going to a show at The Fox and also craving late night food, that wasn’t greasy or bad for you. She’s hoping to provide nutritional food from her family recipes and culture to students and Boulderites, alike.
We should consider ourselves lucky – the food is delicious.
Pickled Lemon: http://www.pickledlemon.com
Facebook: Pickled Lemon
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11-11 | Closed Sunday
Location: 1155 13th Street, Boulder, CO
Contact: 720.353.4442 | email@example.com