Popcorn and pickle, anyone?

By Kaitlyn Yarborough
July 01, 2021
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No matter how long it's been since you've last visited a movie theater (or even a drive-in movie theater), we'd bet that you can still remember how it smells, and that's largely thanks to the concession stand. It's practically a prerequisite to purchase a selection of overpriced movie snacks that you will inevitably inhale before the actual movie starts playing. That popcorn isn't making it far past the first scene. That much we know. 

And while you might be familiar with the usual suspects like boxes of candy, big cups of Coke, and a tub full of buttery popcorn, there's one unconventional concession stand snack that only Texans have been ordering for decades: pickles. They've been known to lovingly refer to them as "movie theater pickles," and many Texans are actually surprised to find out that no one else in the country really knows about the popular movie theater menu item. In fact, those who move away from the Lone Star State might not realize until they ask for one at their new local movie theater...and promptly get stared at like "an alien." Words from Twitter, not ours. 

So, in what form might you see these pickles available in a Texas movie theater? Decades ago, it'd be a large glass jar, and a concession stand staff member would retrieve for you a big, fat pickle using tongs. It'd probably cost 25 cents. Nowadays, less theaters might house a jar full of pickles. Rather, you might see individual bags of pickles, and you'd be offered the option of having the juice drained for you. So polite. Some patrons even request for the pickle to be thrown right into the tub with their popcorn. This is charmingly called a "popcorn pickle."  

All we can say is that amongst all the buttery, sugary, cheese-drizzled, and caffeinated options at the movie theater concession stand, this might actually be one of the healthiest — albeit unusual — choices. While you might be able to track down select small local theaters in other states that offer pickles, it seems to be largely a Texas thing. Perhaps, like the growing string of Buc-ee's convenience stores popping up throughout the South, we might start seeing big glass jars of pickles pervading movie theaters, too. Now, wouldn't that be a scene worth seeing?