Michael Nelson was raised in Downey, California, the birthplace of the Apollo space program, where he learned to aim for the heavens.
By locating his fourth Valley Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop in Chandler, he continues to adhere to his mantra.
Nelson, the chain’s owner and chief operating officer, stated, “The brand is distinctive in that it does not rely on large-scale suppliers for its ingredients; rather, it partners with artisan bakers, regional farms, and ranches to obtain its products, making each item unique to us.
“We will not offer 6-inch or foot-long options. We will offer more specialty breads than standard breads.”
The restaurant, located at 1949 W. Ray Road near Dobson Road, is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Sundays.
Chandler will soon have Mr. Pickle’s sandwiches.
“Since 1995, Mr. Pickle’s has been a premier sandwich shop specializing in innovative and crave-worthy sandwiches, salads, and catering,” said Nelson, a long-time customer who purchased the brand in 2020 after Frank and Michele Fagundes decided to retire.
“During its first three decades, the brand expanded to 56 locations across northern California thanks to its community culture, incredible recipes, and devoted customers,” he noted.
He added, “We have received a warm welcome in Arizona and look forward to expanding this brand throughout the state and helping it grow nationally in the coming years.”
The Chandler location will offer all of Mr. Pickle’s most popular hot and cold sandwiches, including the Mr. Pickle (chicken breast, bacon, Monterey jack, avocado, and the works as it relates to veggies), the Santa Maria Tri-Tip (actual tri-tip from the renowned Santa Maria region topped with specialty barbeque sauce and the works), and the Big Jake (turkey with cream cheese, avocado, and the works). The brand now offers two noteworthy new sandwiches.
“The first is Listen Linda, which is named after my wife of 36 years and is piled high with turkey breast, avocado, bacon, swiss cheese, and the works – including our specialty garlic sauce – as far as condiments are concerned, unless otherwise noted,” said Nelson.
The other is Della’s Deli, which is named after my business partner, closest friend, and the wife of Mr. Pickle’s president for more than four decades, Della Johnson. It includes turkey breast, prosciutto, salami, and cheddar cheese.”
Mr. Pickle’s offers ten varieties of bread and wraps, including the Dutch crunch roll, sourdough roll, sweet roll, wheat roll, sliced sourdough, sliced wheat, sliced marble rye, and several wraps, including gluten-free wraps.
In addition to an extensive selection of crackers, sides include red potato salad, macaroni salad, jumbo whole dill pickles, and freshly baked chocolate chunk cookies. A pastry is also provided with every sandwich, salad, and wrap at no cost.
“For those who are unfamiliar with the brand, every order comes with one of our melt-in-your-mouth cookies, a trademark of the company since its inception,” says Nelson, adding that apple sauce is also available as a side on children’s menus.
In the past year, Mr. Pickle’s has partnered with DoorDash and invested in Paytronix Systems, Inc., the most sophisticated digital guest experience platform.
Mr. Pickle’s employs the complete Paytronix Platform for its loyalty, order, delivery, mobile, and gift systems as a result of the partnership.
“When sourcing our products, we collaborate with as many artisan bakers, regional farms, and ranches as possible,” said Nelson, who has spent the past year investing in technology that will “propel the brand forward nationwide.”
Nelson, a restaurant industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience as an owner and operator of Wingstop, Subway Restaurants, and Carl’s Jr. franchises across the country, will establish several Mr. Pickle’s locations in the Valley over the next 18 months, including one in Queen Creek. Up to twenty new locations are planned to open in California over the next seven years as the brand continues to grow.