Two classic Alabama food brands — Jack’s Family Restaurants and Wickles Pickles — have partnered for a match made in burger heaven.
Starting this Wednesday, Aug. 17, Jack’s will offer a limited-time-only Wickles Pickles Bacon Burger on the menu at all Jack’s locations across Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi. It will be available through Oct. 4.
The new burger will feature two beef patties topped with bacon, cheese, tomato, french-fried onions and Wickles’ “wicked” pickle chips.
“We’ve always liked Wickles Pickles,” Jack’s CEO Todd Bartmess said in an interview with AL.com. “We love the brand and love their product, and we were able to work with our product development folks to put together a burger that I think our guests are going to love.”
That partnership grew out of a chance meeting last December at the AHSAA’s Super 7 State High School Football Championship at Birmingham’s Protective Stadium, when Wade Bennett of Wickles introduced himself to a representative from Jack’s at halftime of one of the games.
“Football helped put this thing together,” Bennett told AL.com.
Bennett subsequently sent some Wickles samples to Sean Landrum, the culinary research and development leader for Jack’s.
A few months later, Landrum got back with Bennett and told him that Jack’s was going to test the Wickles Pickles Bacon Burger at 10 of its restaurants.
One of those test-market locations was in Clanton, and Bennett and Wickles’ co-founder Trey Sims drove there to check out the new burger.
“We both took one bite and knew that we had a tiger by the tail,” Bennett said. “It was one of the best burgers I’ve ever tried in my entire life. And I’m not exaggerating.”
They weren’t the only one who gave the burger their seal of approval.
“The Wickles Pickles Bacon Burger did exceptionally well,” Bartmess said. “It tested well everywhere.”
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The Birmingham-based Jack’s Family Restaurants chain began in 1960, when founder Jack Caddell opened the original Jack’s hamburger stand in downtown Homewood. Jack’s has since grown to more than 220 locations in four states, the majority of those in Alabama.
Wickles Pickles, which is based in Dadeville, started in 1998, when brothers Trey and Will Sims (later joined by a third partner, Andy Anderson) acquired an old family recipe and began selling jars of their “wickedly delicious” pickles in grocery stores around the state.
In 2015, Wickles Pickles was voted Alabama’s best food product in AL.com’s statewide Alabama Food Bracket.
Wickles previously collaborated with the Alabama Peanut Co. in Birmingham on a Wickles Pickles-flavored boiled peanut, and more recently, Wickles partnered with the Portland (Ore.) Pickles minor-league baseball team to be the team’s official pickle.
The Jack’s partnership is the best yet, Bennett said, and it has the potential to be even better.
“We work with a lot of great companies in what we do with Wickles Pickles, and we do a lot of projects,” he said. “But this has been one of the most special projects that we’ve worked on with some of the best people we’ve ever worked with.”
The partnership with Wickles Pickles fits in with Jack’s corporate philosophy, Bartmess said.
“It’s two great brands in the South coming together,” he said. “We consider ourselves a great Southern brand, and we always look for other Southern brands to partner with.”
The Wickles Pickles Bacon Burger will be available to order in-store or for pick up at eatatjacks.com or on the Jack’s app.
Jack’s plans to promote the new burger with a limited-run T-shirt, online giveaways and collaborations with social media influencers.
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