A Little Bit of Pickle Juice

by Ann Cipperly

Located in a country setting with quiet streets and houses shaded by tall, ancient trees, the town of Waverly has been home to Marty and Andy Anderson since 2001, when they were smitten with the town. Their home has been a haven away for Andy when he is not busy as co-owner of four businesses, Wickles Pickles, The Waverly Local, the Plaza & Lounge and now The Shack.

“We fell in love with Waverly,” says Marty. “We have the best people in our commu- nity, it is truly special, and everyone looks out for each other. It has been fun to watch our town grow.” The Andersons renovated their home, with the original part of the house built in the 1800s. During the renovation, they found letters dated 1895 that slid from the attic into the wall. The letters were addressed to Moreman, which is a family name. “My grandmother grew up in Waverly,” Andy says, “but prior to finding the letters, I didn’t know that the house had belonged to my ancestors.”

While Andy grew up in Auburn, Marty is from Anniston. Marty’s background is special education. She is now a founding partner at ALL for Children where she works with children with dyslexia.

Marty and Andy have a 6-year-old son, Copeland, who loves growing up in Waverly. He knows everyone in town and will tell everybody The Local has the best fries ever.


When brothers Will and Trey Sims’ cousin taught them how to make her family’s recipe for pickles, they decided to brand them Wickles Pickles in 1998. Andy partnered with the Sims brothers a year or so later in 2000. They had been making the pickles in a commercial kitchen in downtown Dadeville but had just moved production to a co-packer. Andy states, “Our Dadeville Wickles office is very small with only seven of us total. All are friends, and many have been with us for a long time. We are like family.”

Since the partners were no longer making the product, they were able to focus on sales to gourmet and gift shops. They began traveling around the south to let shop owners try other uniquely sweet and hot pickles, and handing them out to their families and friends. They picked up many of their first accounts in Atlanta at Americas Mart. “We were quite fortunate to have the help of our wives,” Andy says, “and maybe even more so of my mom, Judy, and the Sims’ mother, Judy. They also brought in many new customers. They were much better at getting shop owners to taste and then stock our new pickled products than we were.”

For many years, the pickles were mainly sold in gourmet and gift shops. “We eventually scaled up production,” says Andy, “which allowed us to bring our prices down to a point that we could sell to supermarkets. We’ve been slowly but surely trying to make Wickles a household name ever since. We strive to keep Wickles affordably priced while always using premium ingredients.”

In 2017, they partnered with Magnolia Vegetable Processing plant in Brundidge, which is the largest vegetable processing facility in the state, where they make most of their products.

Andy and his partners are always dreaming of new items to pickle in their “Wickedly Delicious” brine. The most recent to the line are the wicked garlic, dirty dill cocktail cornichons, and Hula Pickle, which are cucumbers packed with pineapple and jalapeno.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with the Hula item,” says Andy. “Hi-Wire Brewing based in Asheville, NC just released their second limited release, Wickles beer ‘Wicked Hula Beer’. They are running another release of the original Wickles Pickle Beer around Labor Day.

“Not sure what’s next for Wickles,” he adds. “It has been 25 years since we first started, and we are now selling nearly 10 items in retailers nationwide. We hope to have some other new items for the shelves in 2024, potentially some that won’t be on the pickle aisle.”


Marty and Andy had dined at Peyton Place, the first restaurant in the 100 year old building, that was one of the first Ford dealers in the state. When the space became the Yellow Hammer restaurant, they enjoyed dining there as well.

The Andersons have always enjoyed food and planned vacations around restaurants they were interested in trying. When the building became vacant, they began thinking about how great it would be to bring a restaurant back to Waverly.

Andy partnered with Chef Christian Watson to open The Waverly Local. Andy and Christian have been friends since they were 7 years old and attended school together in Auburn. Andy’s father owned the Auburn Hardware, while Christian’s dad is Doug Watson, who served as city manager for many years.

When Christian was 21 years old, he realized he wanted a career in the culinary field. He had moved to South Carolina to help his aunt and uncle on their farm when his aunt was fighting cancer. One of his projects was taking care of their garden.

He spent the summer in the fields planting the crops and fertilizing. Once the vegetables were ready to harvest, he began cooking. “As I was eating a plate of freshly cooked vegetables,” he says, “a light bulb went off for me, as I thought how awesome the food was and that I wanted to learn more about cooking.”

Christian moved to Charleston, S.C., and enrolled in the Johnson and Wales Culinary School. He stayed in Charleston 12 years working at various restaurants and then began working at restaurants in major cities across the country. After 18 years, he decided to move back to Auburn.

They started working on the building in the fall of 2016. It took over a year to renovate and complete additions of a new kitchen and restrooms. A new lounge with dark wood, soft patina copper tables and a mirror behind the bar provided a lodge feel. The new indoor restrooms replaced customers having to take a path out the back door for facilities.

“We wanted the restaurant to feel like a neighborhood place,” says Marty, “where people can meet and enjoy great food.”

The restaurant opened in January of 2018. During the pandemic, they added courtyard dining and bar that is the perfect place for dinner and drinks on a nice evening.

“We decided the concept was going to be simple southern,” says Chef Watson. “It is a simple approach with high quality meats and fish and local produce in a seasonal menu. All of the dishes are prepared from scratch.

“We take a pride in serving the food we would serve our children and family,” adds Chef. “It costs more, but it is the food we want to serve.”

One of the most popular appetizers is bacon wrapped Wickles. Other menu items include roasted ranch pork with squash casserole and tomato pudding; grilled prime ribeye with seasonal vegetables, roasted potatoes, bourbon jus and horse- radish cream; daily fish, crab cakes, among others. Thursday is fried chicken night.

The Waverly Local recently celebrated its fifth year in January. “It’s been a lot of fun watching it grow,” says Andy. “Most of all we’ve met a lot of great people who have supported us over the years. We are having a wine dinner soon, and plan to schedule more special events for the fall and winter.”


Chef Christian Watson and Andy opened Plaza Bar & Lounge during the pandemic with their friend Brian Malone. “It was an interesting time to open any business,” Andy says, “but especially a restaurant. Luckily, we’ve got a great outdoor space there, and people were able to find us in the Midtown development.

“Being from Auburn,” he adds, “we appreciated the area because it is located where iconic spots like Botcher’s Bar and Grill and the Plaza Motel were located.”

After the sign from the former Plaza was salvaged, the owners knew it was per- fect name for their new bar and lounge. “The original sign pays homage to the businesses that were first here,” says Chef Watson. “With the old Plaza as an inspira- tion, we decided to do a really cool dive bar with good food, service and drinks.”

Andy feels one aspect that makes Plaza and Midtown desirable is the ample parking. “It’s quite easy to pop in for a casual meal or happy hour for people wanting an alternative to downtown.”

Chef Watson created the popular menu around the famous Warburger. The original Warburger recipe is the creation of several of Andy’s friends in the Auburn community that have been cooking them for tailgates and parties since their college days at Auburn University. “The only change we made to the Warburger from out buddies original recipe was replacing conventional relish with diced Wickle Pickle Chips.”

Other unique items include the “Soul Rolls,” which are the Chef ’s take on a southern egg roll. They’re filled with smoky bacon, collards and cream cheese. Weekend brunch offers many of the regu- lar menu items as well as Mama T’s (named after Chef Watson’s Mom Trish) buttermilk pancakes,

Custom features like horseshoe shaped communal tables and vintage signs provide a touch of old Auburn mixed with the new.


The latest addition to Plaza is a small satellite building in the courtyard referred to as “the Shack.” The smaller space is perfect for private events.

Andy and Christian have added a new partner and director of operations to their team. Josh Nagel, who has had a seasoned career in hospitality and food and beverage, is planning for future wine dinners at The Local as well as fall events in the Shack.

“With the help of Josh, our hospitality group, Tri-County Kitchen, is looking towards a third restaurant concept in the area,” Andy says, “and hope to make an announcement next year.”

The Waverly Local is located at 1465 Patrick Street, Waverly, and open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. and for Sunday brunch. 334.539.6077. The Plaza is open Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. and 10 a.m. on weekends.