Justin Brunson teams up with Uber Sausage to create winning wieners
When Brad Arguello, along with his partners, Henry Dematteis and Alex Gschwend, opened Über Sausage in July of 2011, they sourced all of their franks from Continental Sausage, the same local company that Biker Jim -- and several other restaurants -- use to procure their meat candy.
And while the diminutive sausage shack continues to sling a few wieners from Continental Sausage -- three to be exact -- they've partnered with Justin Brunson, exec chef/co-owner of Masterpiece Deli and Old Major (scheduled to open early next year), to develop their own, and the new menu, which was revealed last week, is not only larger, but also includes ten sausages and sandwiches created exclusive by Brunson.
"Continental Sausage is great, but we wanted to make our own house sausages -- we wanted to differentiate ourselves by developing our own recipes," says Gschwend.
"Control was important to us, too," notes Arguello, who was busy in the kitchen last Friday, doling out the new creations to a demanding -- and ravished -- posse of East High School students. "We wanted more control of our products and our flavor profiles, and rather than build a sandwich around someone else's sausages, we wanted to build our sandwiches around our sausages."
And Brunson knows a thing or two about sausage-making. "We wanted an outside consultant to help us, and we thought Justin was the best guy for the job," says Gschwend, adding that Brunson "shares the same passion for food that we do, plus he has the ability to create good food that's not homogenized or generic."
The sausages, all of which are proprietary blends -- "We own them, and no one else has access to the recipes," stresses Gschwend -- are being processed at Western Meats, a local plant, owned by an Italian family, that's been in business since 1976. "The recipes reflect sausages from around the world," adds Brunson. "We tested all the recipes several times, and there's not one single filler, additive or chemical -- these are premium sausages."
And the owners, including partner Marco Macchiaroli, who was an original part-owner of Noodles & Company, maintain that they're all extensively involved in the process. "We've got our hands in every single part of this," including, says Macchiaroli, "standing over the production manager and telling him exactly how we want things done. We're overseeing everything from start to finish."
The new sausages and sandwiches, which Brunson says "are really awesome," include plays on everything from a Vietnamese bánh mì -- here, a Thai chile-flecked sausage scented with lemongrass and paved with sriracha aoili, to a Hatch green chile and pork sausage topped with pepper Jack cheese, cabbage, cilantro and green chile. "We sat down with Justin to figure out what we wanted to do -- eclectic sausages with international flair -- and he came up with some amazing recipes," says Macchiaroli.
He notes, too, that while the sausages aren't made on-site, the goal is to bring the production in-house. "We don't really have the space to process them here, but I think we're the only guys in town that have their own proprietary blends, and we're looking for a second space where we can do them in our own kitchen and even sell the sausages from a case in the restaurant," he says. And, he hints, too, that the clan won't stop with two. "We'll stay lean and mean for our second location, but as we open more, we'd like to do a beer garden and keep expanding the menu."