Monday, November 17, 2008

Werner's Wurst Fest

Being a transplant to Kansas City means that I don't have many long-standing traditions that give me warm fuzzy feelings. Growing up in Wichita and living most of my 20's in Wichita I got used to certain food related traditions. As a kid we used to go to a place called Livingston's Diner where I fell in love with fried cauliflower. We used to go Ty's Diner for hamburgers and El Mexico for chili. As a college student, I ate deluxe enchiladas from the Cedar every Tuesday (when schooners of Coors Light were $2.50). As a grown up single dude I went to Taco Tico every Sunday for lunch for 49 cent tacos and went to Charlie's for frog legs after a round of golf. These are the kinds of places that make me most nostalgic, but being a Kansas Citian, I don't have access to them anymore.

But one thing that does make me feel as happy as any of those Wichita things and that is a Saturday afternoon grilled sausage from Werner's Specialty Foods (Johnson Dr. and Outlook in Mission). A guy stands out on the street corner with a charcoal grill, grilling Andouille, bratwurst, knackwurst, bier and cheese sausages. They have a makeshift counter where you go, stand in line and tell the counterworkers what sausage you want and the condiments. If you want ketchup, you'd better say it softly because if the grill guys hears you, he will yell at you. Mustard or spicy mustard are the only acceptable condiments. The grill guy has some other schtick also. If you order an Andouille he asks for your ID. It's a real enjoyable time.

I like to go into the store as well because I typically need a couple of pounds of Andouille for my weekday sausage needs and weekend jambalaya. Their deli case is a must for any German yenta with any kind of German wurst you may need. I noticed this weekend something called tongue blood sausage. While I don't particularly want that, I love to go to a deli that has it. The store is typically pretty busy on a Saturday afternoon as many families are getting some grilled sausage and getting their ethnic deli meats. I enjoy watching the people who are used to these deli items, order them from the deli person. They seem so happy to get their hard to find meat.

On weekdays they function as a regular deli, selling regular cold cut type sandwiches. I imagine that they are good enough for a lunch place blogger to try out and write about. I'll stick to the grilled sausages.

I'm going to enjoy taking my kids to Werner's on Saturday afternoons much as I have enjoyed the past 6 years of Werners. Someday I'll have memories as fond as those of Livingston's fried cauliflower.


Chimpotle said...

My mom's old job down there used to bring in their sandwiches for lunch. I would routinely have to go pick them up when I worked there in the summer. The sandwiches are not that awesome, but that could be because the company was buying bottom of the barrel stuff. I don't know.

The sausage is the real deal though. If there's one thing I know, it's encased meats.

DLC said...

wow. I did not know Werners had sandwiches. I've never been because I assumed they only did the Saturday sausage thing. I'm all over it

m.v. said...

We had blood sausage where I come from, it's made from coagulated blood and other crap. I tried it, it's not horrible but not especially my favorite. Tongue, on the other hand, is good, no matter how this sentence reads. Russian store has pretty good deli meats, so it Fritz's on state line and now I have to go to this place.

Owen said...

I love Werner's and every Saturday it crosses my mind to go yet I only end up there maybe twice a year. I stick with the straight-up slightly spicy sausage and its the best 200 calories you can eat. (Oh who am I kidding? 300 calories.)

Polly Merase said...

Love this place! It probably helps that I live half a block down the street. Don't forget to say, "May I have a bier brat with cheese", if you say, "Can I" the grill master will give you shit.

Lukas said...

Good wurst and nice people. I actually went there Saturday for the first time, which is funny since I'm from here and lived in Germany for a few years. The grillmeister's funny comment to us was telling us KS state law required that he tell us the polish and cheese dogs were addictive. In retrospect, it's probably true. I'll definitely be going back there soon.

Also, it's the only place I know in town where you can get Weisswurst and the little Nurnberger brats.

If you're looking for good sausage, though, I also recommend Bichelmeyer Meats in KCK. Nothing beats their BBQ brats and spicy polish.

Rick in PV said...

I've always wondered but never entered Werner's. My favorite outdoor-grilled-sasusage-sandwich-lunch is the Italian sausauge at Marco Polo/Jasper's at 103 and State Line.