My first restaurant job was at Ehring’s Tavern on West 231st Street in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. We were famous for our traditional German cuisine—everything from the sauerkraut to the sauerbraten to bratwurst and weisswurst was made on premises.
Alas, try as I might, I couldn’t find any artisan German sausages still produced in the area. I did unearth a few sources of authentic Polish-style sausages that would more than fill your cravings and round out your Oktoberfest menu.
The Polish Deli (225 Nepperhan Ave, Yonkers 914-476-1183) still survives on Nepperhan Avenue in Yonkers, one of the last vestiges of the expat culture that used to thrive there.
It would appear from my visit that kielbasa is king and he has sired many princes. A fellow customer Christina pointed out in her accented English the difference between a mild wiejska, (country-style) and a weselna (wedding-style), perfumed with garlic and double-smoked. There were mielona, mysliwska, kaszanka (blood sausage), biala, and what seemed like a score more with names that I could not pronounce. Another source turned up in the Pleasantville farmers’ market. Mario Bochna of Stefan’s Pure Blends produces the thin, dried kabanos, both hot and mild, as well as the more classic, horse-collar-shaped variety from his grandfather Stefan’s recipes. As they are fully cooked and smoked, they can be eaten as is or aged for a firmer texture and fuller flavor.
Serve some of these sausages with a selection of Westchester brewed beers (much easier to come by that the wursts) and hitch up your lederhosen. Prosit, or should I more aptly say, na zdrowie!