Sausage links Appleton community to restaurant scene –ama

Nicole Capozziello

Very rarely do I find myself in a position in which I am actually worthy of judging someone or something.
Though this normally doesn’t stop me, I luckily found myself completely in my element upon reviewing the 1910 Sausage Company on College Avenue.
As my family owned a restaurant for 13 years of my life and a lot of work in the Wisconsin cheese house scene has provided me with far more hands-on sausage experience than I ever could have desired, I thought myself qualified.
Not only were my expectations met in terms of food, but I found 1910 Sausage Company owners Robert and Jan Kottke to be both friendly and very wise in terms of the restaurant business.
Nestled between Hey Daisy! and a law office is the newly opened 1910 Sausage Company. Even before its Jan. 15 opening, the restaurant created a buzz throughout Appleton, particularly in the downtown area.
The Kottkes have enjoyed the support of downtown Appleton business people, curious locals, and the occasional — though enthusiastic — group of Lawrence students.
Before experiencing the 1910 Sausage Company myself, all I had to go on were my own peeks inside and the rave reviews of a few friends.
I ventured out for lunch on a Friday afternoon accompanied by three friends. When we entered the restaurant, two things immediately impressed me: the successful 1910 ambience and the number of people inside.
As I stood in line to order, I noticed that the 1910-feel was complete with a trickling water trough, actual streetlamps, antique signs and brick flooring.
The menu predictably contains a variety of sausages, hot dogs and French fries. As simple as these items may seem, each is high quality and hand-chosen from several different sausage makers throughout the state.
“The Portuguese sausage is a magical treat for the taste buds,” said 1910 Sausage Company regular and enthusiast D.J. Brengle.
There are also a wide variety of sauces to sample with your meal, most of which are ordered from the Mustard Museum in Mt. Horeb, Wis.
Even the French fries are specially starched so that they don’t get soggy in specialties such as the Chili and Cheddar Fries.
On the lighter side, the menu also offers a few chicken options, a house salad, and two daily soups.
Surprisingly, the 1910 Sausage Company offers several vegetarian options including vegetarian chili and a meatless hot dog.
A glass case at the counter displays the dessert options, which change depending on the day and the mood of Jan Kottke, who makes the desserts herself. Prices range from $2.24 to $4.52, with all of the sausages priced rather generously at $3.33.
On closer inspection, I saw that not only was the restaurant relatively full, but that it was full of seemingly satisfied customers. Indeed, everyone surrounding us seemed to be greatly enjoying both the atmosphere and their food.
There were a couple tables of families, a few more of businesspeople on their lunch break, and a few couples on lunch dates.
The 1910 Sausage Company, which has not yet advertised save for word-of-mouth, has been experiencing this business since its opening. As the owner and operator of several Subways since 1999, Kottke is no stranger to the restaurant business.
He first began thinking about the idea to open a sausage restaurant three or four years ago. In his personal travels to various cities in the country, he noticed the recent trend in hot dog and sausage restaurant popularity.
Kottke began to look around for a location and found the current site of the 1910 Sausage Company, which had been vacant for a few years.
With some stellar antique finds and a lot of decorating, the former site of Donald’s Gift Shop has been transformed into a picturesque 1910 street.
The back section of the restaurant is still a work in progress; the currently scantily filled bookshelves will continue to be stocked, and one of the walls will be spiced up with a mural.
There are several more exciting changes to come in the next few weeks, including the sale of imported beer and the featuring of a combo meal, which includes one of their sausages, fries and a drink for under $5 every day of the week.
A grand opening is scheduled for March. The restaurant will also be changing its hours to include weekend nights and will begin selling sausages out of the front window during College Avenue’s bar time.
The 1910 Sausage Company will soon offer a menu that is intended for Lawrence students and showcases their vegetarian options.
The owners also hope to involve the Lawrence community by encouraging students to display and sell their artwork.
The 1910 Sausage Company offers diverse and inexpensive meals for college students of all tastes in a friendly and fast environment. It is definitely worth the walk down the Ave, even in January.