It’s officially fall, and everywhere from Oktoberfest celebrations to tailgate parties, sausages are the stars of the show. Right now bratwursts, knockwursts and various other wursts are sizzling on grills, being thrown on buns and slathered in the spiciest of mustards — all for the gluttonous enjoyment of meat-enthusiasts everywhere. At this point if you haven’t been indulging, it simply must be due to a lack of knowledge on where you can get your hands on the goods. If you are in Cape May County one spot comes to mind — Gaiss’ Meat Market and Grill.
One of the finest old-school mom-and-pop delis in South Jersey, Gaiss’ Market is a wonderland for carnivores. Though the business opened its doors way back in 1928, they didn’t start making their own sausages until 15 years ago. Since then folks have been traveling far and wide for their signature snap.
“When they started making sausage here it was originally just to have a few items in the case, but since then it has grown to include over 50 different items,” says Tony Martino, store manager. “We do fresh kielbasa, sweet Italian, breakfast sausages as well as a whole line of smoked sausages, including stuffed varieties such as bacon cheddar and a jalapeno pepper cheese sausage griller that is featured at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood.”
Martino started working at Gaiss’ when he was in high school. Over the course of 12 years he worked his way up, learning each aspect of the business in the process. When the owners decided they wanted to retire, Martino took over the day to day operations of the market. And when it comes to sausage, he is the man behind it all. So what separates a Gaiss’ Market sausage from any other sausage you might find in your supermarket?
“All of our stuff is made on premises with the finest pork available. It gets brought in each week, its hand trimmed, freshly ground and smoked right in the store. And we never use liquid smoke — we don’t even allow it in the building,” he says with a smile. It’s clear Martino takes pride in what they do at Gaiss’ and in the quality of the products they put out. “Our smoked kielbasi took home a gold medal in Germany in 2016 and our hot dogs took home a silver.”
If an American-made sausage can take home medals in Germany, it’s clear Gaiss’ is doing something right.
Gaiss’ Meat Market and Grill is located at 1215 Bayshore Road, Villas. For more info, call 609-886-5121.
So where else can you get your hands on some great sausage dishes? Here are a few of our favorites.
Bellino’s Market: Bacon Sausage
When Chef Chris Bellino left the Smithville Inn to open his own store, the anticipation was high — and for good reason. Bellino’s reputation as one of the most inventive chefs in the area brought folks in the door, but what keeps them coming back is the quality of the items being served, like several varieties of sausage, including the real show stopper here — the bacon sausage, a sausage that is made entirely from bacon. And you thought there was no way to make sausage more delicious. Think again.
Bellino’s Market is located at 45 S. New York Road, Smithville. Go to BellinosMarket.com.
Mickey & Minnie’s Inn: German Wurst Sampler
When it comes to traditional German food, South Jersey is not exactly on par with Frankfurt. But there is one spot that folks have been coming to for decades that truly shines — Mickey & Minnie’s Inn.
Mickey & Minnie’s is all about tradition. You aren’t going to find jalapeno sausage or anything too wild. What you will find is a selection of classic German sausages prepared the way you would expect, simmered in beer and grilled along with sides like applekraut, German potato salad, red cabbage and spatzle. Our tip: go for the sampler, which includes a bockwurst, a knackwurst and a bratwurst. Think of it as the best of the wursts. (See what we did there? Genius!)
Mickey & Minnie’s Inn is located at 733 W. White Horse Pike in Egg Harbor City. Go to MickeyAndMinnie’sInn.com.
Bourre: Gator Po Boy
Now for something really unusual. You’ve likely had various types of sausages from various countries and regions, but have you ever tasted the deliciousness that is alligator sausage? A staple of Cajun cooking, alligator sausage is a rarity in the Northeast, but Bourre, the Cajun barbecue spot that opened last year in Atlantic City’s Orange Loop serves it in various dishes. Our favorite is the Gator Po Boy, which starts with French bread piled with a spicy-sweet alligator sausage and topped with peppers and onions. It’s the closest A.C. comes to the bayou.
Bourre is located at 201 S. New York Ave. in Atlantic City.Go to BourreAtlanticCity.com for more info.
Tennesee Avenue Beer Hall: Trio of Artisan Sausages
Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall has become one of the hottest gastropubs in the area since opening its doors last November, and the menu of bar food with a twist has a lot to do with that. Sausage lovers will rejoice, as its trio of artisan sausages are top-notch and include such varieties as chorizo, chicken stuffed with spinach and feta as well as kielbasa that is brought in specially from a Polish butcher in Pennsylvania. The trio comes served with whole grain mustard and house-pickled vegetables.
Tennessee Avenue Beer hall is located at 133 S. Tennessee Ave. in A.C. Go to Tennessee AvenueBeerHall.com.
Mad Batter: Chorizo Paella
Cape May may be more known for the splendor of its Victorian mansions than for its clever use of sausage, but the latter can still be found for those with a nose for it. The Mad Batter makes clever use of Mexican sausage by adding their made-in-house chorizo as the main ingredient in their incredible paella, which also includes onions, peppers, peas, tomatoes and long grain rice. Want to kick it up even more? Add chicken, shrimp or fresh scallops to it. You won’t regret it.
The Mad Batter is located at 19 Jackson St. in Cape May. For more info go to MadBatter.com.