Otto's Sausage Kitchen

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Otto's Sausage Kitchen
Otto's, Portland, Oregon - 2012.JPG
The kitchen's front exterior in 2012
Otto's Sausage Kitchen is located in Portland, Oregon
Otto's Sausage Kitchen
Location in Portland, Oregon
Restaurant information
Established 1922 (1922)[1]
Current owner(s) Jerry and Gretchen Eichentopf
Previous owner(s) Otto Eichentopf; Edwin Eichentopt
Street address 4138 SE Woodstock Blvd.
City Portland
County Multnomah
State Oregon
Postal code/ZIP 97202
Country United States
Coordinates 45°28′44″N 122°37′11″W / 45.47900°N 122.61974°W / 45.47900; -122.61974Coordinates: 45°28′44″N 122°37′11″W / 45.47900°N 122.61974°W / 45.47900; -122.61974
Website www.ottossausage.com

Otto's Sausage Kitchen, formerly Otto's Meat Market, is a sausage restaurant and meat market located in the Woodstock neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, United States. German immigrant Otto Eichentopf established Otto's Meat Market in Aberdeen, Washington in the 1910s before relocating to Portland in 1921. Otto's Meat Market opened on Southeast Woodstock Boulevard in 1922. A new building was constructed at its current location in 1936–1937. Eichentopf's son Edwin acquired the store in the 1940s; Edwin's son Jerry, who began working at Otto's full-time starting at age eighteen, acquired the stores in 1983. Since then, he and his wife have expanded the retail part of the store. The family, which now includes the couple's children and extended members, makes more than forty sausage varieties on site, including some based on Eichentopt's recipes from Germany.

History[edit]

Otto Eichentopf, born in Germany in 1890, started Otto's Meat Market in Aberdeen, Washington in the 1910s. In 1921, Eichentopt relocated to Portland, Oregon with his wife Selma and their son Edwin. Otto's Meat Market opened on Southeast Woodstock Boulevard in 1922.[1] A new building was constructed at its current location in 1936–1937.[1][2] The building included a smokehouse that spanned two stories. Moreland Market was located in the front of the building, and Eichentopf and his son continued to make sausage in the back.[1]

Following Edwin's marriage to Eleanor in 1942 and some time in Germany during World War II, he worked for his father and eventually acquired the meat market and store. In 1942, Edwin and Eleanor gave birth to Jerry.[1]

Jerry began working for Edwin full-time starting at age eighteen. In 1976, Jerry married Gretchen, whom he met at Otto's. The couple acquired the store in 1983.[1] Gretchen has expanded the retail part of Otto's over the years. The couple's three daughters Heidi, Christie and Berka, and Heidi's husband Justin and their two children, assist with daily operations.[1] Sausage making practices have been passed down over the generations. The family makes more than forty sausage varieties on site, including some based on Eichentopf's recipes from Germany.[1][3]

Products[edit]

Products displayed in 2012

Eichentopf's "authentic" bockwurst recipe contains chives, eggs, milk and veal; his "Old Fashion Wieners" recipe, considered the "house specialty", includes beef, pork and spices in a natural casing, smoked by alder wood.[4][5] Other sausage products include alder smoked bacon,[6] cajun andouille (Otto's spiciest recipe),[7] chicken sausage,[8] two types of assortment "grill packs",[9][10] hunter sausage,[11] jerky (cured, seasoned with pepper and dried),[12] pastrami,[13] pepperoni sticks,[14] and smoked pork links seasoned with garlic, mustard and mustard seed.[15] According to its official website, the smokehouse has "well seasoned walls that give the smoked sausages and meats that one of a kind distinction that can only be Otto’s".[1] The kitchen serves homemade relish and sauerkraut and also sells chocolates from Europe, German beer and wine, imported varieties of mustard, locally-made honey, and peppered jellies.[3]

Murals[edit]

The interior of Otto's in 2014

In 2014, Michael Burge Smith painted a nearly 1,000 square foot (93 m2) mural depicting the Swiss and German Alps for the Eichentopfs. Smith and Gretchen collaborated on the concept after he saw the building's blank exterior 64-foot (20 m) wall one year prior and showed her samples of his work. Before painting the kitchen's outside wall, Smith completed an interior mural at Otto's and another at the Eichentopfs' daughter’s house.[16]

Most of the mural, inspired by the Eichentophfs' passion for skiing, was completed by Smith; his business partner Kenny Spurlock assisted during the early stage, but died in August 2014. Smith worked on the mural over the course of two months, mostly between the hours of 9 pm and 3 am. He said of his working style: "I love the freedom of being able to pick my hours. And I travel with my band all over the world, so I fit painting in when I have time." Smith has completed many murals in Portland and has taught painting to high school students in Oregon and Idaho.[16]

Reception[edit]

Otto's has been featured in Jane and Michael Stern's book Roadfood,[1][17] on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,[18] and in publications such as Gourmet magazine and The Oregonian.[1] The Sterns later included the kitchen on their list of the top ten "best hot-dog makers" in the United States for the cooking and food website Epicurious.[2] In 2011, Serious Eats included Otto's as one of 64 contenders in their "Search for America's Best Hog Dog"; the website commended the Portland restaurant for making their own sausages, unlike many others featured in the competition.[19][20] Otto's has been called "quant" and its sausages, "awesome".[3][21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "About". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Portland-based Otto's makes top ten list for hot dogs". Portland, Oregon: KATU. July 5, 2004. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Otto's Sausage Kitchen". Portland Monthly. December 5, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Bockwurst". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Old Fashion Wieners". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Alder Smoked Bacon". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Cajun Andouille". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Chicken Sausage". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Grill Pack #1". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Grill Pack #2". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Hunter Sausage". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Jerky". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Pastrami". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Pepperoni Sticks". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Smoked Pork Links". Otto's Sausage Kitchen. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Groff, Elizabeth Ussher (November 29, 2014). "Otto's new mural brings the German Alps to Woodstock". The Bee (Pamplin Media Group). Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  17. ^ Stern, Michael. "Otto's Sausage Kitchen". Roadfood.com. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Go-To Joints: Episode DV0607H". Food Network. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Otto's Sausage Kitchen, Portland, Oregon". Serious Eats. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  20. ^ "The Search for America's Best Hot Dog: The West". Serious Eats. February 3, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Otto's Sausage Kitchen". Lonely Planet. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 

External links[edit]