It all started in Essen, Germany, where Willi Koenemann was born around the turn of the century. Having learned all the secrets of making good sausage in Minden, Westphalia, right in the heart of sausage country, he emigrated to Chicago. There he found work as a butcher and met his future wife Elsbeth, also a native of Essen, whose education was primarily in business management. Willi, an independent entrepreneur, started his own butcher shop in Chicago in 1933 and married Elsbeth the following year. Their educational backgrounds meshed perfectly. Almost by accident they discovered a ready market for their sausages in Volo, a tiny farm hamlet way out in the Illinois country side. Well, it probably wasn’t an accident. On Sundays, Willi used to travel from their meat market in Chicago to a farm in the Volo area to butcher hogs. Eventually they set up a little sausage stand at the side of the highway. It went so well, that in 1940 they bought a piece of land there. They moved the business out of the city, and built a sausage kitchen with living quarters and a retail shop.
First alone, then with hired help, Willi, using the recipes he had brought along from Westphalia, concentrated on making premium sausages. Elsbeth sold them at their retail store and gradually also to delis throughout the country. Later she added gourmet foods imported from Germany to the sausages sold in the retail store. On top of the chimney of the store they put a replica of a stork’s nest with two of the long-legged birds – just as you could find them in their native Westphalia. Willi believed in making a first class product, using only selected fresh meats and spices and sticking with the original recipes. In addition, he employed German-trained sausage makers ” who really know how to make good sausage.” William, the founder’s son, who is now presiding over the family business, has not changed this prescription for success. Ah, yes, the sausage makers still get their training in Germany. What a selection of delicious sausages they make: Start with fresh sausages such as Frankfurters with natural casings, bratwurst, knackwurst, thueringer. Continue with the liver sausages, such as Braunschweiger or Westphalian. Then there are different versions of blood sausage, a product acknowledged even by their competitors as ” the best you can find.” Add such hickory smoked items as landjaeger, Holsteiner, mettwurst and salami. Prefer cold cuts such as schinkenwurst, fleischkaese, beerwurst, jagdwurst, gelbwurst or zwiebelwurst? Not enough? Then try Westphalian ham, smoked ham, nuss schinken, schinken speck.
We are open Tuesday – Saturday, 9 am till 5 pm, closed Sunday and Monday.
These are our winter hours, they will change in April.