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OSS Does Old School Sausage Sandwiches In Innovative Ways

By Pamela Sosnowski

No one knows for sure what OSS stands for, according to the Madison restaurant's website, it could be Our Signature Sausages, Old School Sausage, or Our Sausage Shop. Or, judging by the comfort food creations on its menu, it may stand for Oh So Satisfying. Your belly will definitely be happy after savoring the selections such as the Wiscago Dog (a hotdog loaded with everything but ketchup), Cheddar Jalapeño pork bratwurst sub, or the Raclette Party, a Swiss-style veal brat topped with melted raclette cheese.

Josh Boll, the restaurant's general manager, says that some of the recipes come directly from the customers themselves. "We've found that our customers are just as creative as us (in some cases, more creative), and that they will provide us with ideas that we've never even considered," he says. "We had a customer who submitted an idea for a British-inspired Chicken Tikka Masla bratwurst. It quickly became one of our best sellers and the creator really enjoyed seeing his creation and name on our menu." They've also collaborated with notable Wisconsin chefs who have submitted their own bratwurst recipes.

While the sausage flavors and toppings presented may seem a little overwhelming, as Boll explains, the restaurant simply deconstructs the flavors and ingredients of an original dish and recreates it in sausage form. Their Egg Roll, for example, takes a ginger-seasoned pork bratwurst and tops it with stir-fried cabbage and carrots, a sweet and sour mayonnaise, spicy mustard, and fried wonton strips to recreate the taste and texture sensation of biting into a crispy, fried Chinese egg roll. The Banh Mi is a new take on the classic Vietnamese sandwich using a pork sausage topped with pickled vegetables, cilantro, jalapeños, and chili-spiced mayonnaise.

OSS's concept was created by Chris and Tyler Soukup?brothers that own a Monroe institution known as the Baumgartner Cheese Store and Tavern. The nostalgic vintage store specializes in cheese, sausage, and beer, Wisconsin's favorite comfort food, and the Soukups wished to expand on that holy trilogy and enlisted Boll for help with creating the recipes. "While OSS is only three years old (and a mere 83 years behind Baumgartner's, which happens to be Wisconsin's oldest cheese store), its position as the only all-sausage eatery in Madison has already made it a must-visit destination for people living in or visiting Wisconsin's capitol city," he states.

If the hearty sandwiches aren't enough for your appetite, the deep-fried cheese curds (made from cheese sourced from the Silver Lewis Cheese Factory) that are served with a choice of dipping sauces surely will fill any space in your stomach. The restaurant's steampunk-inspired interior is designed to foster a sense of community with its large bars and tables that are made from recycled materials that include bowling alley lanes, church doors, and even tractor parts. Board games are available to pass the time away after enjoying a meal. All of which helps make OSS's patrons feel like they're at home.

"OSS' comfortable atmosphere mirrors the laid-back approach of many Wisconsin taverns and eateries all the while generating a sense of togetherness and community over our shared love of comfort foods from all over the world," says Boll. "No matter what they choose to do while enjoying our food, we want our customers to feel like they've discovered a welcoming place where they already are treated like a "regular," even on their very first visit."

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