Usinger’s Famous Sausage is located at 1030 North Old World Third Street in Milwaukee, WI.
Called “America’s Finest Sausage” the company mascot is an elf named Fritzie. The idea for their corporate symbol was inspired by murals painted in the original downtown store by a German immigrant named George Peters in the early 1900s.
When Fredrick Usinger III took over leadership of the company in 1953, he introduced the “Head Elf” of these murals, nicknamed “Fritzie,” and made the elf the company’s registered trademark.
During a 2014 TV interview, Fritz Usinger, the current president of Usinger’s Famous Sausage, said “the elves live in the upper floors of the business and come out at night. They do all the work and the humans are the front for the operation. So the elves do all the heavy lifting.”
In addition, the company website reveals, “The Usinger elves have been making the sausage since the 1880s. You may never see them, but you definitely feel their presence when you visit the store and taste all of the old-fashioned goodness.”
In September, 2012, President Obama visited Usinger’s and sampled a hickory stick (beef, pork, salt, spices) sandwich and then bought a sample pack of sausage to take with him back to the White House. No word if he managed to sneak the bratwurst past his nutrition-conscious first lady Michelle Obama.
NOTE: Usinger’s was founded by Fred Usinger, an apprentice sausage maker (wurstmacher) from Frankfurt, Germany. He emigrated to Milwaukee in the late 1870s and worked for a family named Gaertner at their butcher shop. He soon bought the shop, married their niece, and formed the Usinger Sausage company in 1880.
Today, Usinger’s makes over 100 types of sausages recipes. They also do co-manufacturing or co-packing for other companies under their brand name.
Their new plant on East Florida street in the Fifth Ward is where a lot of action happens in regards to their sausage business today. They had to duplicate the 100-year-old brick ovens from the old smoking houses on Third street because they didn’t want to alter the product and change the traditional smoke flavors.
When a new line of sausage or recipes are considered, they are judged by a committee of 12 tasters.
Usinger’s Famous Sausage
1030 N Old World Third Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203