Geier's Sausage Kitchen
Forget Batman’s bat-signal lighting up the sky. If I were a superhero, my beacon of choice would be the Geier’s Sausage Kitchen sign. The heads of natives and newcomers alike can’t help but swivel to stare at the bright yellow sign that has stood on South 41 for almost 30 years. Along a stretch of road that is mainly made up of neutral brown storefronts, stretches of dull grey asphalt, and a slew of stark landscaping, that bold, sunshine- yellow sign radiates an Old-World charm and a promise of delicacies and delights.
Welcome to Geier’s Sausage Kitchen, where the food is as abundant as the family feel.
“People don’t quite realize what we are. They tend to think of us only as a German meat market, but we are so much more,” says Caroline (Geier) Martin, owner of Geier’s, a long-standing family establishment here in Sarasota and an even older family venture leading back to Selb, Germany. Sarasota residents, even the vegetarians, are familiar with Geier’s as its unique niche makes it the go-to place for any German edible.
Yes, yes, of course sausage is the star, but don’t for a second discount the plethora of other goodies to gorge on. Sweet mustard, sharp mustard, spicy mustard, smooth mustard ... the condiment selection alone makes Geier’s worth a visit. Plus, this is the spot for true German breads flown in from the homeland, brotchen and spitzweck, sauerkraut just like Gramma Gretel used to make, brandy, marzipan, sweet cakes, and, of course, lagers, brews, and ales. Oh my.
OK, let’s be frank: Sausage is clearly the show stopper here, and for good reason.
This family of sausage makers have been at it for over 100 years. “We are fifth-generation. This is tradition. This is heritage. This is all we know,” Caroline tells me with a mix of German straightforward sincerity and a bit of amicable American approachability. “Knackwurst, bratwurst, frankfurters, blood sausage, English bangers ... and we make the world’s best hot dogs.” I believe her.
Geier’s only uses top cuts: no fillers, “no junk.” They use very few, if any, preservatives, which means a sausage’s shelf life is five days (unless frozen). The crew still uses century-old family recipes and creates each in small batches, from hand—meaning no mechanical boning like larger companies do. The family started this process at the retail location in the early 1980s, but high demand for their incredible product forced them to buy a local processing plant just a few years later. Now, Geier’s is one of the largest sausage manufacturing plants in the United States, serving nationwide under USDA regulations. As well as its famous sausages, this seemingly small shop makes over 120 varieties of lunch meats, ham, and bacon. Regular, double-smoked, Hungarian, paprika—the options are endless.
I asked Caroline where and how she sources her meat, something more and more folks are, thankfully, paying attention to. Though Geier’s wide selection of meats doesn’t quite yet fully cater to the organic, sustainable, locavore crowd, customers should be content in knowing that their meats are antibiotic- and hormone-free, follow humane farming practices, and Geier’s carries Florida “Seminole” Beef, which is a migratory grass-fed herd.
“We grind all of our own grinds, nothing comes pre-ground. We trim everything out ourselves. We don’t add organ meat or fillers— unless we’re making liver link, blood sausage, or English bangers, which call for those ingredients,” explains Caroline.
Another thing that differentiates Geier’s from the grocery store is the customer interaction, a business model more reminiscent of bygone eras than any modern megacorp.
“We are an old-fashioned meat market. You come get your pork chop or steak cut exactly how you want it,” says Caroline. “We have a full line of service. How you want it is how we’ll do it for you. We’ll even cook your meals. Daily, if you’d like!” She further explains that Geier’s offers homemade specials every day from the hot grill. Plus, you can choose from an assortment of 30 types of handmade salads and delicious “overnight” kraut.
And after all that, if you’re still hungry, come get your fill of German polka music and $3 sausages (complete with kraut and specialty German rolls) every Saturday. Geier’s puts on a parking lot cookout as a thank you to everyone for supporting the company week after week. $3 knacks and brats? It’s a no-brainer.
Come see for yourself. See you Saturday!
Geier’s Sausage Kitchen: 7447 S Tamiami Trl; 888-743-4377;