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It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t pretty, but man was it good.
I’m talking of course about sausage – and my, my what a sausage. We hadn’t intended to visit Vienna’s oldest sausage stand this weekend, but thankfully for the progress of my Vienna List challenge, the gin bar we spent the night in on Saturday was a short stroll from Leo’s Wurstelstand.
Now before I go into detail about Leo’s, can we all just take a moment to recognise the gloriousness of this right here:
That right there is a late night snack made fancy by pure Viennese charm.
For those of you that are better-behaved humans than I could ever be, allow me to explain what a late night snack on a Saturday night normally looks like.
Normally, after a few fine tipples at the watering hole of your choice, you will come to realise that the only possible, physical way you will be able to safely, happily conclude your classy evening is with a small and by no means dainty snack. The most popular choices for this kind of ‘snack’ (otherwise known as dirty drunk food) are McDonalds, a Kebab or currywurst sausage. In Vienna, the snack of choice is Käsekrainer sausage (literally, cheese filled sausages. Yes. It’s a thing).
While all these snacks are delicious and right for the time, you always feel kinda gross while eating them. Confronted with your own disgusting humanity in that moment, it’s never a photo worthy experience (plus you’re too busy inhaling your food for selfies).
End of night sausage eating is never pretty
In Vienna, the Würstelstands on a Saturday night are the best place to be, as the cities party people congregate by them to round out a night. Whether you are at Bitzinger’s in the first district (beautiful location, excellent sausage, but long queues) or just the closest Würstel stand on your ride home. You will normally find a group of people standing beside the würstelstand, clutching their sausages and perhaps their one last can of beer before heading home.
Now while that sounds kinds of dodgy, Würstelstands are actually the best place to meet people in Vienna.
It’s the one time Viennese are open, expansive and happy to joke around and chat with strangers. Some of the most random and hilarious chats I have had with locals were by Würstelstands. So, in short: Würstelstands are awesome.
But I digress from the main point – the key detail is that no matter where you are, you never feel particularly glamorous, sexy or in any way fancy while eating dirty drunk food. You can’t when scarfing down a burger, or a sausage covered in mayonnaise and oozing cheese onto your fingers. Half-hiding your face from friends or blatantly embracing your hot-mess self, end of night sausage eating is never pretty.
Unless your sausage is served by a golden sausage god who presents it to you literally on a silver platter.
This, my friends, is how Leo’s Wurstelstand takes dirty drunk snacks and makes them…beautiful. The ‘Big Mama’ platter of gigantic cheesy sausage, 5 different dipping sauces, gurken, peppers and of course a side of bread.
Leo’s Würstlestand is a household name in Vienna, largely for this reason. The oldest of the cities dwindling number of Würstelstands, it was first founded in 1928, then taken over and remodelled by the founder’s granddaughter Trudl in the 1990’s. Though they now offer vegetarian and vegan sausages, you cannot miss the chance to have a giant cheesy sausage so beautifully served on a platter.
I have been telling people about this sausage for days, because now, my lovely friends, you too must go and enjoy the fancy-as-hell experience of having your dirty food served on a silver platter.
It won’t be pretty in the end, but man-oh-man will you enjoy this typically Viennese moment!
Leo’s Würstlestand Quick Tips…
Right in the heart of the junction at Nussdorfer strasse & Döblinger Gurtel in the 19th district. Get to Nussdorfer strasse Ubahn and you can’t miss it!
Must East Item
The household name ‘Big Mama’ sausage platter as pictured multiple times above. There’s also vegetarian options available.
The sausage stand has a solid ‘no drunks’ policy after dark so don’t worry about seedy characters, Trudl sets the rules round here!
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