It doesn't even need to be said that Usinger's is a Milwaukee tradition, does it?
I didn't even grow up in Brew City and I have fond memories of visiting the store at 1030 N. Old World 3rd St., as a child with my grandparents. I love that nearly 40 years later, it still smells and looks exactly the same as I remember it from my youth.
When my eldest was born, I made it a point to take him there. We went on a few occasions and he was always happy to look at the tiny houses in the window, the old world murals of the elves making sausages and to take a number and wait for it to be called. Oh, the suspense.
That the women working behind the counter would always give him a free wiener was the icing on the sausage cake.
On a recent weekend I realized during a visit to Milwaukee Public Museum, that my second child has never experienced Usinger's. So, we hopped in the car and made a stop on our way home.
On a Saturday morning, the shop was bustling and we had to wait for about a dozen numbers to be called before ours came up. The kids checked out the wee village houses in the meantime and then I stocked up on goodies off the imperfect table.
I got a package of "mis-sliced" bacon, another of "mis-sliced ham," half a roll of liver sausage and three packages of "imperfect" wieners for $20. The deal of the week! It reminded me that I need to stop at Usinger's more often, not only to create memories for the kids, but to stock up on some great Milwaukee sausage at unbeatable prices.
Of course, the kids got their free wieners, too, and we all left happy.