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Beginning on Thursday, Oct. 12, The Vanguard, 2659 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., will be rolling out a new selection of housemade sausages as well as some brand new brunch offerings.
The menu is a finale of sorts for Chef Shay Linkus, who is leaving his post of three years to team up with Chef Mitch Ciohon and John Revord on a new restaurant concept in Walker’s Point.
"It’s been great, man," says Linkus of the departure. "I feel like I’m leaving my family. And it’s not like a bad break-up, I’m around, just a phone call away. And the brand will always be my baby."
His parting gift? These five imaginative sausages.
1. Turkey & Beet Berliner
Berliner sausage served with curried tomato sauce and grilled green onion ($9).
"I really wanted to do a more traditional Berliner sausage," says Linkus. "The sausage has turkey ground with beets, garlic, sumac and lemon. And I’d made the curry ketchup to go with something else, but it was just really good with this. It’s super tangy … kind of gets you in the nose when you eat it."
2. Red Chorizo
A sausage made with pork, garlic, cayenne pepper and paprika topped with goat cheese, queso fundido, chipotle and chile relish ($8)
"It’s Tex Mex as sh*t, like ChiChis or something," Shay remarks.
Japanese inspired sausage made with pork, beef, octopus and miso, topped with nori mayo, eel sauce, wasabi and bonito flakes ($10).
"Originally we called it the Japanese steakhouse," says Linkus. "But then we named it Ribera. It’s where all the Japanese wrestlers go in Japan. And it’s like an entire hibachi menu all crammed into a sausage."
4. The Detroit Coney
An all-beef hot dog with Detroit coney sauce, mustard and onion ($6).
"It’s totally different from what you picture when you hear ‘coney dog,’" notes Linkus. "Instead of going heavy on the spices in the chili, they’re all added in balanced quantities. And then it’s rouxed with butter and flour. It’s just buttery and really good. It’s a Detroit thing, but it should be a national thing."
Other additions include a new topping option for classic sausages: Philly Style, featuring Cheese Whiz, sauteed peppers, mushrooms and onions as well as a Prik Khing Vegan Poutine. There’s also a vegan red curry sausage served with red curry mayo, sambal, cilantro and cauliflower relish and KILEG sausage returns featuring bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, chili sauce, hoisin and lime.
Sausages cycling off the menu temporarily will include the Bork Lazer, Lamb Toulouse, Guzman, and Spinach & Artichoke.
5. Hangover 16
This dog is one of a number of new brunch dishes. It features chicken sausage, jalapeno sausage gravy, a fried egg and potato pancakes.
"The brunch menu is just all over the top," notes Linkus. "It’s totally meant for hangovers. Absolutely nothing on it is light. And there’s no fruit."
Additional brunch options include the "Chicken & Waffles" featuring fried chicken sausage, a Belgian waffle and spicy syrup; "Breakfast Link" showcasing a chicken apple and sage breakfast link topped with onion, peppers and fried egg and served on a bun; and the "Diner Brat", a bacon-wrapped bratwurst with a fried egg, chives and cheddar.
"His innovative recipes will continue to live on the Vanguard menu for years to come," notes co-owner James McCann of Linkus. "We wish our friend the best of luck, and we'd like to thank him for three years of creativity, hard work and zero tolerance of posers. Shay and his family will always be a part of the Vanguard family. He has the tattoo to prove it."
The Vanguard is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily with brunch served on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.