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Sep 30, 2013 11:56 PM

The Wurst Sausage Grill and Beer Garden in Healdsburg

The Wurst opened 2+ years ago and became an instant hit. The ‘hounds talked about it in this thread,

I’ve been here frequently, alone and with friends, when we need a quick, inexpensive bite. While not diet food, the offerings are wholesome and more importantly, tasty. The first time, we’d had a couple rounds of cocktails at Spoonbar around the corner, then followed the street sign arrow to The Wurst.

The uncooked sausages and half-pound spheres of J Brand grassfed beef destined for hamburgers are displayed in the case. Order from the overhead menus and pay at the counter, then the food is brought to the table.

So far, my favorite item is . . .
Smash Burger, $8.75 – The first time, I checked to be sure that the burger isn't smooshed down on the grill, becoming dry and lifeless. "Smash" refers to pressing the carmelized onions into the ball of raw meat when it hits the grill. Eating outside in the dark, this flash photo was the only clue into what my food actually looked like.

Topped with sharp Tillamook cheese and a big swab of fry sauce, the very juicy beef patty and soft grilled onions make for one wet and messy burger even with the toasted bun. This is the kind of drippy burger that you have to eat in one sitting and can’t put down or it will just collapse. Luckily, it’s so good, that’s not hard to do. The housemade butter pickles add crunch, and I like to hit it with some spicy giardiniere to kick it up a notch. I’ve had the Smash Burger four times now and it’s been a solid four for four. But a couple friends have complained of dryness when they tried it.

For something different burger-wise, equally craveable and a vegetarian option is . . .
Falafel Burger, $8.75 – This features a single patty-shaped falafel with a delicate crispness on the surface and a highly seasoned interior. The lightly toasted top half of the seeded bun is spread with hummus on top; tahini sauce is on the side. A whole leaf of green leaf lettuce protects the bottom half of the bun and provides a reservoir for the killer tomato and avocado relish. Topped off with cucumber-dill yogurt sauce (tzatziki) and a crown of juicy cherry tomatoes, this one’s a dripping mess too and equally memorable.

On the sausage side, I’ve tried . . .

Detroit Polish, $6.75 – Imported from South Detroit beef/pork/beer/onion Polish in a snappy casing on a Costeaux Bakery roll topped with sauerkraut and sweet peppers. Satin-textured and sweet peppers go step for step with the tartness of the sauerkraut, and adding some of the peppy giardiniere took it over the top.

Sheboygan Brat, $6.75 – Pork bratwurst imported from Sheboygan, WI, with my topping choices of carmelized onions and hot peppers. The hot jalapeño peppers used to be roasted and velvety, now they’re house-pickled. This is one change in the wrong direction.

Detroit Chili Dog, $5 – Grilled Schwarz all beef hot dog topped with Motown chili, yellow mustard, and raw chopped onions. The chili’s imported from Detroit and seemed a bit flat and too earthy to me, making this the only item that didn’t rock for me. Maybe you have to grow up with this chili.

For extras on the side, I’ve had the Memphis cole slaw. French fries, $3.50, are hand-cut and come with a choice of dipping sauce. I’ve tried the truffle aioli and the spicy chipotle and liked both.

The self-serve condiment bar includes red curry ketchup, plain ol’ Hunts and jalapeño ketchup, at least four kinds of mustard, both sweet and dill pickle relish, red pepper relish (similar to ajvar), plus giardiniere. To me, it’s another demonstration of the owner Charles Bell’s fanatical attention to detail.

The Wurst started out very strong but Bell still tweaks his offerings by swapping out bread sources, changing sausages types, etc. in a continuous improvement mode. The Wurst keeps getting better each time I drop in.

The Wurst Sausage Grill, Burgers & Beer
22 Matheson St
Healdsburg, CA 95448

J Brand Cattle Co.

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  1. A favorite of ours, the sausages and burger are excellent and the casual setting is nice.
    Getting our fill of sausage this week in merry old England but will begin craving them when we get back :).

    1. Stopped there last time we were in Healdsburg for a quick lunch. Lots of choices and a nice selection of specialty condiments.

      The outside tables are dog-friendly.

      1. Yesterday I was back at The Wurst with some friends for a lunch outside. The fries are as good as ever, ordered this time as garlic fries. I managed to wean myself away from my favorite Smash Burger to try the Blue Burger. Made with the same grassfed J Brand local beef, the Blue Burger has a slab of Maytag blue cheese, sweet pepper relish, carmelized onions, and bread & butter pickles. It's a winner too.

        The bigger news though is that The Wurst started serving frozen custard in May. I had the creamsicle, a twist of vanilla custard and orange freeze. Not life-altering frozen custard, but for $3 apiece, very satisfactory. Besides vanilla and orange, chocolate's also available.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I forgot to mention that the children with us enjoyed their kids meals (for the under 12 set) a lot. It comes with a choice of hot dog, cheese burger, chicken nuggets or a turkey burger, plus a beverage, fries and ice cream for $6 or $6.50. The kids were pleased after what I imagine might have been too many grown-up dinners in wine country.

        2. Sounds great, especially after wine tasting.

          what's the story with the beer? good selection?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bryan Gros

            Here's the beer list on the website,

            Let us know how you like it.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              While staying in Healdsburg, I noticed this place by the patio and the crowd and knew I had to check it out. Definitely a good find and a great value. I will need to explore the menu with a few more visits.

              One minor complaint was that, at least at lunch, the beer taps were a bit neglected. Two of the seven taps were down and none of the lunch crew seemed adept at replenishing them. I got a Reality Czech that was a bit flat. The Boont Amber was in good shape. Pretty sure with the volume business they do that this was an early-in-the-day anomaly.