WESTMONT – Known as the cook of his family, Westmont resident Ed St. Clair first began making sausages when he and his brother entered a local cooking competition about two years ago.
Together, they concocted a “turducken” sausage, a link which pays homage to the holiday meal of a duck stuffed with a chicken, which is then stuffed into a turkey. Although they did not claim the top prize, the fowl sausage was a hit, according to St. Clair.
“It was very labor intensive, but it came out really well,” he said. “You could actually taste all three distinct flavors. It got me thinking about what else we could do with sausages that hasn’t been done yet.”
He then began experimenting with bratwursts, seasoning the meat with beer powder to achieve a distinct “beer brat taste.” Again, the sausage was popular among friends, family members and co-workers.
“People came up to me and said, ‘Wow, you can really taste the beer in this,’” St. Clair said. “In the back of my mind, I knew I always wanted to own my own restaurant, so I decided to take a chance.”
St. Clair, 60, devised a business plan, acquired a storefront and left his career as a truck dispatcher, opening Unique Sausage in December 2013. Located at 214 E. Chicago Ave., he said the harsh winter made for a slow start, but sales now are picking up.
“I’m doing my best to get out into the community, really introduce myself and Unique Sausage to Westmont residents,” St. Clair said. “I am an active member of the chamber of commerce, and I just spent this weekend handing out coupons to people at the Taste of Westmont.”
Currently, St. Clair is the only employee at Unique Sausage. As a result, he’s gotten used to the routine of prepping seasoning Mondays and Tuesdays and making a fresh batch of links before the weekend rush.
Although St. Clair omitted the turducken sausage from the Unique Sausage menu, he said customers have grown fond of the staple beer brats and Italian sausages and are beginning to warm up to the more adventurous jalapeño bacon and basil tarragon flavors. The menu also includes a variety of chicken sausages and breakfast links and patties.
St. Clair conceded while it’s more convenient to purchase sausages and hot dogs at a large grocery store, he attested the care he puts into his work, as well as the all-natural ingredients, make it well worth he trip.
“Our sausages are made on site from 100 percent pork shoulders and chicken and beef that are all natural,” he said. “There are no artificial colors or flavors, no preservatives and no MSG, meaning all our sausages are gluten free, even the beer brats.”