Rating Bangers & Brews

Food: ( ) Outstanding meats and house-made sauces, although some sausages are overly dry.

Service: ( ) Family-run restaurant has counter orders and rapid and friendly table delivery.

Atmosphere: ( ) Basic ambiance offers nothing of special note, but it’s clean and well-kept.

More info

Location: 1288 SW Simpson Ave., Bend

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day

Cuisine: German-style sausages

Price range: Sausages $7.50 to $9, side dishes $3

Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa

Kids’ menu: On request

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Vegetarians can get a salad, gluten-free diners might order a sausage without a bun.

Alcoholic beverages: Beer and cider

Outdoor seating: Patio seats 24

Reservations: No

Contact: facebook.com/bangersandbrews or 541-389-2050

Don’t make the mistake of thinking a sausage is simply a sausage, especially if you plan to dine at the new Bangers & Brews restaurant on Bend’s west side.

It’s true that the same essential process is applied to the making of most sausages. Ground meat — typically pork, beef or veal — is blended with spices and seasonings and stuffed into a casing traditionally made from intestine. This savory sack of meat is then broiled, pan-fried, barbecued or sometimes boiled.

But Marcelo García’s little cafe takes the traditional a couple of steps further. Yes, he offers the everyday-variety sausage: English-style bangers, German bratwurst, spicy Italian. He serves specialties like smoked andouille sausage, black pepper-and-garlic sausage, Portland brewers’ IPA sausage. There are three varieties of chicken sausage as well.

Then he gets adventurous. Water buffalo, wild boar, venison, elk, rabbit and duck are on the everyday menu. Weekly specials stretch the choices to whatever Nicky USA, a Portland-based purveyor of exotic game, might provide, frequently merguez (North African) lamb. I fully expect to see antelope and ostrich on the list one of these weeks soon.

Argentine accents

García, a native of Argentina who moved with his family to Bend from Los Angeles two years ago, opened Bangers & Brews in early May in the former Erickson’s shopping center, in a space vacated by a pizza restaurant.

The entire family contributes — especially 80-year-old Ruben García, the family patriarch, who delivers food and drinks to tables while charming patrons with his Euro-Latino graciousness. Grandma Mercedes makes the garlicky chimichurri sauce, rich in parsley and oregano, that is served as a side dish with Big Ed’s breads. Teenage daughters Frankie and Lily work the counter, where all orders are placed, while Marcelo’s wife, Tisha, directs from behind the scenes.

Marcelo controls the kitchen. Most of his orders are for standard beef and pork sausages, locally sourced from Cascade Farms. But the permutations of preparation options — every order includes a choice of two toppings and one sauce — make a meal anything but standard.

The first thing a patron hears, after a welcome, is this question from the young women at the counter: “Is this your first time dining with us?” They proceed to explain the ordering process. Choose a sausage from the 15 to 18 offered. Choose your toppings, including sauerkraut and sweet peppers. Choose a sauce, perhaps Grandma’s chimichurri.

Then take a seat, indoors or on the adjoining open patio. There are about two dozen chairs in either area. Within minutes, your sausage and beverage — per the establishment’s name, an excellent selection of local beers is available — will be delivered.

Bangers and brats

Bangers and mash are served on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and this ever-so-British dish is always a popular choice. Ground pork and beef are blended with bread crumbs and spices and served on a bed of potatoes with a thin but savory gravy. My dining companion loved hers.

My favorite sausage was wild boar, blended with parsley and roasted garlic and served in a Big Ed’s bun upon a raised sausage holder. I doctored my meal with caramelized onions and spicy peppers, topped with barbecue chipotle sauce. The meat was juicier than I might have imagined, and the portion large enough that — along with a side of a garden salad — it was the perfect size for a light dinner.

On a second visit, I was not as impressed with a duck-and-bacon sausage, blended with cilantro, garlic and finely diced jalapeño peppers. Although the flavor was robust, to be sure, the meat was denser and thus not as moist as the boar had been. My toppings of diced tomatoes and cheddar cheese, along with spicy ranch sauce, helped compensate.

My companion had a similar experience with her water buffalo brat, blended with pork, onions and spices. Lean by nature, it was very dry, but a side of chimichurri sauce went a long way toward making the meat more succulent.

We departed with a takeaway chicken-apple sausage with whole-grain mustard and diced onions, as well as a side of sweet-potato fries. This was one of our favorites of all the sausages. Finely diced apples blended with the ground poultry assured a luscious flavor.

Bangers & Brews is a fine addition to the food scene in Central Oregon. Nothing on the menu is priced above $9, and the hospitality of the García family makes me glad I don’t have to travel all the way to South America to enjoy these budget-priced bites.

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at janderson@bendbulletin.com .

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