Black Box Hospitality Group presents Salz: quick grab-and-eat Bavarian sausage and pickles or stay-in micro beer hall. Either way, it’s a win.
A growing and re-branded empire, Black Box Hospitality Group consists of Elm Café, District Café & Bakery, Little Brick, and Burrow. Owner Nate Box, alongside chefs and co-owners Allan Suddaby and Eric Jalbert can now add Salz to the group, a German and Austrian sausage and beer hall to cater to the Oliver neighbourhood.
A sneak peek of the menu last September was enough to get everybody excited about Salz. A ticket got us a generous sampling of what Salz offers: pretzels, housemade sausages, house pickles and German salads (cheesy spätzel, marinated tomato salad & potato salad) and mustard. Apple strudel followed suit. The meal brought back fond memories when I had Allan’s food for the first time at his pop-up at Elm’s Dining Room.
Mmm, if Chef Suddaby ever opened up his own sausage stand, I’d be the first in line. – Cindy, circa 2014.
Okay so fair enough, I wasn’t the first in line when Salz opened last week but I did hustle down there pretty quickly for lunch. The hotspot has been home to Elm’s catering operations since their move from 118 Avenue. Tucked away on the avenue behind the Safeway in Oliver Square, the 600 square feet front space now houses a mere communal seating of eight, as well as eight more stools window-side. It’s a miniature beer hall if I’ve ever heard of one. Like other Black Box establishments, Salz finds itself in a niche neighbourhood with a community willing to eat.
BRINE, BIER, BRATS.
Order at the counter for a quick grab-and-eat style of service, or stick around and enjoy a beer or two. There’s plenty of standing room around the table and a mounted TV to boot.
First step: pick Brat in a Bun, comes with pickles and chips, or Brat on a Plate, comes with one salad and one side. Each gets only one sausage but tack on another for an extra $4. I’ll have to agree with my past self again on this one, the side salads are just as noteworthy as the sausages. The advantage of a bun though is that you can chow down without a fork and knife.
Next, pick your sausage. At the time, there were three to choose from: Classic Bratwurst, a pork sausage flavoured with garlic and black pepper; Spicy Hungarian, a pork and beef sausage with Szeged Hungarian hot paprika and marjoram; or Käsekrainer, a pork sausage filled with Sylvan Star Gouda.
If you picked a plateful of goodness, choose one of each, rotational salads and sides. That day’s choice of salad: German Potato, Marinated Tomato, or Caraway Slaw. Sides were Cheese Spätzle or a daily soup, Dill Potato.
Sit down, dig in, and let Salz warm your heart. All three sausages are winners in my book, but the Käsekrainer has a soft spot in the hearts of Austrians (and mine). Stuff anything with cheese and the people will come. I’ve always been a fan of Allan’s potato salad, there’s no mayonnaise and fresh dill makes it addictive. New to me: the dill potato soup. I didn’t really know there was a void in my belly (I had just returned home from New York the day before) but this soup filled it right up. I love you Salz. For real. Those interested in a beer for lunch can do so with a pfiff, a measure of 200mL, typical Austrian style. Draught is currently from Situation Brewing and a rotating menu, including Alberta’s Fahr Hefeweizen.
I had no room for dessert but baked goods are available: pretzels, strudels, cookies, and Red Balloon Pie Co.’s caramels by District’s head pastry chef, Erica Vliegenthart. (Can I say that I will also be the first in line for her pies and caramels when her storefront opens?) You can also make your way back in line and buy some swag or packages of sausages to cook at home. It won’t be the same though without those salads and sides but it’ll tide you over until you return for sure.
For now, Salz is open during lunch hours with plans to expand to dinner and late night service. Brunch plans are also in the works. Congrats on Nate Box and his team on opening another favourite in Edmonton. I’ll be back soon, fingers crossed for Austrian dumplings!Salz
10556 115 Street