The Linkery: Pair Hand-Made Sausages With Craft Beer in North Park [CLOSED]

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Restaurant San Diego

Jay Porter's seasonal, sausage-powered restaurant stands out in San Diego.

Jay Porter opened The Linkery on February 25, 2005, near a residential stretch of San Diego’s North Park, which sits just northeast of Balboa Park. Porter centered on sausages due to their global appeal and because they’re hand-made, a lost art in most establishments.

The Linkery lists the day’s sausage offerings on a chalkboard out front. Hot Italian, chicken parmesan, Boerewors from South Africa, and The Victory. Every day is different, depending upon what types of meats General Manager Michael McGuan chooses to grind and encase.

Chef Mars Wasterval has written an interesting menu. Sure, there will always be sausage links, but Mars also draws inspiration from Europe, Asia, South America and Mexico. The day’s specials include Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, fish and chips made with halibut and ono, and a chilled cucumber-celery-fig soup, plus a sandwich made with ham from Ossabaw Island, Georgia, and several intriguing wines by the glass. Of course it was just my luck to miss a five-course “porkstravaganza” (their word) by one day. On Sunday, they even poured an ale called Hog Heaven. Still, what we ate was delicious.

The two-room establishment features blond furniture and these colorful hanging lamps. The ambient music also added to the mood. I never expected to hear country classics like “The Streets of Bakersfield” and “You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma” in San Diego.

Hummus San Diego

We started with a plate of Kalamata olives, house made hummus and artichoke dip, paired with thick corn chips and cubes of focaccia from local bakery Bread on Market. The dips were sensational, the artichoke dip creamy without being heavy, and the hummus richer and grittier than most, in a good way.

After five sweltering hours at the San Diego Zoo, I needed a cold drink in the worst way. This tall cooler incorporated guava, tea, and ginger, spicy and sweet relief.

Vegetables San Diego

Tender green beans arrived at our table dressed with a ginger-soy sauce, a delicious Japanese-style preparation.

Sausage is served in many ways at The Linkery, including paired with cheese and bread; with melon and Stilton; wrapped in a crepe with Creole honey mustard; sautéed with Anaheim chiles, red bell peppers, and onions; and grilled in tacos, topped with queso fresco, and mustard jalapeño aioli.

Sausage San Diego

I ordered my sausage atop Choucroute, a dish meant to be eaten in Strasbourg during winter, not in San Diego in summer. This hearty dish utilized tender sauerkraut, bacon and (Polish) sausage chunks, and spices, cooked in Alsatian white wine, topped with a slice of Gouda and rustic bread from Bread on Market. Wanting to sample as many links as possible, I got my choucroute topped with two Boerewors and The Victory. Four types of meat were used to produce South African Boerewors: beef, pork, lamb, and bacon. Thankfully, the animals didn’t die in vain. The Victory featured ground pork, beef, and pico de gallo, and was even juicier.

Pork Chop San Diego

The Linkery makes many things well, in addition to sausages. This succulent, boneless pork chop featured a caramelized exterior and was joined by an intense vanilla-hinted apple salsa, grilled broccoli, and fabulous crushed red potatoes.

Sausage San Diego

Another Boerewors partnered with a “Sun Salad” of sunflower seeds, goat cheese, golden raisins, rocket, spinach, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Sausage San Diego

Terrific Hot Italian sausage, which wasn’t brutally hot, paired with a Melon-Almond Salad, featuring honeydew, almond chunks, spinach, Creole honey mustard dressing, red onions, and the always egregious alfalfa sprouts.

Mars also makes the desserts, and she enlists help from some of the The Linkery staff, including our waitress, Chrissy. Chrissy taunted us with tales of desserts past, including a recent jalapeño fig cheesecake, but we still made out well.

Chocolate Cake San Diego

Chocolate brownie cake was apparently the King’s favorite, at least according to Brenda Butler. The recipe comes from her cookbook, Are You Hungry Tonight?: Elvis’ Favorite Recipes.

Dessert San Diego

Char-grilled, strawberry-topped rosemary poundcake was excellent, especially when dipped in the cooling whipped cream.

Flan San Diego

Caramel flan was textbook, maybe not shape-wise, but certainly in flavor and satisfaction.

Dessert San Diego

Since we were such terrific guests (what other reason could there be?), we were treated to a free strawberry kiwi tart. The non-traditional but tasty tart featured a layer of cream cheese and a sugar cookie base.

Note: If you’re interested in learning about ingredients, The Linkery newsletter makes for fascinating reading. Jay writes about sourcing fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, in incredible detail. Go to The Linkery homepage and subscribe.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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