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Baumgartner's owners open sausage-themed restaurant
Baumgartner's owners and brothers Tyler and Chris Soukup recently opened O.S.S., a new specialty sausage restaurant, on Regent Street in Madison. (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)
MONROE - Chris and Tyler Soukup, the owners of Baumgartner's Cheese Store and Tavern in Monroe, have ventured into a larger market, opening a sausage outlet in Madison. The restaurant is run by two former Baumgartner's employees, Josh Boll and Dustin Borneman.

"It was an idea that we had for a couple of years, and thought Madison would do really well with a specialty sausage shop," Chris Soukup said. "And we just decided that we had some talented people that worked for us and thought the opportunity was right."

Its name, O.S.S., is purposefully ambiguous. The restaurant's website lists some possible meanings, such as "Our Sausage Shop," but suggests that patrons should come to their own conclusions.

Located at 910 Regent St. near the Unversity of Wisconsin campus, the restaurant is a "completely new" concept and unrelated to Baumgartner's, Soukup said. They offer everything from hot dogs and traditional bratwurst to specialty sausages made from their own original recipes.

According to Boll, they have about eight to 10 different specialty sausages at any given time. For example, O.S.S.'s menu includes the "Egg Roll," a Chinese pork sausage topped with traditional egg roll ingredients.

More sausage recipes are in the works, Boll said, including different types of Mexican street tacos and some made from meats that aren't typically found in sausages.

"Expect more and more to come from our menu as we progress and as we come up with more ideas," he said.

The chili, served as a side or on their "Sloppy Dog," is the only item O.S.S. shares with Baumgartner's, according to Soukup.

"O.S.S. is definitely not a Baumgartner's," Boll said. "But we implement the service that Baumgartner's is famous for. We also have a commitment, like Baumgartner's does, to Wisconsin comfort food."

He noted a difference between how the two restaurants carry out that commitment: Baumgartner's makes traditional Wisconsin comfort food, while O.S.S. does "new-age Wisconsin comfort food" with a creative twist. Even if patrons are unfamiliar with the ingredients in their sausage, they'll still know how to eat it - as a bratwurst, Boll said.

O.S.S. opened quietly in early February in order to give the staff time to acclimate, Soukup said, but it's been doing well ever since.

Boll said recent articles in Madison newspapers and local food blogs generated a "good amount of business" for O.S.S.

"It's going good," Chris Soukup said. "It's getting a little bit busier kind of every day."