“I wanted to go back to my roots,” says Blue Agave owner Gabi Barysch-Crosbie, originally of Bremen, Germany, so she’s opened a little window down the alley from her Cota Street restaurant at lunch and on weekend nights and christened it The Wurst. It’s an ode to the sausage stand–lined public squares of her homeland, where “everyone grabs one street-side and eats it in three minutes,” but also to her youth, when her relatives from Poland would send greasy packages of smoky-smelling kielbasa during Christmas. “I couldn’t wait to have those,” explained Barysch-Crosbie, who’s now bringing those experiences to Santa Barbarans.
Running the kitchen is chef Dylan Riehl, who attended the SBCC Culinary School and will look familiar from his days at C’est Cheese, and together they’ve concocted a menu featuring curry, Thai, and chili wursts, a chicken brat, a kielbasa, and a veggie dog. “In Germany they’d all be pork,” said Barysch-Crosbie, “but in California people want chicken and vegetarian options, too.” That said, the delightful slow-burn chili is Texas-style (all beef, no beans) and the Thai (either chicken or pork) comes with a spicy black bean garlic sauce that adds some real zip. The Wurst also connects to a longtime Blue Agave favorite, the Cowboy Plate, which is a grilled natural turkey sausage, poached in Sierra Nevada Ale, with mashed yams, poblano chile rice, black beans, and baby greens salad.
Everything is hormone- and preservative-free, because, as Barysch-Crosbie explained, “I was a vegetarian for five years, so that’s why it’s important for me that everything’s natural.” They are currently buying all their sausages at Whole Foods, but that’s soon to change. “We just got our meat grinder,” she explained, “so we are going to do our own.” Same for the sauerkraut. “In Germany they do weinkraut with wine and apples that’s really, really yummy,” she said. “We will be doing that soon.” And for dessert, Barysch-Crosbie has been baking, so top it all off with homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Best of all, the food has already passed the natives test. “Recently some Germans were here and had [the currywurst], and they really liked it,” said Barysch-Crosbie. “That really means something to me.” n
Relish The Wurst, backdoor at the Blue Agave, 20 East Cota Street, Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 11 p.m.–2 a.m. Call (805) 899-4694 or see blueagavesb.com.