Tag Archives: Stoysich House of Sausage

Putting Meat on Omahans’ Bones

July 18, 2019 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Food, especially meat, is big business in this state. Nebraska has been called “the beef state” (even adopting that slogan for 1950s and 1960s license plates) for good reason; it consistently ranks as one of the top cattle-producing states in the country, according to the Nebraska Beef Council. Nebraska Department of Economic Development statistics show food processing to be the state’s largest industry as measured by total payroll dollars. Food is big business locally, too. Omaha was once the world’s largest livestock market and meatpacking center, and although its economy no longer depends on agriculture, it’s still home to dozens of food manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and several family-owned, longstanding, meat-based businesses known locally, regionally, and beyond.

The first Stoysich House of Sausage shop opened in 1961 at 24th and Bancroft streets, where it continues to operate today. It also operates a second facility 10 miles west near 130th and Arbor streets. Ken Stoysich is the third of four generations of Stoysich men [“my grandfather, my father, myself, and my son”] involved in the business. He said the company makes more than 140 varieties of sausage and processed meats using a mixture of locally raised beef and pork combined with imported spices. Over time, the recipes have grown to represent a wide variety of nations—Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, England, Czechoslovakia, Mexico, Greece, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland—as well as some American-born formulas.

Stoysich said he takes great pride in preserving an old-fashioned style of doing business through the company’s traditional, small meat-market model. It’s led to a local reputation for quality. Stoysich has found through his travels that Stoysich House of Sausage is nationally and internationally known.

“We offer that personalized service; we talk to the customer and find out what they’re looking for. The foodies who come in—people who really enjoy food and like to try different recipes— we try to cater to them and have everything on hand that they would need,” he says.

The Stoysich team is also “happy to help” amateurs who need guidance selecting, preparing, and/or serving any of their meat products that span 10 categories (one being sausage). Stoysich chuckled as he recalled an 83-year-old woman who asked for advice on cooking a turkey for the very first time. New customers appreciate the extra attention and often seem “surprised by the questions and effort to get the details right,” something he said they won’t find in a large supermarket.

“It’s one of the best feelings knowing people are taking home a product I made and feeding it to their families, and that everyone’s enjoying it,” he said. “Quality is always remembered.”

Omaha Steaks is an international company today, but it’s still headquartered in its namesake city where it was started in 1917 by father and son J.J. and B.A. Simon. Founded as “Table Supply Meat Co.,” a name that came from the modification of an existing sign at the business’ first quarters, the butcher shop thrived and grew over ensuing decades. Lester Simon became the third generation to join the business and was credited with accelerating its growth through cross-country foodservice partnerships that put Omaha beef on the menus of railroad dining cars and troop transport trains. Omaha became synonymous with high-quality beef by the time the Simons introduced mail order in 1953, and in 1966 the company was renamed Omaha Steaks International.

The first retail store opened in the state in 1976. Today, more than 70 retail outlets operate throughout the United States. Customers all over the world can order Omaha Steaks products through mail order and various electronic media, including their website and smartphone apps. In addition to steaks, customers can choose from a wide selection of meat, seafood, meals, sides, desserts, and wine. The company also created a fundraising vehicle called Steaks for Good—which allows customers to donate 10 percent of their purchase price to a charitable cause of choice—and a rewards program for repeat customers.

Although the century-old company is now a $450-million-dollar business employing more than 2,000 year-round employees and a large number of holiday-season temps, Omaha Steaks remains a privately held business run by the Simon family. Lester Simon’s sons Stephen, Fred, and Alan eventually followed him into leadership roles at the company. Alan is currently the chairman of the board. His son Bruce is president & CEO, and Fred’s son Todd is senior vice president. Todd says the company is still managed as a family business, with the kind of attention to detail and personal pride that helped it flourish and contributed to its expansion over a century.

“Being a family business that’s rooted in the Midwest, it’s one of our biggest advantages. Omaha is part of our heritage,” he said, adding that the company will remain headquartered in the community that supported its success and growth.

“From here, we can deliver amazing experiences to customers all across the country,” he said. “That’s why we’ve been here for 100 years. That’s why we’ll stay here.”

Visit stoysich.com and omahasteaks.com for more information.

This article was printed in the August/September 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

20190627_bs_4122-EditFrom left Ken Stoysich and Matthew Stoysich

From left Ken Stoysich and Matthew Stoysich


October 29, 2018 by
Photography by provided

Of all the flavors of Omaha, one of our most famous is the Reuben. First served at the Blackstone Hotel in the 1920s (and named after local grocer Reuben Kulakofsky), the sandwich can now be found on restaurant menus worldwide. Omaha’s love for the sandwich is apparent in all the ways we recreate it. For decades, Omaha chefs have been pulling apart the historical combo of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and rye bread, and reassembling the ingredients to create new ways of celebrating the dish. The result is a range of fare, from those that closely resemble their breaded ancestor, to others more deserving of the title “Reubenesque.”

Here are just a few of the places you can grab a fresh taste of an Omaha classic remixed, right in the city where it all began.

Located just across the street from the old Blackstone Hotel, Crescent Moon (3578 Farnam St.) dedicates an entire week every November to the Reuben sandwich and its many variations: Reubenfest. Last year, Reubenfest brought in an estimated 500-600 visitors per day, with more than 4,000 Reuben-themed dishes served by the end of the week. Reubenfest 2018 runs from Nov. 5-10 and will see the return of many crowd favorites, including Reuben pizzas, burritos, egg rolls, and calzones, as well as new Reubenesque offerings. If you hope to catch a bite of the action, plan your visit to avoid peak meal times when the restaurant is packed and tables are hard to come by.

Crescent Moon Reuben Sandwich

Ever in the mood for Tex-Mex and a Reuben, and you simply can’t decide? Omaha’s got your back—and your taste buds. You can head on over to Dundee’s Place (7024 Maple St.) for that Reuben flavor stuffed inside a shell with their tasty Reuben tacos. Or drop by Two Fine Irishmen (18101 R Plaza) and ask for a plate of their Reuben nachos.

Two Fine Irishmen Reuben Nachos

Is a hot dog a sandwich? What about a Reuben sandwich/hot dog mashup? Find out for yourself with this tribute to a tribute, the Kansas City Reuben at B&B Classic Dogs (1020 Lincoln Road in Bellevue). The Bellevue dog was inspired by a concessions item at Kauffman Stadium. Stoysich House of Sausage (multiple locations) offers the Round Reuben, a fully cooked sausage made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut for those looking to take the Reubenesque home. Chicago Dawg House’s food truck, the Weenie Wagon, also offers the Stoysich Round Reuben on St. Patrick’s Day.

Aside from Crescent Moon’s Reubenfest, you can find Reuben egg rolls at a variety of restaurants around town, including Paddy McGown’s Pub & Grill (4503 Center St.), Dundee Dell (5007 Underwood Ave.), or further west at Clancy’s Pub (2905 S. 168th St). For those reminiscing over Localmotive Food Truck’s famous Reuben rounders, stop by Over Easy (16859 Q St.) on a weekend night, where the food truck’s menu is served seasonally.

Dundee Dell Egg Roll Reuben

You might know that March is National Reuben Month, but did you know that Omaha declared a Reuben Sandwich Day? March 14, 2013, was the inaugural Reuben Day. If you missed the holiday this year, you can always join the fun in March at Mama’s Pizza, where they serve a Reuben pizza all month long at all of their three Omaha locations.

Mama’s Reuben Pizza

Veggie lovers can celebrate Rueben pride, too. At Wilson & Washburn (1407 Harney St.), order a traditional-style Reuben sandwich with their original beet dressing added. For more animal-friendly takes on the Reuben, Modern Love (which recently moved to 3157 Farnam St.) has offered Reuben Mac & Shews (a variation of their vegan Mac & Shews) and recently added the Seitan Beet Reuben to their permanent menu.

Modern Love Veggie Reuben

Still want more Reuben? Try the gluten-free California Reuben at Big Green Q (6023 Maple St.), a sweeter take on the original recipe. If you’re looking for a slightly leaner version of the sandwich, try the Rachel, a variation made with turkey instead of corned beef. The Rachel can be found at a variety of restaurants around Omaha, including Brazen Head Irish Pub (319 N. 78th St.). Or if you’re looking for a little extra on your plate, head on over to Gorat’s Steakhouse (4917 Center St.), where you can order a triple-decker Reuben. 

This article was printed in the November/December 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Dundee’s Place Reuben Taco

Ken Stoysich

August 26, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Ken Stoysich can tell a lot about a person based on what type of meat they request while standing at his counter. “When someone asks for a tri-tip steak, I ask them what part of California they’re from. Or if they ask for scrapple, I know they’re from Pennsylvania.” He will further know they’re from eastern Pennsylvania if they want their scrapple made with oatmeal instead of cornmeal.

A lifetime in the butchering business has made Stoysich a bit of an anthropologist as he learned what people like based on where they were raised. A person does not casually gain this type of knowledge by chance. Stoysich started sweeping the floors at his dad’s Stoysich House of Sausage at age 8 and was finally allowed to start learning the art of butchering at age 12. He’s been at it ever since, having taken over the shop around 10 years ago. In fact, it is all he has ever wanted to do. When asked what he would be if he could not be a butcher, his reply was, “Dead.”

KenStoysich1Make no mistake about it; there is a big difference between a butcher and a meat cutter. Stoysich is a bona fide butcher, trained by both his father and the other butchers in the shop as he grew up and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Just because someone stands behind a meat counter and wears a white apron doesn’t mean that person is actually a butcher. He says there is a lot more to it; proper butchering is an art.

“If you want to have some fun, go up to the meat counter at a grocery store and ask for a cut-up chicken. They’ll look at you with a blank stare and then wave toward the case.”

Stoysich explained that the difference between a meat cutter and a butcher is simple: “A meat cutter says, ‘I’ve worked at a packing house and can handle a knife.’ A butcher says, ‘I can take that knife and make you money.’ If someone tells me they’re a butcher I ask them to tell me what an English roast is. If they can’t answer, they’re probably a meat cutter.”

When asked what people get from his shop that they can’t get anywhere else, Stoysich puffed up his chest, smiled, and replied, “Me!”

Omaha’s Amy Riehle says that Stoysich House of Sausage has a solid place in her childhood memories. “Growing up, I’ve always had a love for the place. Every time I walk into the place, the scents of delicious meats take me back to when I would visit with my mom, or when I went to grade school across from the 24th and Bancroft location and would stop in after with friends for snacks. When we go there now, we always go for the Polish sausage, but end up with a lot more. It’s the closest thing to our homemade Polish sausage that we can get.”

“I know butchering has been a dying art for quite a few years,” Stoysich admitted. “A lot of people don’t know how to cook anymore.” He says that foodies will come in and buy things like sweetbreads or ox tails, but for the most part, the practice of making a roast on Sunday and having the meat feed the family until Wednesday is not as common as it once was. Mostly, Stoysich finds himself selling award-winning sausage and steaks.

No matter what his customers crave, it’s likely Stoysich can deliver. “Back in the `70s there was a large group from England at Offutt Air Force Base, and they wanted their bangers and their bacon. This was before the Internet—now you can get any recipe you want. Back then, they were kind of hard to come by. I told them: ‘Give me a recipe, we’ll make it up, and if it tastes right to you, then we’ll just keep it.’ So that’s how we learned to make English bangers and English bacon.”

People visit Stoysich when they want to eat something reminiscent of their homeland, whether it is haggis, or beef hearts, or tongues, or just a great steak. No request is too unusual, he says. “After 50 years, nothing’s really strange—different, but not strange.”

Visit stoysich.com for more information. Omaha Magazine