There is more to these beloved sausage serving institutions scattered around the city than being a 4am refuge for party revellers looking for something greasy to soak up the alcohol. Very Viennese experiences are to be had at these beloved birthmarks of the city.
This has a lot to do with why we named ourselves Vienna Würstelstand. To quote our Manifesto: ‘We are just like the odd gathering of people around this city’s glowing Würstelstands, in the black of the night like moths around a light globe, where politicians and pensioners solve (or cause) the world’s problems, where smoking goblins make out with giant bearded ladies, where a man with a glass eye has a staring contest with his Würstel, where society’s polished elite drink beer out of tin cans alongside those poor bastards doing the polishing, where all sorts of people come together to talk about the weird, wonderful, wonky and wise of life that swarms around this city, Vienna.’
So you get the point – a Würstelstand is important to Vienna’s identity. Just as important as serving up quality Würstel is to a Würstelstand chef. For days we covered the city to bring you 11 of Vienna’s best and most unique Würstelstände:
Alles Walzer, alles Wurst – Würstelstand
Where: Quellenstraße 84, 1100
Set in amongst the multicultural setting of Vienna’s 10th district lives a Viennese institution with a local legend. Whether it’s myth or hard-fact, it’s said that at this small Würstelstand, the beloved Käsekrainer (cheese-filled sausage also known as a Kransky) was born. When we ask the Würstel chef to confirm these rumours, he just smiles and says, “well, that’s the legend”.
They also serve up one of the most authentic Berlin-style Currywurst, drowned in a spicy homemade sauce.
Sausage selection: Here you’ll find you’re typical Würstel celebrities, but the spicy options are what this place does best.
Würstel of choice: The Currywurst
Würstelwaggon – Würstelstand
Where: Ravelinstraße 2, 1110
It’s full of smoke and a thick Viennese dialect. “Do you know of Kaiser Franz’l?” The proud Würstel chef asks me in a string of Viennese dialect I take a second to untangle.
“The past Emperor of Austria, you mean?”
“Genau – we have our own Franz Kaiser here”, he says slamming a glass of water in front of a big cuddly guy, bursting out laughing along with the rest of the people packed in the wagon.
The big, cuddly Franz Kaiser shows me his drivers licence to prove that he is the real Emperor sitting in an over 50-year-old train carriage called the Würstelwaggon. This display of warm, Viennese cheekiness carries on as soon as I walk into the door, to the moment I leave to a chorus of, ‘Servus!’ (a word of greeting, or parting, originally meaning “I am your servant”)
Requiring quite the trek to get out to this Würstelstand housed in an old train carriage plonked beside the road, you wouldn’t just come here for a mere Würstel and Semmel (bread roll).
This place is so much more than just a Würstelstand – it’s a truly unique, authentic Viennese experience, and a local treasure where everybody knows each other, and if you’re new, you’ll know everybody soon enough.
“Wie oit bist, Franz’l” (translation: How old are you Franzy?) – asks the Würstel chef.
“Fie oit” (translation: very old) – answers Franz.
Sausage selection: All of the standard Würstel favourites, including one a meter long that will “make you jealous”, according to the Würstel chef.
Würstel of choice: Ask the chef and he’ll make it “Ganz frisch for dich!” (translation: will make it fresh for you)
Würstelstand Südtirolerplatz – Würstelstand
Where: Südtiroler Platz 3, 1040
“Zwei mal Käsekrainer nach Art des Hauses, bitte”, says the police officer.
A group of ÖBB workers just ordered the same. Likewise with the suited fellow having a very serious conversation on his phone, in between shoveling mouthfuls of onion covered Käsekrainer, and slurping up drips of curry sauce.
With its long opening hours, this is truly an authentic Viennese Würstelstand, and some say the place where you’ll get the best Würstel in town. Often with a crowd of unique personalities surrounding it, it offers quality conversation along with quality Würstel.
Also, our Mathias told us that here he chatted with a stranger over a Burenhäudl and ended up getting drunk with them in a nearby bar – a prime example of an authentic Würstelstand experience.
Sausage selection: All of the standard Würstel favourites, including a few house creations. All is at a very low price.
They also have: homemade Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancake), and a tasty house burger.
Würstel of choice: Their Käsekrainer nach ‘Art des Hauses’, with onion and curry powder piled on top.
Würstelstand LEO – Würstelstand
Where: Döblinger Gürtel 2, 1190
Würstelstand LEO is the oldest dealer of the mighty Würstel in Vienna. The sharp-witted, yet fun-loving owner, Vera is carrying on a family tradition that has been going for generations, so if it’s advice on Würstels your after, she’s the queen. New sausage creations are regularly created here, including a number of vegan alternatives. And we must also mention the “Big Mama” herself – a giant Käsekrainer (which we couldn’t finish and put in our pocket for later). Read more about the story behind Vienna’s oldest Würstelstand, LEO, here.
Sausage selection: Käsekrainer, Burenhäudl, Frankfurter, a vegan Frankfurter and Currwurst, Leberkässemmel, Hühnerschnitzelsemmel, Debreziner – let’s just say they have a massive selection.
They also have: Leberkäse in a bread roll, and chicken schnitzel sandwich
Würstel of choice: the people’s favourite: the Käsekrainer hot dog
Zum scharfen René – Würstelstand
Where: Schwarzenbergplatz 5, 1010
Take your idea of spicy and double it, then put a square root on it and reproduce it a thousand times in a 3D printer – that’s the kind of spicy you can expect at Zum scharfen René. The chef behind the communal sweating, Rene, has a fetish for messing with chili, meaning there are all sorts of spicy powders and sauces to add to your sausage. The curry sauce that goes with the currywurst has connoisseurs swigging back beers and wiping their brow around the stand alongwith the rest of us.
“A few years back, there were builders from Berlin working on a site just across the road. For three weeks straight, they ate here twice a day, telling me how much they liked my Berlin-style Currywurst. That was a big freakin’ honour, I’ve gotta tell you”, says owner René with a big proud grin.
Sausage selection: Currywurst, a huge Käsekrainer, Bratwurst, Debreziner, Frankfurter und Burenwurst, a spicy Burenwurst and Waldviertler.
Würstel of choice: Currywurst with pickled gherkins and horse radish
Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand
Where: Albertinaplatz, 1010
“Who the hell would slap a pink bunny rabbit on top of a sausage stand?” – this may be your first thought when you join the line at the famous Bitzinger Würstelstand.
While the sausages are sold in an orderly and efficient manner at Bitzinger (there’s no other way with the crowds of tourists that flock to it), the people behind the grill are always up for a joke – a fitting characteristic for a Würstelstand.
While it’s the most touristy, and the most pricey, Bitzinger has won awards and know what they’re doing. On a warm summers night, it’s nice to take the nearby escalators to the top of the Albertina terrace with your würstel safely in hand, and enjoy it with the view of the city.
Sausage selection: the typical sausages – Bratwurst, Currywurst, Käsekrainer, Burenwurst
Würstel of choice: Käsekrainer with a slice of bread and horse radish
Donau’s “Messepalast” – Würstelstand
Where: Donau, Karl Schweighofer Gasse 10, 1070
This Würstelstand makes that bucket list dream possible – dance while munching on a sausage. Located in the funky Vienna nichtclub, Donau, smack bang next to the dancefloor, it looks as if the club has been built over this tiny Würstelstand.
The unique thing about this dealer of Würstel is definitely its setting. It sits patiently amongst the dancing and drinking club-goers, the electro-beats, and the neon visual projections covering the walls, which clash delightfully with the regal arched ceiling. The long-haired Würstel man stands to attention, ready to provide sustenance to those who need it for the long night ahead, or those who are looking cross-eyed and will probably discharge the Würstel-goodness in a gutter outside shortly after their snap decision to have one at 4am – oops, too graphic?
Sausage selection: Waldviertler, Käsekrainer, Frankfurter, Debreziner to go with bread or a roll or in a Hot Dog. There are also soy or vegetable sausages for the vegetarians amongst us.
Würstel of choice: Waldviertler with mustard, tomato ketchup, pickled gherkin, chili and bread.
Würstelstand am Hohen Markt – Würstelstand
Where: Hoher Markt 1, 1010
This Würstelstand has pretty much earned its reputation by being in the right place (the touristy old city center), and being open at the right time (late into the night). Don’t get us wrong, it is the real deal, and serves up a crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside Käsekrainer just like the rest in this list, but we wouldn’t say it is “THE Würstelstand in all of Vienna”, as the Lonely Planet claims. Saying that, we lost our virginity here in terms of the Käsekrainer hot, cheesy spit in the eye. Don’t know what that is? Google it. Actually, then again, don’t.
Sausage selection: the typical selection at very decent prices considering its fame and its 1st district location.
Würstel of choice: Käsekrainer hot dog
Hildegard Wurst Deli – Würstelstand
Where: Operngasse 23, 1040
What began as a little red food truck, grew and settled into this new little home in Vienna’s 4rth district. Hildegard Wurst serves up hot dogs American-style, with the slightly sweet, soft hot dog bun housing a pale pink sausage and a whole lot of different toppings. From fried onions, hot chilis, jalepenos to chili con carne (winter only) – a vast variety of topping combinations are on offer.
No turning your nose up in disgust at this non-traditional sausage dealer as Hildegrad Wurst is doing its own thing in style (alongwith a whole bunch of delish relishes), and the young and hip in the city are liking it.
Sausage selection: Classic American-style hot dogs with Frankfurter sausage or a vegetarian tofu alternative, topped with the following variations: Malmö (pickled gherkins, fried onions, Ketchup, mustard) Amsterdam (Cheddar, Hot Chili Sauce, mustard) New York (Sauerkraut, Tomato relish, mustard) Tijuana (Jalapeños, friend onions, Hot Chili Sauce, mustard) Santa Monica (Cheddar, mustard, Cole Slaw) Minimalist (just a selection of sauces)
Würstel of choice: Hot dog with ketchup, gherkin relish and Cheddar!
Wursti’s – Würstelstand
Where: Pratersauna, Waldsteingartenstraße 135, 1020
Summer: WED–SAT: 10pm–7am
Winter: THU–SAT: 10pm–7am
Attached to one of Vienna’s most famous clubs, Pratersauna, Wursti’s provides what it takes to get through a long night of partying for hungry club-goers. The staff behind the grill are the kind of rowdy bunch you’d chat to at the bar inside, and if you become a regular at the club, there’s no doubt you become a regular at Wursti’s. The drink and food meal deals, combining shots of Jägermeister with a beer and a sausage, are tailored for the crowd and their intentions for the night. Man, we can just imagine the stories the guys behind the grill could tell – alcohol and würstels tend to bring people together in the most interesting of conversations at 4am.
Sausage selection: Frankfurter, Debreziner, Käsekrainer, Bratwurst and Currywurst.
They also have: a veggie burger, or Leberkäse with a bread roll.
We also like: the music played here – sets the mood while you’re waiting in line for the club.
Würstel of choice: (ok, this is not a Würstel, buuut) Saunasemmerl: super soft bread roll with melted Käsleberkäse, sweet mustard and pickled gherkins.
Kaiserzeit – Würstelstand
Where: Augartenstraße / Obere Donaustraße, 1020
(closed in winter, opens in March)
This is the Würstelstand reinvented into a gourmet, fancy version. While on the first glance, it may look like any other Würstelstand, if you look deeper, you’ll find original touches, like the champagne on the menu, or the gourmet Bratwurst made from Mangalitza pork and the special spicy sausage, like the Feurige (firey) Kaiserkrainer. All sausages here are sourced from a artisanal butcher, which makes this Würstelstand something for the sausage connaisseurs. You can find detailed descriptions about their sausage selection on their website. The menu even goes beyond sausage, with a hearty and tasty Gulasch in the mix, and sardines served up on a slice of their homemade bread (apparently fish being served at a Würstelstand is a long lost tradition). The drinks menu has also been given due attention, with a international beer menu, and a quality Spritzer served up (which is rare at most Würstelstände).
Sausage selection: the selection here is impressive, with an outstanding Blunz’n (blood sausage), a currywurst, and a few spicy variations
Würstel of choice: Mangalitza Bratwurst
© Photos courtesy of Kaiserzeit