In 1890, a sausage maker was born named Otto Eichentopf. Little did he know what was going to transpire in 120 years and that five generations later the small family business that he started would still be going strong and be nationally known today.
In 1911, Otto decided at 21 that he would leave his hometown in Germany and travel across the ocean to Ellis Island. He then migrated West to Aberdeen, Washington, where he first started Otto’s Meat Market. There he sent for his friend Selma who still lived in Germany and married her when she arrived. In 1919, Edwin was born, and soon after, in 1921, the Eichentopf’s moved to Portland, Oregon. Otto’s Meat Market was opened on Woodstock in Portland in 1922. They built the new building at 4138 SE Woodstock in 1936 and opened Moreland Market in the front with Mr. and Mrs. Bronleewee. Otto continued to make the sausage in the back room with his son. Edwin married Eleanor in 1942 and then left for Germany in 1945 to fight in World War II. After the war, he came to work for his father and would eventually take over the store. In 1955, Jerry was born. When Jerry was 18, he began working full time for his dad. At Otto’s, Jerry met Gretchen, and they married in 1976. They both worked with Edwin making sausage together. In 1983, Jerry and Gretchen took over the entire store. Gretchen revamped the retail section of the store which has grown year by year.
In the last five years, Otto’s has received national recognition. It started with a spot in the book Roadfood. Then the article in the Oregonian and Gourmet Magazine were written. Recently, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, a Food Network program, came and filmed a segment at Otto’s. The store has seen a lot of new customers, but with each new customer there is a new story that can be heard.
Presently, Otto’s is run with the presence of three generations, Jerry and Gretchen, their three daughters Heidi, Christie, and Bereka, along with Heidi’s husband Justin and children Tanner and Kyrstin. Each person takes an active role in the daily activities at Otto’s. They strive to make each customer feel as if they have walked into a family deli where the customer can relax and get personal attention.
The art of sausage making has been passed down through the family for four generations and will soon be passed to the fifth once they are old enough. Over forty different kinds of sausage are made on site including Otto’s own recipes that he brought over from Germany such as the Wieners and Bockwurst. When Otto built the building at 4138 SE Woodstock, he put in a smokehouse that spanned the entire two stories of the building. Behind the closed doors of the smokehouse are well seasoned walls that give the smoked sausages and meats that one of a kind distinction that can only be Otto’s.
Otto’s Sausage Kitchen is truly one of a kind. Let us show you what we are all about; fun, grilling, family, and friends.