The new (old) owner is back. And the sausages are as good (and cheap) as ever.
When actor John Cleese is in town he’s partial to a sausage from The Gourmet Sausage Shop. “He only orders just a sausage,” owner Kerry Kokotis says. “Beef or pork. It depends what he feels like and what I’ve cooked. He just sits there, [in the] peace and quiet with his legs crossed, and no one even knows it’s him. We’ve also had Snoop Dog walk through here, but people looked more at his bouncers than at him.”
Kerry sees it all from his two-and-a-half-metre by five-metre stall in the arcade adjacent to Adelaide Central Market. “I tell you, the amount of famous people we get coming here to this shop. I had Peter Bock come here when he was alive. A lot of famous people walk through. The guys who sings ‘The Land Down Under’ [Men At Work], and [actress] Rachel Ward.”
Why are his sausages so good? “They’re real meat, to start with. There’s no fillers in it, they’re all gluten free, 100 percent. They’re all a good size, and their taste is delightful.”
The store opened in 1977 and has decades of history (and a number of owners) behind it. Kerry took it over 10 years ago. He briefly got out of the business (for three-and-a-half years he went back to the automotive trade – he ran a car yard), but returned in late 2017. “People have seen me and say, ‘What the hell are you doing back?’” He laughs. “I missed this atmosphere. I missed so many people that were always here.”
Large hand-drawn signs adorn the store, announcing the return of the ‘new/old owner’.
His regulars are gradually returning. “In the old days, I would do over 600 hotdogs a week, maybe more. I would go through 2000 to 3000 kilograms of sausages. Now I’m down to maybe 1000 to 1200 kilograms.”
Kerry loves his job and the market environment he works in. Central Market Arcade is set for major redevelopment in 2020 but for now Kerry will stay put. “It’s the best atmosphere. I was born into the car trade, and I only stayed in it because I’m a pickle-head and I like racing cars and stuff. This is the only job [for which] I can’t wait for the alarm clock to go off in the morning.”
Kerry sells sausages raw, and also steaming hot for lunch on the go. “A hotdog is five dollars,” he says. “Seven dollars with the lot. A sausage sizzle is three dollars for kids with onion and your choice of sauce and mustard. You won’t find anything else in the city for three dollars that’s hot.”