Homemade Old-World Lunchmeats in Toledo? Yes, at Kilgus Choice Meats

Homemade Dutch loaf, homemade Kielbasa loaf, and some homemade Krakowska sausage, all from Kilgus Meats. When I got the slices of loaf lunchmeats home, that’s when I realized they were still warm.

A variation of this article is also posted on the Toledo Food Examiner pages of Examiner.com.

Paul … quit bugging me already … I get it now, alright? Sheesh …

About a month ago Paul, the owner of the software development company I work for, happily lectured me about my lack of knowledge about Kilgus Choice Meats in Toledo. “Go to Kilgus Meats … When you get there … write this down … get some Krakow-… are you writing this down?? You really need to write this down … get some Krakowska … why aren’t you writing this down???”

About a week later I hear, “Dave come down here …” Thinking I was in trouble for God knew what, I headed downstairs … where Paul promptly shoved a slice of the homemade Krakowska sausage at me.

Ok, sure. Probably the best damn sausage I’ve had in a good long time. Probably ever. I got a little curious.

Paul also knew of my love of Koegel’s Braunschweiger, and that I’ve probably eaten it my whole life. So, he then handed me a slice of Kilgus’ homemade coarse Braunschweiger.

Yeah, that does it. Koegel’s is now a close second in the Braunschweiger department. (Sorry John!)

I finally made it over to Kilgus Choice Meats in Toledo this morning. Located in a small strip mall on the north side of Laskey just west of Secor, if it hadn’t been for the amount of cars in the parking lot I may have missed it. Still, it should be fairly easy to spot with the classic butcher shop signs in the windows.

Inside the atmosphere was decidedly friendly. The prevalent culture in the shop is eastern-European. German is spoken fluently on both sides of the counter. There’s Stollen on the shelves, countless handmade sausages and bacon in one case, cheeses and homemade luncheon loaves in the back case, and beautiful cuts of beef, pork, veal and poultry in the main case on the left side. There’s even homemade corned beef, which for some reason I totally neglected to sample or purchase …

3rd Generation Master Meat Packer Erich Schiehlen slices some of his homemade Kielbasa loaf for me to bring home.

On August 21, 1962 Erich Scheinlen received a MeisterBrief in Fleischer — a Master’s Degree in Meat Packing — from the University of Frankfurt. The degree itself is displayed proudly on the wall in Kilgus Meats for anyone who’d like to see it. This is definitely “old-world” meats at their finest, in a Toledo neighborhood where you wouldn’t expect to see such things.

Growing up in the Flint, Michigan area and enjoying Koegel meats all my life, I have also been to the village of Frankenmuth, Michigan countless times over the years. I’ve had my share of products from Kern’s Sausages where they make culturally authentic meats. But I do believe Herr Erich Scheinlen (as it reads on his degree) has a much stronger pedigree … and likely makes even better products than the excellent meats and sausages at Kern’s.

Erich’s homemade Dutch and Kielbasa loaves on the countertop. What I brought home was cut from these two loaves.

I had the priviledge of Erich filling my order himself. He’s delighful to talk to, the thick dripping German accent sounding of the old-style meat packer he is. You know how you talk to someone who’s spent their life on the sea, and you can tell just by listening to them, your wanting fish more and more during the whole conversation? Erich’s voice just wants to make me order more fresh-cut meats. He’s justifiably proud of what he does, and simply enjoys it. His son Bill started working at Kilgus Meats at the age of 17. Now 44, with a business card listing him as the shop’s “Proprietor”, Bill is proud 4th generation meat packer.

I couldn’t get out the door of Kilgus Meats without succumbing to the temptation of picking out a quart of Erich’s homemade lentil soup. I’ll have to try that for lunch tomorrow. I’d have had some today, but I doubt our fellow guests at a wedding we’re attending this evening would appreciate it.

For lunch, Mary and I had sandwiches of the Dutch and Kielbasa loaves on oatmeal bread with a good mayonaise. Mine also had yellow mustard, along a few slices of the Krakowska. The quality of the meats cried out for better, likely homemade, bread of eastern-European origin, and maybe even some horseradish mustard. But now two hours after lunch, I keep popping into the fridge for more of what’s left of the sliced Dutch loaf …

I leave this post with a shot of some of Erich’s homemade veal loaf. Minutes after I shot this photo, there was only an inch or so left of this.

I guess I should have asked for some when I had the chance.


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  1. Hey Dave, If you like Kilgus, I suggest you try Takacs Meats. They are over by the original Tony Packo’s in the heart of the Hungarian Village on the east side of Toledo. Like Kilgus, they have homemade Dutchloaf and other lunch meats, sausages and also a whole host of Hungarian products. Their website is: takacsgroceryandmeats.com. Enjoy!

  2. Scott, Takacs looks quite interesting, I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!

  3. Dave,

    I am a long time reader, first time comment-leaver. thanks for the hookup on kilgus meats. i recenty moved to Temperance and I am working as the sous chef at the Frog Leg Inn. i had never heard of Kilgus and just had my first taste of kielbasa loaf, between crusty sourdough with an over easy egg and I have to say it was a great way to start off my day! i picekd up some of their Andouille knockers, and some chicken, beef, and pork from the shop and have to say my experience there was warm and pleasant. Now if I could just find those great Michigan beer outlets I keep hearing about….the ones with Michigan microbrews….

    Thanks for your great writing, and for keeping me interested in this great part of the country. Please do a piece on my favorite lunch spot in town, the fantastic Beaudries Candy Cafe in Temperance! Ask them about the hard-to-find Tomato-Wang soup!!!! Those guys are the best kept secret in SE Michigan…..

  4. Nice description of Kilgus. I moved to Toledo five yrs ago, from Dearborn, Mi, and had been looking for a good Polish/German butcher. Growing up with Kowalaski foods, I wanted that same quality. My search ended finding Kilgus. As you mentioned, the veal bologna, pepper loaf, and home made pastrami are like none in the city. Another bonus is having a knowledgeable butcher to advise you and cut your food to order. You won’t easily find that at the big grocers.

  5. Does Kilgus take orders via e=mail? Is there a list of items available?

    Tim Sottek

  6. Tim, I know Kilgus takes phone orders for local residents for pick-up, but I believe that’s all.

  7. Iam looking for old fashioned luncheon loaf for son in laws birthday in early march,please notify if you have it and will ship to texas.

  8. Does Kilgus have a ads for whats on sale at the store. I use to go there years ago on lagrange street and Bancroft. I’m sure glad your still in buss. hope you have ads for you store. thanks Tommy Okonski

  9. These people are so nice, and I will never buy my meat anywhere else. It’s wonderful!

  10. dave and or scott, have either of you ever heard of tavern loaf, not tavern ham, tavern loaf, i used to get it at the local deli many decades ago, and haven’t seen it in decades, and can’t seem to find anyone who can get it, most people never heard of it, please help if you can , thank you

  11. John, I’ve done some looking into Tavern Loaf today and it looks as though it mostly disappeared in the late 1970s and early 1980s. There’s some evidence Ekrich may have produced it as late as 2013, but I can’t be sure … Yet. I’ll ask around with some of the older German meatpackers and see what I can find.

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