In 1893 the Kreger family became Naperville’s go-to corner grocery store.
“My great-grandfather John Valentine started the business and it had all kinds of things there – canned goods and produce and that kind of thing. And then he was there until 1926 when Arnold started the business here in this location,” explained Bill Kreger, a fourth generation owner of the business.
When moving to the new location tucked off of downtown, the Kreger’s continued to supply quality products to the community and Arnold’s son Jim introduced the family’s love of brats and sausage.
“My mom and dad really started the bratwurst part of it. And that was after they were married and I believe that was the mid 40s. And I know that they made sausage up to that point but it was mostly a country style, an old farmer’s type of sausage which was basically just pork, salt and pepper, course ground.”
Eventually Kreger’s evolved into the specialty Brat & Sausage Haus it is today. This year the family business is celebrating its 125-year legacy.
“There’s a real sense of pride, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “I’ve been here for almost 40 years of that 125. Longer if you want to count the days that I would come over and work as a stock boy or sweeping floors or stocking shelves that type of thing, but full-time since 1979. I’m working now with my sister Susie, I had the please of working with my father and my mother and just a myriad of other people. It’s nice to be able to own your own business and it’s just worked out really well.”
With signature eats that come in a variety of flavors, Kreger’s Brats & Sausage start fresh off the bone. Whether it’s pork, beef, turkey, or bison, the meat is cut and cubed before being seasoned.
After going through a course grind, the meat runs through a medium plate that presses it through sausage casing.
“And that’s the other thing about what we do here is basically everything is done by hand,” explained Bill. “From the cutting to the mixing to the twisting, and I’ve been doing it this way for forty years.”
The handmade products keep the Kregers and their customers happy.
“The loyalty of our customers is second to none,” added Bill. “People come from all over. We’ve had customers for decades. They trust us. We give them quality products, we give them good service, we’re knowledgeable about what we do, so we can walk them through the process.”
“The last four years have been a really steady busy and everybody just wants more and more. It’s just fun to see how creative he is and how the people except everything and they’re passionate about sausage,” said Toni Inkman, a food prep assistant at Kreger’s.
A family recipe for 125 years of success.
Kreger’s Brat & Sausage Haus will be taking a mini vacation starting February 8 but you can stop back in to grab a bite when they reopen on March 29.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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