San Mateo beer and bratwurst hub Wursthall, opened this spring by partners Adam Simpson and Tyson Mao (of nearby Grape and Grain) with a menu from noted internet food whiz J. Kenji López-Alt, is in expansion mode. A second Wursthall is in the works for San Jose, where the team has signed onto a development along shopping and dining thoroughfare Santana Row.
Like Wursthall in San Mateo, a 14,000-square foot restaurant at 310 Baldwin Ave, the San Jose location will serve beer alongside German and Austrian-inspired food like pretzels and sausages — with some liberties taken. Lopéz-Alt, Serious Eats’ culinary director and author of The Food Lab, has developed a menu that includes everything from Italian-influenced spaetzle “cacio e pepe” to Mexican-tinged al pastor bratwurst. A recent hit has been his “Kenji’s Korean fried chicken:” double fried chicken thigh, Korean-Nashville hot sauce, scallion cornbread waffle, kimchi butter, and house pickles.
The idea for the first beer hall was light on food, says Mao — but that changed fast with López-Alt’s involvement. “In order to really capture Kenji’s creativity, it made a lot more sense to do a more comprehensive menu and experience.... the identity took a very different path.”
Wursthall’s second location, on the 700 block of Santana Row, will be comparable in size to the first. But owing to the area’s immense foot traffic, it could feed significantly more customers, Mao anticipates. The team hopes to open the new Wursthall next year: Stay tuned for updates.