As an undergrad at the University of Texas at Austin, owner of Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden, Ben Siegel, fell in love with The Best Wurst trailer on Austin’s famous Sixth Street. To him, a spicy jalapeno sausage was the perfect food, and the fact that there wasn’t a brick and mortar restaurant in Austin dedicated to them was baffling. Though he thought his idea of opening a sausage house had promise, he had no restaurant experience whatsoever and was also discouraged by the thought that most people have the fleeting notion of opening a restaurant at some point in their lives. So, chalking it up as nothing more than a romantic fantasy, Siegel moved to Dallas after graduation and ultimately returned to his hometown of Los Angeles to pursue a more “realistic” career in commercial real estate.
Six years later, Siegel decided to make the big change. While seated on a flight from DC to LA, it dawned on him that he had been working a job that he wasn’t completely satisfied with for far too long and concluded that life is too short to settle for anything less than excellence. Firmly believing one should be in control of his own life, Siegel decided at that very moment to follow his college dream of opening a sausage house and beer garden in the greatest city in the world, Austin, Texas. As he departed from the plane, he called his former boss and promptly resigned. That was December of 2010, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Now in it’s third year, Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden has become the go-to for folks on Rainey Street looking to eat, drink and relax. Siegel strives to take simple things and make them extraordinary, involving himself in every aspect of Banger’s. From the design of the craftsman-style bungalow, to the rotating menu of over 30 house-made sausages and 104 draft beers, to the carefully selected staff uniforms—thoughtful care and attention is paid to every last Banger’s detail. A typical day includes hosting staff-wide meetings with General Manager Brian O’Neill, overseeing the menu with executive chef Ted Prater, and coming up with the next big thing at Banger’s, whether it’s animal roasts at their Smoke Out Saturdays, or hosting games of human foosball and chicken shit bingo during Oktoberfest. Siegel brings a one-of-a-kind concept to Austin, an American-style beer garden, always encouraging his fellow Austinites to try something new and have a damn fine time.
When Siegel is not overseeing Banger’s, he is trying new restaurants with friends, working on his yoga/meditation practice, or enjoying all that Austin has to offer with his fiance, Lauren Pasternack, and their bulldogs, Miss Pickles (the head of security at Banger’s) and Deputy Gherkin.