You'd barely notice the small building housing Link Lab Artisan Meats on NE 80th Street until you peered through the windows and spotted the sausage maker's meat enthusiasts breaking down half a pig. That would probably get your attention.
The boutique sausage producer was originally started by David Pearlstein, a local food enthusiast who wanted to give local farms an outlet for their meat production. Pearlstein closed his garage-based business in 2014 after just four years in business, and that's when longtime customers Nick and Sara Jones of Jones Family Farms entered the picture. They purchased the business as an outlet for their grass-fed meat operation based on Lopez Island -- and to fuel business for other small farmers, too.
"When David announced that he intended to close Link Lab, we decided we could not let such a good thing go," said Nick. "Finding high quality processing for small-producer meats is a real problem. More than simply producing the best sausage on the market, Link Lab served as the best example we know of a downstream business that maintains the integrity and ethos of the farm-to-table philosophy."
After months of experimentation and hard work, Link Lab is back up and running. The three-person staff has ramped up production of sausages, bacon, and charcuterie. The current product sheet includes items like Hickory Smoked Bacon, Tasso Ham, Fenugreek Canadian Bacon, Turkey Quince Sausage, and Beer Bratwurst. Expect more products to be available throughout the year as the company continues to grow.
"Nick and Sara Jones have provided Seattle with some of the most amazing local fish, seafood and meats for several years now," said Jim Goodman, head butcher, Link Lab Artisan Meats. "We are thrilled that they are now part of Link Lab and dedicated to carrying on and growing the brand’s unique sausage-making technique and recipes that have been so popular with restaurants and retail shops."
Link Lab products are available for purchase online or in person by appointment. You'll also find their products on menus around the area, including at Barnacle Bar & The Kitchen, Orcas Island; Nell Thorn, La Conner; The Bluff Restaurant, Friday Harbor House, San Juan Island; The Bay Cafe, Lopez Island; and Hook & Plow in the Seattle Waterfront Marriott. Sunset Hill Green Market carries Link Lab products, too.
Link Lab and Jones Family Farms will offer oyster and sausage samples at Taste Washington on March 28 and 29.