Day Trips: Polak’s Sawsage Farm, Karnes City

Savory sausages and delectable desserts worth the trip

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Polak's Sawsage Farm outside of Karnes City makes a very good Polish sausage. Add the thick house-made barbecue sauce and you've got a great sausage.

"Back in the day most every Polish family had their version of the sausage," says Phyllis Barnes, the diner's owner.

Polak's sausage mixes 60% coarse-ground beef and 40% pork seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic in an all-natural casing that is lightly smoked. "There are no additives," Phyllis says.

Alfred and Edna Pawelek built the restaurant around the popular sausage and sauce when they opened in 1973. There's a good chance the formulas were passed down through the Pawelek family, who came to Texas around 1854.

The restaurant's name comes from Alfred's nickname. To Alfred it was a term of endearment. He was a member of the oldest permanent Polish settlement in the U.S. a few miles up the road at Panna Maria.

Phyllis' mother, who was also Polish, started working at the restaurant soon after it opened and worked there until she retired. Phyllis began working there in high school, rose to manager, and then became owner. Her sister Debbie is the main cook and daughter Angela bakes the pies and bread.

The pandemic has made for a tough year. Steaks and coconut cream pie kept the regulars coming back. On the first and third Sundays of the month they have a turkey and dressing special that is also popular on catering jobs around the holidays.

"Angela makes a pecan pie that is just wonderful," Phyllis says. It goes great with the sausage.

Polak's Sawsage Farm is at 2835 U.S. 181 between Karnes City and Kenedy. They're open daily 8:30am to 8:30pm, except they're closed on Wednesdays.

1,577th in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Day Trips
Day Trips: Holiday Gift Guide
Day Trips: Holiday Gift Guide
A wish list for the travelers in your life

Gerald E. McLeod, Dec. 3, 2021

Day Trips: Fulton Fishing Pier, Rockport/Fulton
Day Trips: Fulton Fishing Pier, Rockport/Fulton
Popular angling spot reopens after Hurricane Harvey damage

Gerald E. McLeod, Nov. 19, 2021


Polak's Sawsage Farm, Karnes City, Phyllis Barnes, Alfred Pawelek, Edna Pawelek, Panna Maria

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle