“Sometimes you have to let go of things you really, really love, because they’re just over,” a tearful Chrissy Flanagan said in a recent Tiktok.
Chrissy, who co-owns The Sausage Factory with ex-partner Jim Flanagan, made the video to announce their Dulwich Hill restaurant would be closing on December 17. Having separated in their personal life, the couple found that continuing in the business together was unworkable.
“It’s horrible, obviously,” she tells Broadsheet. “A restaurant closing in itself is hard, but this is an entire loss. I served every table, and Jim was in the kitchen every night. We weren’t open unless there were the two of us. Neither of us was prepared to run the restaurant without the other one.”
The Sausage Factory is a delightfully eccentric business in an old butcher shop on one of Dulwich Hill’s two high streets. A sandwich board outside advertises a “Snaggery” and “Brewery”, and in the window hang bundles of knitted sausages, all made by Chrissy. Having opened in 2018, The Sausage Factory helped pep up Dulwich Hill’s nightlife, and it quickly gained a following for its free-range gourmet sausages and later, Queens of Chaos craft beer.
The food was good, the drink was good, but perhaps what fans will miss most about The Sausage Factory is the Flanagans (who were not married but coincidentally share a surname). “Everyone knows you’re having dinner with me as much as you’re having dinner with the people you’re eating with. I’m highly involved in everyone’s shit,” says Chrissy.
Broadsheet talks to Chrissy on Sunday morning as she bustles around the empty restaurant, setting up for a midday sausage-making class. She assembles the mincing machine, cuts up pork shoulder, and sets out spices so people can create their own mixes. When I ask if she’s planning to take a break, she says she’s not someone who benefits from slowing down when life gets difficult.
“I’m a cope-by-working kind of person. I’m still doing sausage-making classes even between Christmas and New Year, and lining up classes for school holidays. I’m also working on my next thing.”
But before that, there are four more nights of service. “I’ve got a lot of devastated, angry people calling me saying they can’t get a table. It’s so surreal to have people upset you’re closing your restaurant because you’ve broken up your relationship,” she says, laughing.
“We’re doing Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday next week, booked solid with an aggressive waiting list. I could do another 10 nights and fill them in 30 minutes, but sometimes you’ve just got to call it.”
Chrissy intends to do sausage-making classes forever, and will continue to run them in the restaurant space for now. She’s trying to keep the space, but there are complications to work through. Whether Queens of Chaos will keep brewing is to be confirmed as well.
She’s also working on a personal project, which she describes in broad terms. “I’m targeting the shes, theys, gays and nice men, making a safe and inclusive place where people feel at home. There are so many people now intentionally not in relationships, living lives solo and having a wonderful time, but I think we need more places where people can come by themselves and not feel out of place.
“I’ve been the Sausage Queen for a long time. Now I’m a queen of reinvention. Sausage will always be a part of me, but it’s time to do something new.”
The Sausage Factory will close on December 17.