Pete's Country Cuts serving Dungog for 25 years

Jon Martin (left) with Peter Eyb who is celebrating 25 years in business in Dowling Street Dungog.

Jon Martin (left) with Peter Eyb who is celebrating 25 years in business in Dowling Street Dungog.

Peter Eyb has lost count of how many sausages he's made in his career but he does know a good product is the mainstay of a butcher shop.

The man fondly known by friends as "Captain Cutlet" is celebrating 25 years in business in Dowling Street with Pete's Country Cuts.

Growing up on his parents' (Mervyn and Elaine Eyb's) dairy farm at Hilldale, Pete was always the one to help his mother put the meat away after they killed one of their beasts.

This led to a part time job at a butcher shop in Paterson while he was still at school before he was taken on as an apprentice to Trevor Radford.

In 1990 Peter was named the apprentice of the year and four years later, by chance he heard the Dowling Street butcher shop was to be sold.

"We made inquiries, one thing lead to another and 25 years later we are still here," he said.

His mother Elaine was the front face at the shop for many years until she retired in 2015 and Peter's wife Michelle then took over for a time.

Elaine's presence is still around - her renowned fresh "Fielder's Sponges" she bakes each week are always snapped up by customers by lunchtime Friday.

From fluctuating weather conditions affecting the availability of cattle, to changing taste buds and the new Safe Food measures, things have certainly changed in the last quarter of a century.

"We still do a lot of the traditional cuts but all the different flavours and marinades is always changing and that is a big thing," said Pete.

"One of the big changes that we've noticed in the last few years is with the cooking shows on television.

"The trend that goes with a lot of their meals they do flows through to people wanting to recreate that at home.

"So certainly a lot of the undervalued cuts that they use have become very, very popular.

"Things that people would never usually use or even know what they were, now, it is unbelievable. Beef cheeks, ox tales - to buy them is is like gold where as at one time people used to throw them out."

The walls of the shop are filled with certificates of appreciation from local sporting groups, schools and other organisations that the business supports.

"We try and do the best we can, it mightn't be a lot that we contribute but we try and share it all round. It is hard in a small town.

In his typical generous fashion, for the shop's birthday Peter has been giving back to his customers.

All week of his birthday celebrations last week customers went in to a draw to win meat trays.

He thanked his customers and current and previous suppliers for their patronage over the past 25 years and his current and former staff with a special shout out to the late Vic Neal.

Butcher Jon Martin has been with Peter for 14 years. The Eybs bought the shop from Jon's parents.

"We will continue to do the best to provide the quality which we always have done at the best possible price," he said.

When he bought the shop it was one of four butcher shops in Dowling Street and at that stage he used to supply meat trays to a supermarket next door.

The introduction of the national chain IGA supplying their own meat had been a challenge.

"But we are still here and we are the only butcher shop in the Dungog shire which has been continually owned for 25 years."

"Our sausages would have to be our mainstay and we have people travel a distance just to get them."

His favourite cut?

"A T-bone. Thick sausages."

The Dungog Chronicle article from October 199 on Pete being named apprentice of the year.

The Dungog Chronicle article from October 199 on Pete being named apprentice of the year.