A cut above the rest: Fischer Meats enters its 101 year

Nothing dates the Fischer Meats company like its two beautiful wood butcher’s blocks. The two-foot thick table tops are now wavy with divots from the constant work of a knife. No one quite knows how old they are. They’ve been behind the meat counter since Chris Chiechi bought the family-owned business 30 years ago. The company turns 101 this year, and once Lewis Hardware closed a few years ago, it became the oldest business in Issaquah.

  • Monday, December 19, 2011 12:40pm
  • Business
Chris Chiechi

Chris Chiechi

Nothing dates the Fischer Meats company like its two beautiful wood butcher’s blocks. The two-foot thick table tops are now wavy with divots from the constant work of a knife.

No one quite knows how old they are. They’ve been behind the meat counter since Chris Chiechi bought the family-owned business 30 years ago.

The company turns 101 this year, and once Lewis Hardware closed a few years ago, it became the oldest business in Issaquah.

With specialty meat shops growing more and more scarce, Chiechi counts his blessings of being able to continue the art.

His business approach is simple.

“You have to start with a good product, but more importantly you have to satisfy the customer,” he said. “You have to make them a raving fan about what you do.”

While the biggest challenge for the Front Street shop is convincing busy families to make a second stop, the all-Washington grown beef and chicken make it worth the trip.

“It’s better tasting,” he said. “It’s just better.”

The house of butchers fillet, chop and grind about 4,000-5,000 pounds a week, he said. “We do it the right way, we don’t cut corners.”

His about 25 sausage recipes passed down through the years are made with meats ground in the large back kitchen instead of a plant.

They’re made fresh, three times a week.

A state of the art smoker allows the shop to make its own beef jerky.

Most of his customers are loyal to the business, returning weekly for fresh cuts of ribeye and chicken breasts.

The business is personal.

Being given a bottle of sauce he hadn’t paid for, a 20-year customer wandered into Chiechi’s office to insist on paying. He dropped a neat stack of $1 bills on his desk with a smile.

The store’s design dates back to when it was last remodeled – 1956. The original building was torn down and one twice its size filled its place.

John Fischer opened the shop in 1910, and passed the business on two his two sons. They sold the shop to Chiechi in 1981.

The glory of the storefront is a long line of glass cases, which are beautifully arranged with prime cuts, bacon and house-made beef jerky.

For Chiechi, filling the cases is an art form, it’s why he loves the business.

He’s been a butcher since he was 14, when he got his first job with an uncle.

“Eventually I thought it’d be fun to have my own market,” he said. “It gives me the opportunity to build displays that look good.”

 


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