Home Food & Drink B and E Meats: 65 Years and Going Strong!

B and E Meats: 65 Years and Going Strong!

B and E Meats: 65 Years and Going Strong!

by Ruth Storkel

It was the year 1958. In the small city of Burien (population 2,773), two brothers were starting off on a new business venture. Younger brother Bob asked his older brother Earl to join him in a partnership and run a butcher shop in Burien. What they began is now history; B and E Meats and Seafood is still going strong after 65 years! They are now celebrating a BIG anniversary!

I recently had the delightful privilege of hearing the story of the founders of this unique hometown butcher shop, “B and E Meats.”

Ever wondered what “B and E” stood for? I had no idea until I met a Texas-bound woman on an airplane; she told me it was “Bob and Earl,” and they had been her high school classmates.  

I met with brothers Earl and Bob Green, along with Bob’s lovely wife Jean, a short time ago. It was very inspiring hearing of how they had come to Burien in 1958 and started their own meat market on Ambaum Boulevard. They worked as butchers from 1958 to 1999.

They have now been retired for 24 years; they enjoy six months of living in Washington (Bob in Des Moines and Earl in Kent) and six months soaking in the sun in Surprise, Arizona. Bob and Earl enjoy golfing often and occasionally going on cruises (they recently went on a Mississippi River Cruise). They also like watching our local teams, the Mariners and Seahawks, and TV Golf. In their earlier years, they went skiing once a week and also fished for trout in the Green and Cedar rivers.

Today, Bob’s granddaughter, Dena Green, and co-owners Steve and Stephanie Dunaychuck, operate B and E Meats, which includes butcher shops in Burien, Des Moines, Newcastle, and Queen Anne Ave. N. Bob is thrilled that Dena has taken on the business. “Dena spent a lot of time at the Des Moines shop as a child. When the store was closed, she put on an apron, stood behind the counter, and enjoyed waiting on customers (her parents),” said Bob. (She learned to sell meat at an early age!) “Dena is so friendly to everyone, and she remembers their names and details about their lives,” said Bob. “Enjoying people and good customer service is very important when running a business. She’s perfect.”

Burien B and E Meats and Seafood opened August 1, 1958. Older brother Earl was 24 at the time, and Bob was 19. Bob had bought into a small meat market in Burien; he convinced Earl to come in with him. Bob had attended the University of Puget Sound for two years, and Earl attended “The School of Hard Knocks” (his own words!) They always got along well as brothers, so their partnership was a success! (The only time there was a relational problem was when one would show up early for the popular Wednesday lunch special at the nearby Burien Cafe and eat up most of the short ribs and homemade noodles dish they both loved, leaving the other a small portion!) “They always had good lunches there!” said Bob.

B & E Meats menu and prices from 1960

Bob and Earl were born and raised in South Dakota, riding a horse to a little country school. The family had 3 girls (the older sisters) and 2 sons. Earl had to milk the cows in that cold climate; their farm had no electricity or running water. When Earl was a teenager, the family moved to Kent, Washington, and the boys went to Kent-Meridian High School (a very different setting from life back in South Dakota!)  

B & E Meats shop in Des Moines when it opened in 1975.

Back in 1958, they began their butcher shop, their business grew, and their families grew. (Burien kept on growing, until today, it is over 51,000 inhabitants.) Bob and Jean had 2 sons; Earl and Rita had 5 sons and 1 daughter (which has now multiplied to 14 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren). All of the Green children went to Kent-Meridian High School. All of them helped with the family business, working in the shops at various times while growing up. Bob and Earl also trained most of the people they employed; they inspired people, as men of faith who love their families, being positive, hard-working men of integrity. They expanded their company in 1975, opening B and E Meats in Des Moines.

For many years, the Green family has had huge family reunions every other year. At their last one, around 160 people gathered at their campout in Black Diamond. They are a close-knit group that enjoys being together and truly has good times with their family members. What a great family custom! 

In the past 65 years, B and E Meats has become a treasured hometown tradition! How many Burien companies that began in 1958 are still in existence today? (Practically none!) Running a successful business takes perseverance and hard work, which Earl and Bob demonstrated for 43 years. Many of those early years, they worked six days a week. At times, things were hard, especially when new meat markets moved near them, with all-new facilities and equipment. (They ran full-page newspaper ads and provided fierce competition.) “We worked hard and steady and never quit,” Bob said. The Green brothers were friendly and enjoyed developing relationships with their customers. Today, their customer skills are still affecting their stores (like the Des Moines store; Des Moines is a “family-oriented town”). Today, 3rd and 4th generation customers come into the Burien and Des Moines shops, saying they love it because “grandma bought meat here.” (Bob and Earl not only built a loyal customer base but gained friendships with their regular customers.) They enjoyed seeing their customers “going out the door smiling.”

Bob and his son, 1982

“What did you enjoy about your work?” I asked Earl. “Meeting people and getting acquainted. And it was fulfilling to watch the business grow. Also, we enjoyed the customer’s compliments, their satisfaction, bragging about our meat,” replied Earl.

Over time, Earl and Bob offered their customers new products: Stuffed pork chops, stuffed salmon, Teriyaki beef tri-tip (#1 best seller!), Kalbi beef ribs, etc. They were very creative and won many blue ribbons at the Northwest Meat Processors Association yearly competitions. They were proud to be given the highest “Best of Show” award for their famous Summer Sausage!

Bob and Earl with hanging beef. July 30, 2019.

Today, B and E company has hard-working employees in their four shops. “We have really good employees now!” Bob said. During the covid pandemic (when businesses had difficulty hiring), a number of chefs were out of work, and some came to B and E and hired on. They found they liked their jobs and have stayed. “It’s important to hire people who get along well with people, have good customer service skills, and make the customer feel welcome,” said Bob. This is a big key to success!


I couldn’t resist asking one final question (an excellent question to ask any butcher): “What is your favorite meal?” “Rib steak with a loaded baked potato,” said Bob. “Prime rib roast, baked potato, and salad,” responded Earl. I am in complete agreement…those are my favorites too!

Bob and Earl Green, 2023.

Thank you, Bob and Earl, for inspiring us and serving our community so amazingly well! May you continue to enjoy a well-deserved retirement!


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