In the age of self-checkout, it’s refreshing to take a step back in time and stop in B & B Country Meats for quality locally butchered meat, deli products, homemade desserts, and grocery staples with a personal touch. Located just outside of the central business district at 11329 Upper Georges Creek Rd SW, B & B is a family owned and operated butcher shop and deli that has humble origins and world renown.
Established in 1981 by owner Bernie Garlitz, B & B has become nationally known for their signature Engles Mountain Bologna, seasoned chicken, and Belly Buster sandwiches that appeal to FSU students, community members, and visitors alike! They cater events, serve daily specials, and can be found at local events such as the FSU Appalachian Festival every September. With chicken and steak marinades “that people go crazy for,” B&B adds to its popularity by shipping jerky and bologna all over the United States and the world.
Bernie grew up on a farm in Finzel, MD, where much of the Garlitz family still lives. Although he worked in coal mines for many years, Bernie realized that his true enjoyment came from working the farm with his family. He started B & B Meats in Zihlman in 1981 and moved to their current location three years later to be closer to Frostburg customers.
B & B is home to the famous Engles “Frostburg” bologna, a gourmet beef stick made from fresh lean beef and seasoned garlic. The Engles bologna recipe originally came from Engle’s butcher shop on Frostburg’s Main Street, it was passed down through generations for nearly two centuries before Walk Engle Jr. passed it on to Bernie Garlitz. In 2014 Maryland Traditions and the Maryland State Arts Council recognized B & B with the Master/Apprenticeship grant given to traditional artists passing their art form to a younger generation. The grant was given to Bernie and his son Ryan for the passing on the art of butchery and Engle’s bologna making.
“We have always been here,” says Ryan. Locals take it for granted that they can always stop by, but over time word has spread and the customers have become much more diverse. FSU football players head down to get Belly Buster sandwiches for under $5, and younger generations look to B & B for more organic and farm fresh options. It’s a “cool mix of downstate college kids, local punk rockers, and old-school guys who work construction.”
When asked about community involvement Ryan shared that “[Bernie] has his hand in everything, whether it be organizations or individuals, he does so much for other people it’s hard to keep track.” B & B is a well known local sponsor for schools and organizations, but the Garlitz’s are the first to give their time to their individual neighbors as well.
Ryan keeps learning more and dedicating more time to the shop as years go by, with plans to eventually take over the business. But Ryan doesn’t see Bernie ever truly retiring; instead, drinking coffee in the store in the mornings talking to the regulars. “He works 24/7 behind the scenes,” says Ryan, “I don’t think he ever sleeps.”
Eventually, Ryan would like to renovate the store in order to hone in on who they are and what they do best. “I am a firm believer that if you are not growing you are going in the opposite direction,’ he explains, “but I think you can measure growth in other ways.” He wants to stay small and have a clear definitive brand focusing on customer service and the experience of visiting a shop where everyone knows your name.“I fell in love with our customers, long before I ever fell in love with the with the business,” he continues, and the Garlitz’s can’t imagine being anywhere the mountain town of Frostburg.
B & B Country Meats has kept Appalachian heritage and history alive by continuing the Engle’s recipe and carrying on a legacy of honest work, small town charm, and dedicated service.
This year B & B just started making their own in-house all beef hot dogs with no-filler, just in time for all those summer barbeques! Check them out on Facebook or in person 7am-5pm Monday-Saturday.
Dana Bridges, FrostburgFirst Marketing and Communications Coordinator