For Lincolnton to have a custom butcher shop in the downtown area is really a bonus for the community. While meat can certainly be purchased at grocery stores, to luxury of being able to source custom cuts, exactly how much that is needed and to get cooking tips cannot be overlooked.
The Meating Place has been open for almost two years now. When owner Mark Ingle moved to downtown Lincolnton, he missed having access to a butcher shop. This was quite a jump for Ingle who’d worked in the construction business for more than four decades.
Ingle was trained in part by Vale resident Jeremy Seagle, who’s been a lifelong butcher. Seagle started working at Caldwell’s Meat Processing in Maiden when he was a teenager. Seagle, who’s been with The Meating Place since it opened, was recently promoted to general manager.
“I went to church with the Caldwells my whole life so when I turned 16, I started with them,” he said. “Caldwell’s is a full-service slaughterhouse. They take in beef, pork, sheep and goat and process them. I moved to Pittsburgh for a few years and ran a sausage program up there.”
Seagle returned to Lincoln County and to Caldwell’s where he became their HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) manager. All federal and state plants have to have HACCP plans.
“I wrote and maintained the HACCP plan for Caldwell’s for years,” he said. “I also worked for the FDA for a while as a meat inspector. I was back at Caldwell’s when Mark opened this store. I always wanted to see a butcher shop in Lincolnton. There’s been a few butcher shops in town, I think the last real one here was the one at the old police station called the Meat Locker where they used to cut meat for A&P. Perk Caldwell, who started Caldwell’s Meat Processing, worked there. He taught me how to cut meat.”
The hogs that The Meating Place uses for their fresh sausages are raised by David Caldwell. His grandfather. Moses Caldwell, was a big hog raiser.
We don’t use any sows (female pigs), Seagle explained, just top hogs which I think makes the best sausage.
“Mark did a good service by opening this butcher shop,” Seagle said. “Sales have doubled every year.”
Due to a leg injury, Seagle isn’t doing quite as much meat cutting as he used to. Phil Walsworth stepped up to fill in during Seagle’s convalescence and has since been promoted to meat manager.
“He’s doing really well,” Seagle said. “He went from never seeing an animal like that to breaking it down within a year. I’m proud of him.”