Duda’s Aussie Meat Pie’s founder and chief pie-maker, Amy comes from the Mid North Coast of Australia where meat pies are the unofficial national dish. Leaving her small, coastal home town of Coffs Harbour at twenty years of age in search of adventure, Amy joined her sister on the faraway island of St Maarten in the Dutch West Indies. After quickly realizing that her small amount of savings wasn’t going to get her to Europe, she landed herself a stewardess gig on the luxury private yacht, “Relentless”.
Meanwhile, after growing up in landlocked Bend Oregon, Josh headed to Fort Lauderdale with dreams of landing a job on the ocean. Within 2 days he was hired, moved onboard 157ft motoryacht “Janey” and was underway to New Orleans.
Meeting back in 2008 in a dockside bar in Newport, Rhode Island, Josh and Amy remained friends for many years whilst traveling the world separately but meeting up in exotic locations of the Caribbean, South Africa and Australia.
After 10 years back and forth from the boats, the mountains were calling. Josh moved back to Bend and started the process of opening a pool hall with his Dad, Jeff. Also homeward bound, Amy was in the process of moving herself and her 4 beloved dogs from the tiny island of Roatan, Honduras where she called home for 4 years to her childhood home on the east coast of Australia. It was a longhaul journey that as fate had it, included a pit stop in Portland. That pit stop turned to an extended visit in Central Oregon and 4 months and 4 days later, the cutest little beach themed wedding in the valley vineyards.
Next came the winter of 2016, which was unlike any Bend winter in decades and certainly unlike any winter a little Aussie ‘island girl’ could’ve ever imagined. It was an intense time for Amy.
“That winter was a shock to my soul! We were in the process of buying a house, still awaiting my green card so I wasn’t allowed to work but Josh had a relatively new business to run and was always at Duda’s”.
In search of more inside hobbies and probably a (lot) homesick, Amy started experimenting with making the comfort foods of her home country, especially hearty meat pies.
Emotionally exhausted of winter by the new year, Josh and Amy took off for 3 months in an RV (yes, with their 4 dogs…). They travelled across the country but only to places where they could wear flip flops and keep their down jackets safely packed away. Searching for “Aussie Pie Shops” in every big city they visited, Amy & Josh did their research and continued to bake new pies in their tiny RV oven.
Once the snow had melted, the pair returned to Bend with fresh spirit, a reawakened appetite for pies and a new mission: to introduce Bendites to Australia’s staple delicacy, The Aussie Meat Pie.
Gaining further recognition in an article by Lisa Sipe for the Bend Source
back in January 2018, Duda’s Aussie Meat pies have been well received by the Bend community. Production has gone from baking a humble bakers dozen to several hundred pies to meet the demands of hungry Americans at this years Bite of Bend and Bend Summerfest. More recently jumping on the Ubereats train, delivery now ensures that no Duda’s Aussie Pie lover has to go without a fix of their favorite comfort food.
So, next time you find yourself in downtown Bend, be sure to include a stop at Duda’s Billiards Bar. Whether you’re in the mood for pint of Coopers Vintage Ale, Aussie craft beer on tap, a traditional Classic Beef pie or the signature “Joe Burls” steak, bacon & cheese pie, be assured that you will truly find yourselves an authentic taste of the Land Downunder right here in Central Oregon!
It's pie that you eat with your hands... 🇦🇺