In Red Lodge, Montana rather than the ever popular steaks or burgers this state is known for there is a new dining option in town. The Ox Pasture restaurant can be found on Red Lodge’s main street, and it offers the kind of “farm-to-table” dishes that makes a person genuinely glad they chose this café for a meal. Whether you’re hungry for trout, pork, chicken or local Montana beef, the choice is yours.
However, based on what’s in season at the time is what will be served with your choice of entrée. The unique draw of the Ox Pasture is that every other week the menu changes, and patrons can count on never being bored with the same old choices time after time. A “rotating menu” is an excellent idea and ensures satisfied diners will be back for more.
Opened in May 2016, it didn’t take long for word of the Ox Pasture to spread. Good food speaks for itself, and that’s all the advertising this restaurant needs. Well prepared dishes will be one thing that helps the Ox to thrive and the experience of its owners will be the other. Between them, husband and wife team Gena Burghoff and chef Chris Lockhart have years of experience in the restaurant business and they have put it all to good use in one of their own. And working off of an idea from fourth generation Montanan David Leuschen doesn’t hurt.
Chef Lockhart grew up in England where the farm to table idea and eating locally grown food is nothing new. Traveling internationally, he can’t help but pick up new ideas and with his natural talent in the kitchen that works out very well for Ox Pasture diners. Small restaurants like the Ox have a big advantage over larger establishments. Small means flexible, and using locally grown seasonal ingredients just isn’t an option for most larger restaurants.
Flexibility is where the Ox really shines. Lockhart and sous chef Danny Mowatt get together twice a month and pool their ideas on the possibilities of whatever is in season at the time. Then their ideas are transferred to the rotating menu until it’s time for another change. Fresh, seasonal ingredients can be challenging as there are only so many ways to prepare some things. Whatever the ingredient is, Chef Lockhart will have a way to prepare it straight from “foodie heaven.”
Patrons don’t walk into the Ox and see stirrups or horns hanging from the wall. The main attraction in this tastefully decorated little restaurant is the food, and what they do with it. The whole look of the Ox encourages thoughts of modern country classic with the charm of a French bistro. The only discouraging news about the Ox Pasture is that they are closed in the winter months. You can bet anyone who has dined with them in their first season of business will be waiting for them to open again in the Spring.