Though Montana’s cuisine is best known for hearty burgers and juicy steaks cowboys would love, a new restaurant called Ox Pasture in Red Lodge offers a seasonal farm-to-table menu along with quaint charm. Ox Pasture, which opened in May, uses an innovative concept of a rotating menu. Offerings change every two weeks to take full advantage of delicious seasonal produce and eat more locally. Along with whatever has been recently harvested, Ox Pasture serves local, ranch-raised chicken, beef, pork, and trout.
Ox Pasture is owned by seasoned restaurant veterans Gena Burghoff and chef Chris Lockhart, and inspired by an idea from Montanan David Leuschen and his wife. This married couple has worked in restaurants all over the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Cody, Wyoming. They started their careers with a farm-to-table food truck called Local Yokel and most recently ran Montana Jack’s in Dean. Burghoff, who was raised in Wyoming, offers guests charming hospitality while British-born Lockhart knocks it out in the kitchen with creative, travel-inspired cuisine. Lockhart’s European upbringing made eating locally come naturally to him. It also gave him lots of experience with other cuisines, so one menu could be Italian, the next French, and the next inspired by the Southern USA.
Aside from using seasonal produce, Ox Pasture’s menu includes parts of the plants and animals that are not always used by other chefs, like unusual cuts of beef and carrot top pesto. Their dedication to using only local ingredients means that Lockhart and his sous chef Danny Mowatt have to get creative! They brainstorm their menus twice a month and never repeat a dish. Eat here for a diversity of flavors and dishes you have probably never seen before. A sampling of past menu items includes: wagyu bavette steak with kale Caesar salad, steak tartare with fried green tomatoes, duck confit, and housemade tagliatelle pasta, garden beets, and peas with local Amalthea goat cheese.
Ox Pasture is also truly seasonal, with the dining room only open from May to October when they can serve an array of local foods. They are open in winter for private parties, however. Knowing that you can only dine at Ox Pasture for part of the year and that whatever dish you enjoyed will not be there the next time you visit is part of its allure. You want to hurry back to see if your next meal will be as good as the last.