Mark and Susan Goss met in high school while they worked at the first Whataburger restaurant in Oklahoma. Now, during what could be their retirement years, Mark is using the knowledge he gained as a geologist, coupled with his research on natural farming methods, to produce nutrient-rich soil that feeds the animals on his 538-acre ranch. “Healthy soil grows healthy animals,” says Mark, so he spent years researching before setting out to raise animals. “Stress is the enemy of flavor, since it causes the release of hormones in the animal, so my goal is to provide a safe, stress-free environment for my animals.”
The Gosses breed Berkshire pigs, raise chickens, and raise young calves so they can control their environment their entire lives. Initially, Mark and Susan had trouble finding the types of meats they wanted to purchase, so they made the decision to buy a ranch and raise their own cows, pigs, and chickens, so their family could enjoy meats free off antibiotics and hormones. Eventually, they were successfully producing more meat than the family could consume, so they elected to share these meats with others in the community.
Mark and Susan discussed several locations to open a business, but chose Edmond because Edmondnites are health-conscious consumers who care about the source of their food. Livegrass Butcher + Bistro‘s northeast Edmond location on 2nd Street allows them to offer a butcher service that is not available elsewhere in the local proximity.
As the Gosses traveled down the path to start their business, a mutual friend introduced them to chef Josh Valentine. The executive chef at Livegrass Butcher + Bistro, Josh has worked in food since high school and has over 20 years experience in menu design and dish creation. He has held chef positions in Dallas, as well as many well-known OKC restaurants in the past, and even competed on Top Chef. A mutual friend connected the two, and Josh was hooked after he tried some of the Gosses’ fantastic meats. “I cooked and ate some pork belly and chops, and after that I visited the ranch. I was hooked,” said Josh.
Much thought and intentionality went into the name and concept behind Livegrass Butcher + Bistro. The store is first and foremost a top-quality butcher shop giving consumers the option to purchase the freshest and most nutrient dense meats possible.
“We want to be your neighborhood boutique butcher,” said Mark. “Come in and ask questions. If there is something you have always wanted to try, we will try to get it for you.” The French term bistro refers to haute cuisine offered at a price that the masses can enjoy. Livegrass Butcher + Bistro offers both a local butcher experience, as well as a menu of items highlighting the flavorful meats they sell.
“The restaurant is Josh’s playground,” Mark said. “Josh enjoys creating dishes that are simple and highlight the flavor of the meat, and he has a gift of combining ingredients that Oklahoman’s are familiar with in a way that is new and unique, but not too intimidating to try.” This concept is what they refer to as Contemporary Oklahoma Cuisine.
I had the pleasure of sampling The Southern burger, which features Livegrass house hamburger and bacon, homemade pimento cheese, and chow-chow. It was unlike anything I had ever tried; a magnificent combination of savory, sour, and sweet that makes your taste buds come alive.
Several years in the making, Livegrass Butcher + Bistro opened June 30th, after a Covid-induced delay, but the delay was necessary, said Susan. “We spent the extra time to ensure our staff and customers are safe. We have multiple sanitation stations, provide a socially distanced eating environment, and food will always be served by staff in masks and gloves.” Curbside pickup and online ordering are also available.
Since the menu is based on fresh, locally grown ingredients, watch for an updated menu in September, which will also include some fine dining options. The restaurant pays close attention to each detail of the restaurant in regards to the food and setting. Mark and Susan also admit they poured massive amounts of research into their wine selection, pun intended.
“First and foremost, we hope to develop relationships with our customers, that go beyond the implications of just buying meat,” Mark said. “We are a full-service butcher offering advice on how to prepare the meat as well as specialty options made to order. We want to help our clientele produce better food at home.
Whether you want to incorporate high-quality meats into your own cooking, or let others do the work for you to enjoy, Livegrass Butcher + Bistro is the answer.
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About Kelly Vaughn
Kelly Vaughn completed her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland-European Division while living overseas as a military spouse. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she is also employed. She is a graduate of Leadership Edmond, Class XXV and is actively involved in the Edmond community. Kelly enjoys business and leadership books and podcasts, spending time with her family, attending concerts, and traveling.