We Heart OKC

Ludivine

lo•ca•vore [loh-kuh-vawr, ‐vohr]

noun: a person who makes an effort to eat food that is grown, raised, or produced locally, usually within 100 miles of home.

It’s a strange conjoining of two words, but don’t let it or the farm-to-table food movement fool you; it is not your everyday unremitting food fad. There is no carb intake limit, no frozen-microwave ready meals – no crock pots or bacon fondue oat bran cupcakes – it’s simply about eating what is locally sourced and available.

For Chefs Jonathan Stranger and Russ Johnson, that’s exactly what they’ve been doing out of their restaurant, Ludivine since September of 2010.

“If Ludivine is to stand for anything its honesty in our commitment to provide the best always locally sourced or foraged ingredients from around us,” Johnson said. “It stands for a different option in OKC outside of the same food that is offered at almost every restaurant.”

However, with a menu that boasts such creations as bone marrow and chicken liver mousse, this rustic and vibrant eatery would suit any adventurous eater.

“Think steak and asparagus or chicken breast with mashed potatoes and yellow squash,” Johnson said. “Every place has that – we don’t – we want food to be delicious, new and exciting for people, not routine.”

Keeping their cooking practices off the beaten path is part of what makes Ludivine such an appealing dining destination.

“Being a chef is the constant search for flavor,” Johnson said. “Whether it is developing it through a particular cooking method, tasting new things while walking around in the woods, or pulling the freshest produce right out of the ground and serving it to our guests that night; this is the reason for our never ending commitment to our process for allocating our food.”

support local farmers

There is a pride that comes from eating and supporting local producers.

“We have been blessed with the relationships we have with some very outstanding people who have committed everything to raising produce or livestock to us and it’s their commitment to growing the best product and our commitment to them which makes the process so rewarding for everyone,” Johnson explained.

Because it doesn’t have to travel long distances, local food can be grown to be tasty and healthy – not just resilient to long travel. According to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, in a study of 16 common fruits and vegetables, the average one travelled just under 1,500 miles before it was sold to a consumer. Additionally 39% of fruits and 12% of vegetables were imported from other countries.

“All dishes, all the time on the menu are seasonal,” Johnson assured. “We only use what has been provided by nature now. We don’t use what was provided last year then frozen in storage, or grown in South America or Mexico now. That just doesn’t make sense to us.”

There is however, one thing that makes sense to Stranger and Johnson and that’s unforgettable, palette pleasing cuisine. Both Oklahoma natives, the pair attended school together and after graduation went in their own culinary directions and cooked in some of the top locations locally and abroad.

“Upon returning to Oklahoma City we wanted to cook what we had learned elsewhere and what we loved,” Stanger and Johnson said. “We are both laid back and in no way similar to the crazy chefs you see on TV. We have always wanted Ludivine to be a place where people come relax and just let us cook dinner for them – simple and honest with a dose of the eccentric – pretty much sums us up.”

The atmosphere alone is more than enough to get you in the door, the food is what will make you stay and have you coming back for more. Not to mention Ludivine’s full bar with some of the city’s friendliest and most meticulous bartenders. We couldn’t guarantee a better, locally sourced eating experience.

*$10 Blue Plate Special: Mondays at Ludivine, $1 of every plate sold goes to support the Oklahoma Farm & Food Alliance.