Local restaurants like Over The Edge make a significant difference in the community. Here, Katie Bivens greets a local rancher.
Over The Edge Bar and Grill opened in May 2011, the dream of Rose Blake. Her husband, Clark, went all-out to make her wish come true. When Rose died of cancer in 2017, Clark did his best to keep Over The Edge going, but it wasn’t the same without Rose.
As of August 4, 2021, Over The Edge is owned by Deb Brown, who was raised on a ranch about 30 miles from Camp Crook. She also owns Long Pines Land and Livestock, home to revolutionary, American-made Irish Black and Irish Red cattle and great horses for ranching and competition. Plus, Deb owns and manages Preferred Home Health, which serves a vital service throughout Western South Dakota, and employs 50 to 60 people.
So why take on ownership of a full-service restaurant and bar on top of the ranch and home health businesses?
“Our community needs a quality, family-friendly restaurant,” says Deb. “But it also is helping our goals for our cattle. We’ve wanted to have a complete pasture-to-plate system.”
Sure, the right cook makes a big difference in how meat turns out. But you can't make a low-quality piece of beef into a great one through cooking. And having a consistent product that both chefs and consumers can count on is key to keeping customers.
"Visual appearance can only tell you so much about eating quality. Selecting the right genetics is fundamental," says Deb. Long Pines uses DNA testing and live-animal carcass ultrasounding, along with solid record keeping and continual research to improve its herd. “But we need to know how they perform on the rail and then on the plate to complete the picture,” adds Sterling Brown, Deb’s son who handles day-to-day ranch duties.
Pieces started lining up to make this happen. Little Missouri Customs opened in Camp Crook about the same time that Over The Edge became a sister business to Long Pines Land and Livestock.
In the near future, Long Pines cattle will be on feeding trials at the ranch, with the help of Katie Bivens, who is obtaining her PhD in ruminant nutrition. Various regimes will be tested that remain forage-based but investigate additional options. For example, university research has found that used cooking oil can be a valuable part of cattle rations, so that’s one trial on the docket. Katie, originally from Tennessee, recently moved to the Camp Crook area after serving as dean of academics at Dawson Community College. She also taking on duties as Over The Edge manager.
In the near future, Long Pines will know a lot more about the meat quality of its cattle, combining that information with DNA and other production data to further improve the herd.
Currently, the restaurant is sourcing as much beef as possible through JC Farms and Country Store, based in Hettinger, ND, owned by Jordan and Jacki (Price) Christman. Jacki grew on a ranch about 30 miles from Camp Crook.
Getting a lot of locally sourced fresh food on the menu is a huge driver of changes going on already. In addition to fine-tuning the menu and advancing staff training and quality control, Over The Edge will be undergoing significant upgrades inside and outside. The bar side of the building is the original Little Missouri Bank building, built about a century ago. The entire exterior will be painted as soon as possible in 2022. Free WiFi is now available for customers.
“We’d like to open more hours but having enough staff to do that is our limiting factor at this point,” says Deb. Sterling has been doing his share of bartending and even repair work. Rumor is he can mix a pretty decent adult cocktail. If anyone is looking for a great opportunity, get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Long Pines is proud to have Over The Edge as part of its family.
Be sure to follow both Long Pines and Over The Edge Grill on Facebook and/or Instagram.
Currently, Over The Edge is sourcing as much meat locally as possible, with plans for Long Pines to supply a significant amount.
Over The Edge's original structure was built more than a century ago, first serving as the Little Missouri Bank. Exterior work began during Fall 2021.
This is what Over The Edge will look like following painting and new signage in 2022.