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Meet: Oakland's Clove and Hoof

Restaurateurs John Blevins and Analiesa Gosnell bring the whole animal to the table at Oakland’s Clove and Hoof.


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John Blevins and Analiesa Gosnell at their Oakland restaurant and butchery, Clove and Hoof.

Photos by Terrence McCarthy

“Offal gets a bad rap,” says John Blevins, chef and co-owner of Oakland butchery/restaurant Clove and Hoof. “There’s so much great stuff you can do with it, but it can easily go south if it isn’t cooked well.”

Offal—the head, entrails, and internal organs of a butchered animal—rarely makes it onto restaurant menus and supermarket shelves. But at Clove and Hoof, which Blevins opened in 2014 with his wife and business partner, Analiesa Gosnell, these underappreciated parts are a gourmand’s delight. Consider some of the dishes in Blevins’ repertoire: a delicious Cuban sandwich made with pig’s face, grilled veal tongue, or smoked pigs’ tails.

“We use the whole animal and make something from every part of it,” says Blevins. (This excludes the hide and hooves, which are removed in the slaughtering
process, and the glands.)

If customers are squeamish at first about the unusual items, they generally come around once they’ve tried the food, which is inventively presented and generously portioned. Now three years into their venture, Blevins and Gosnell feel their restaurant and butchery is widely accepted by the community, as evidenced by the shop’s loyal clientele.

One reason for their success, they say, is their commitment to partnering with sustainable and all-natural ranches and farms.

“We source and procure our products with great care,” says Blevins. “Certainly, we know that death is involved whenever we eat meat, but we do our
work with great respect and thoughtfulness.”Gosnell prepares beef to sell.

“We always wanted Clove and Hoof to be really welcoming,” adds Gosnell, “a friendly place where you can ask us questions, try new things, and enjoy yourself.”

Adding to the friendliness factor, the couple will soon expand their operation to include a soda fountain, where you can order milkshakes, phosphates, and other classic beverages. “You’ll be able to come in, grab an old-fashioned shake, and then sit down with our signature beef burger, which comes from one single animal,” says Blevins. “That’s the kind of special experience we’re going for.” cloveandhoofoakland.com.

 

JOHN BLEVINS’ TOP FIVE UNDERAPPRECIATED ANIMAL PARTS

1. Cheeks
2. Fat
3. Feet
4. Heart
5. Shanks

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Faces

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