Mound City, MO –
Nathan Livengood and Jason Finney have opened a restaurant, the Toad Hollar Bar & Grill in Mound City. In addition they will be offering Conference rooms for rent and catering services in-house. They say that what makes them unique is that they make all their food from scratch, with no preservatives or additives. “Our biscuits, hamburger buns, hoagie rolls, dinner rolls and loaves of wheat and white bread are all made from the simplest of ingredients, starting with flour, eggs and sugar. We also make our salad dressings from scratch, so few name brands will be found in our facility,” says Nathan.
The entrepreneurial venture started with Nathan getting time off from his job at a factory due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Since times were uncertain, and time at home was plentiful, he planted a garden and added a chicken coop to the barn. For Jason, the greenhouse at which he worked was cutting hours because the planting season was coming to a close, so he was looking for a job. They started selling produce from the garden at local farmers’ markets and preserving jams and jelly to sell to those who attended. Popularity for the jam and jellies grew until it outgrew the “Cottage Law” which led the two to search for a certified kitchen. “While we are still unable to sell our preserved jams and jellies to customers, we ended up opening a restaurant featuring these items on some of our menu items. Being our own bosses and building our business outside of a corporate setting set well with us. Also the enjoyment of providing people with a product that they come back for gives us pride in what we do”, says Nathan.
“The biggest struggle we have faced at this point is guessing how many people we can plan on visiting our restaurant on any given day and how much food to prepare to limit waste and labor cost,” says Nathan. The entrepreneurs are working through the steps successfully and looking forward to the future. They plan to grow the business by getting more involved with the community and planning activities that will encourage community togetherness. They will be holding volleyball, cornhole and horseshoe tournaments on the premises. Nathan encourages other entrepreneurs with these words: “Be aware of risk, but don’t let it defeat you before getting started. Every adventure may have risk involved but having a back-up plan to offset that risk and understanding the aspects of that risk fully will give you the ability to plan for the unexpected. Furthermore, enjoy what you are doing and what you are selling. You are more likely to work harder when you enjoy what you do.”
Nathan and Jason heard about Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation services through one of the organization’s board members that owns the lease to the building where they are tenants. They say that they used the Enterprise Facilitator, Keli Morris to help guide them in an industry they knew little about in terms of the “details” and legalities. “While we were able to cook up a storm in the kitchen, the business portion in terms of licenses, agreements, taxation and overall laws and rules of running a business that serves food to the public was very new to us. NWMEF has given us the guidelines and guidance to complete forms, applications and others documentation necessary to be successful in what we do”, says Nathan.