Kirkland and his family raise cattle in Sunset, a rural area off Hwy. 287 northwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Anywhere between 400 and 700 Angus cows are on the farm. That led to them opening the Keller store in 2019. A second location in Argyle opened in September 2022. Kirkland started in the cattle business in 2008 after graduating from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. By 2014, he set up a shop selling a variety of meats at the Keller Farmers Market.
“There was a big demand for protein and knowing the source of your protein,” he said. “We had all the infrastructure, and we had the capability. Most people that raise cattle know very little about the beef industry in terms of meat science, myself included. I knew cattle, and I knew people wanted to know what the source of the beef was.”
Kirkland noted the farm does not use antibiotics or add hormones to the cattle to produce the beef.
The Keller Farmers Market offerings eventually led to a wholesale contract with a food distributor. Z Bar Cattle Co. started to ramp up production, and then that company walked away from the contract, Kirkland said.
“We had hundreds of thousands of pounds in cold storage,” he said. “It was devastating.”
That set in motion the start of the Keller store with construction starting in 2018, and it opened in March 2019. The Argyle location was added to make the ranch more efficient, Kirkland said.
Z Bar Cattle sells beef, pork, chicken and frozen seafood as well as gourmet dog food.
“I think anything worth doing is difficult, and the demand was already there; we just had to fill that demand and try to provide high-quality products consistently at a fair price,” Kirkland said.
Z Bar Cattle Co.
1632 Keller Parkway, Ste. 200, Keller
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.