Divine Dining in Oxford, Mississippi
From adventurous eats to comfort food, Oxford has something for every palate. When you think “quintessential Southern town,” it’s almost difficult to not picture Oxford, Mississippi: the streets, lined with a canopy of shady trees, sprawling front porches and welcome signs from a host of charming local businesses. Smiling faces shop, sip, and savor their way around a classic town square, and it’s easy to picture enigmatic Southern authors like William Faulkner and Barry Hannah observing the scene from a park bench or secluded balcony.
It’s doesn’t take long to get lost in the Southern charm that surrounds the University of Mississippi, but that’s far from the only thing Oxford brings to the table, especially in terms of eating and drinking. With fewer than 25,000 permanent residents (and about as many coeds, give or take), Oxford effortlessly puts cities 10 times its size to shame in terms of fine dining, giving visitors the unique opportunity to explore international palates expertly seasoned with Southern hospitality.
Inspired by New York’s fine dining scene, Clint Boutwell, the owner and chef extraordinaire of Oxford Grillehouse, opened Julep Steakhouse & Flights last summer. His vision for the space was to enhance the offerings at his original establishment (conveniently located right across the street) by offering foodies the opportunity to explore the menu through flights, or small servings of multiple foods or beverages. Adventurous eaters will love dishes like the veal osso bucco or a delicious tuna flight, especially when paired with flights of wine or bourbon. Also on the menu is the dish that made Oxford Grillehouse a staple of the Square: Boutwell’s perfectly prepared steak.
The Sipp may take its name from Mississippians’ loving nickname for our state, but the menu of tapas and custom charcuterie boards in addition to a long list of fine wines give diners a taste well beyond the borders of the Hospitality State. Although The Sipp first opened its doors less than six months ago and is while it is owners AJ and Claire Kiamie’s first foray into food, generations of Oxonians and Ole Miss Alums alike will recognize their last name. In 1966, the family opened Kiamie’s Package Store, one of Mississippi’s first Prohibition package stores.
Throughout the years, the business evolved to include an eclectic collection of endeavors—bowling alley, laundry mat, and car wash—so it’s no surprise that this innovative family is now expanding its horizons to include Oxford’s food scene!
Spy a line snaking up the sidewalk along Van Buren Avenue? Chances are it’s for the spicy snacks and sweet sips at South Depot Taco Shop. This Oxford classic is known for its custom creations of Mexican-inspired dishes like tacos, quesadillas, and burritos, as well as their dangerously delicious $5 margaritas. With a huge selection of toppings and even vegetarian-friendly protein options, South Depot is the perfect spot for a crowd as every diner can create their own custom cuisine.
Oxford has lovingly been referred to as “The Little Easy”, homage to New Orleans’ nickname of “The Big Easy.” Fitting, then, that beneath Oxford’s classic department store, Neilson’s, you can find the flavors that made NOLA famous at Tallahatchie Gourmet. This spot is perfect for a laidback lunch as diners can order from a variety of Southern sandwiches or po-boys, salads or soups, including some of the best gumbo on this side of the Mississippi River, or try their rotating plate lunch specials (fried catfish is always on Friday). At dinner, the ambience is similarly relaxed, although the experience is elevated with table service, live music and an expanded menu that includes fresh seafood dishes and pasta specials. On Sundays, the shop offers a boozy brunch that boasts fried chicken and waffles and homemade beignets, a staple of any NOLA inspired restaurant.
Adding to “The Little Easy” vibes, saunter down to Funky’s Pizza & Daiquiri Bar for your Bourbon Street style daiquiris and hurricanes. While sipping on your frozen beverage, indulge in Funky’s creative pizzas like the seasonal Spicy Crawfish or local favorites aptly titled The Sorority Girl (all veggies) or the Frat Boy (all the meats) that are available all year!
If you think you know what the quintessential Southern town brings to the table, think again: in Oxford, we’ve always got something hot and fresh cooking. Get the recipe for your perfect trip at VisitOxfordMS.com.