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Monday, January 11, 2016

Oxford Obessed: A Fresh Look at the New South

by Blair Loup

My veins pulse purple and gold, but Oxford, Mississippi, is a surprising enchantress once you see beyond the veil of the SEC.

Arriving in Oxford felt like walking onto a movie set. A picturesque square serves the town on a pulmonary level. By day, locals shop in quaint stores and snag a bite to eat, and by night you can find people of all ages hopping from bar to bar.

The fun doesn’t stop in the Square; you can throw a rock and hit fun times and good eats in Oxford.

There’s plenty of old school historic Oxford to fall in love with, but it’s the vibrant group of new culinary talent that captured my attention.

It’s pretty easy to find what the cool kids are up to in town. Follow the good food and you’ll find your new drinking buddy and partner in crime in an afternoon’s time.

Hang Out at a Hotel


Deviled Eggs at The Coop on the rooftop of  The Graduate Hotel
Deviled Eggs at The Coop on the rooftop of
The Graduate Hotel

If you’re taking a trip to Oxford, I highly recommend staying at The Graduate. This place is a work of art. Designed to reflect the essence of whatever college town it manifests, The Graduate in Oxford is the perfect place to kick off shenanigans. A trip to the top floor lands you at The Coop, a restaurant/bar with a beautiful balcony view of the square, delicious small plates, and a stiff cocktail.

Get Your Lard On


A breakfast skillet, house-cured bacon, bruléed grapefruit and a hot cup of Joe at Big Bad Breakfast
A breakfast skillet, house-cured bacon, bruléed grapefruit and a hot cup of Joe at Big Bad Breakfast

John Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast is a must. After a day in The Grove or a night out on the town, you can’t look me in the eye and tell me you don’t want a hearty Southern breakfast. Bonus points if you grab a “Lard Have Mercy” t-shirt and a slab of their house-made bacon or breakfast sausage on your way out.


Hop in the Second Line


Besh Shrimp at Second Line in Oxford
Besh Shrimp at Second Line in Oxford

Chef Kelly English studied under Louisiana rockstar Chef John Besh and took that talent to Memphis to open Second Line, Oxford is home to the second Second Line, and incredible things are happening there.

If you’re from Louisiana, there’s nothing worse than a New Orleans-style restaurant cranking out terribly executed Louisiana-inspired dishes, but Second Line is doing it right. Chef Meredith Pittman rules the roost in this colorful joint in the square. She runs a tight ship of culinary students fostering their creativity and passion for food.

They’re doing Louisiana staples the right way, utilizing local ingredients for some pretty cool dishes of their own and serving up some tasty cocktails too! When I go back to Oxford, this is my first stop.

Join the Hunt


Steak Frites with Chimichurri, Truffle/Parmesan Frites and Tabasco Aioli
Steak Frites with Chimichurri, Truffle/Parmesan Frites and Tabasco Aioli


Snackbar, another of John Currence’s restaurants located in the same parking lot as Big Bad Breakfast, just a stone’s throw from the Square, boasts a menu that will make you want to wear fur, drink whiskey, own many leather-bound books and smell of rich mahogany.

Chef Vishwesh Bhatt brings surprising flavors to the table that no one else in town is plating up. Additionally, their charcuterie and raw oyster game is so strong.

Everyone in Oxford is your new best friend, and if you follow these steps you’re sure to meet some amazing individuals who will serve up a mean cocktail and feed you right.