Eating Oxford On Vacation Until Monday, February 2

coz picI’ll be taking a short vacation from Wednesday, January 28, through Sunday, February 1, to continue my January birthday celebration.

The beaches of Mexico have been calling my name, and I’ve decided to answer them with a girlfriend’s getaway!

Enjoy the remainder of Oxford Restaurant Week as well as Super Bowl Sunday.

See you all again on Monday, February 2.

–Liz Barrett Foster, publisher



How to Find Mississippi BBQ Sauce in Oxford

barbecue sauce lily pad

Sauce shelf at Oxford’s Lily Pad


By Danny Toma, staff writer

Mississippians love barbecue and always have. That being said, I can remember when good barbecue joints were not as plentiful as they are now in the Magnolia State. There were always a few old-time standbys, like Abe’s in Clarksdale, or Goldie’s Trail in Vicksburg, but compared to states like Tennessee, North Carolina, or Texas, the number of restaurants serving honest-to-goodness barbecue, cooked “low and slow” over hardwood, were relatively few.

That has begun to change, and it’s not necessary to drive several hours just to have a nice plate of ‘cue. Even so, Mississippians have suffered over the years from the lack of a particularly Mississippi-style. Say “Memphis” or “Kansas City” or “Lexington, North Carolina,” and barbecue aficionados don’t need any qualifiers to imagine what to expect when the barbecue hits their palate. But Miabes bbqssissippi barbecue? Sure, we eat it, but there is little that causes it to stand out from our more famous neighbors.

Perhaps for this reason, locavores seeking to shop for a “Made in Mississippi” barbecue sauce have to go the extra mile in Oxford to find one. All of the big supermarkets have impressive and extensive collections of barbecue sauce, even carrying unusual offerings like white, northern Alabama sauce (Big Bob Gibson’s) available at Wal-Mart or a wide-range of Texas sauces at Kroger, but nary a sauce carries a Mississippi return address.

Mississippi sauce can be found, however; you just have to know where to look. At the Lily Pad, on the Oxford Square, one can find “Colonel’s Choice,” a sauce made right here in Oxford and available in both Whiskey BBQ and Garlic Ginger flavors. They also carry the famous Abe’s Bar-B-Q Sauce, from the famous Clarksdale establishment that has been around since 1924. Lily Pad also carries a couple of sauces from Oxford Falls in Starkville. While not, strictly speaking, barbecue sauces (they have Raspberry Chipotle and Three Pepper Peach flavors), they are Mississippi-born-and-bred and deserve a shout-out.

Mississippi Madness on the south side of the Square used to have a very extensive food and kitchen section that was reduced some years ago. However, they still carry a few edibles, and while they do not carry barbecue sauce, they do have Rebel Bar-B-Q Rub out of Flowood. They also carry the Oxford Falls sauces as well as the mysterious steak topping known as Ycolonels choiceocona Sauce.

The only other purveyor of Mississippi barbecue sauces that I was able to find is LBs. Meat Market out at 2008 University Avenue (across from Kroger). Like Mississippi Madness, they also carry Rebel Bar-B-Q Rub and Yocona Sauce, but they also are the only carriers in the area that I am aware of that have Ubon’s Sauce out of Yazoo City and Hoover Sauce out of Louise, Mississippi. In addition, they have their own proprietary rub blends (“Steak, Rib,” and “2 Guys”) that are available for purchase.

There are any number of really good Mississippi barbecue sauces out there, even if the local selection is somewhat limited. Go out and sample some of the ones I’ve mentioned here. If you need to branch out beyond that, try the Mississippi Gift Company out of Greenwood, as they generally carry three or four varieties of barbecue sauces from right here in Mississippi.

About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and contributes to on a regular basis.

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Moving: Delta Steak Company

delta steak coLast week, rumors started circulating about the possibility of Delta Steak Company moving to Abbeville.

I met with owners Allen and Erin Sanders today who confirmed that the restaurant will indeed be relocating to a new space in Abbeville, sometime in the beginning of March.

“We never planned to leave this location,” says Allen. “But our lease is up at the end of February and we could not come to an agreement with the landlord when we offered to purchase the property.”

Both Allen and Erin are excited about the new location (former Abbeville Grill, diagonal to the old Ruth & Jimmie’s/Yocona in Exile building in downtown Abbeville), noting that the building was originally built in 1926, which will fit in nicely with the old Delta feel they both enjoy. “The new space is actually bigger than our current building,” says Erin. “It still has three separate dining rooms, which we like, and even has a room with an indoor charcoal pit so customers can watch their steaks being prepared.”

While Delta Steak Company is currently inside city limits, Allen says that it’s always been somewhat of a destination restaurant. “Our customers come from all over–Tupelo, Batesville, even Jackson,” he says. “They come to spend a nice evening enjoying dinner, and we’re hoping they’ll do the same when we make the move to Abbeville.”

In addition to current customers, the move will mean a new restaurant for the citizens of Abbeville who have been without a sit-down restaurant for quite some time. Delta Steak Company will offer southern plate lunches Monday through Friday in its new location in addition to its regular dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Erin says alcohol will most likely be brown bag in the beginning until they can secure resort status to open the bar during operating hours. “The town of Abbeville has welcomed us with open arms,” says Allen. “We’ve even been invited to meet with the Board of Alderman.”

For those who are resistant to make the trek to Abbeville, Allen notes that the restaurant is less than 10 miles from Oxford and faster to get to than the other side of town since there are no lights to go through.

For the time being, Delta Steak Company will remain open and operating normally in its current location through the end of February. The Sanders’ hope for a smooth transition into the new space in early March.

–Liz Barrett Foster, publisher


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Restaurant Week Starts Today!

restaurant weekOxford Restaurant Week kicks off today and runs through January 31 with specials at more than 20 restaurants.

Every time you dine at a participating restaurant, you’ll have the opportunity to vote for one of Oxford Restaurant Week’s local charities. The charity with the most votes compiled by January 31 will walk away with a check for $5,000.

Charities include: Good Food for Oxford Schools, Love Packs, Meals on Wheels, More Than A Meal, and Oxford Food Pantry.

Coupons are not required to obtain deals at participating restaurants, but organizers ask that you please visit to vote for the charity of your choice after your visit.

Participating Restaurants:rest week 1

  • Abner’s – $3.00 OFF Any Food and Medium Drink Purchase
  • Back Yard Burgers – $1.00 off Any Combo
  • Boure – soup or salad w/ grilled cheese for $10
  • Chick-Fil-A – Free Dessert with Meal Purchase
  • Country Club of Oxford – Choose 3 for $30 Pre-Fix Menu
  • Cups of Oxford – 15% OFF any espresso or tea beverage
  • Domino’s Pizza –  Two Large Pizzas with Any 3 Toppings for $10.00 each
  • High Point Coffee – 15% OFF (Both Locations)
  • Little Caesar’s Pizza – Free Crazy Bread Combo ($3.99 Value)
  • McEwen’s – $35.00 Prefix Menu
  • My Michelle’s – Plates Run for $6.00 ($12.00 each) at $10.00 per pound and $2.00 OFF Buffet Visit
  • Newks – Free dessert with Entree Purchase (Both Locations)rest week 2
  • Oby’s – 10% OFF Total Purchase
  • Old Venice Pizza Co. – daily lunch specials for pasta n pizza
  • Panera Bread – Free Fountain Drink or Coffee with the Meal Purchase
  • Proud Larry’s – $17.95 Pre Fixe Menu: Side salad (house or csesar), crawfish etoufee, Mason Jar Dessert (smores, strawberry shortcake, and key lime) with drink
  • Rebel Barn – Free Drink with sandwich combo or Plate Purchase
  • Roundtable – BBQ Sandwich or Hamburger with Fries and a Drink for $6.00. Add a beer to make it $8.00.
  • Soulshine Pizza – $12.00 Pre-Fix Menu: cream of crawfish bisque, specialty pizza, and ‘Slap Yo Mama” Bread Pudding
  • South Depot Taco Shop – Free Chips and Small Salsa with Purchase of Entrée and Drink
  • Delta Steak Company – Free Dessert with entrée Purchase. Happy Hour Special for Restaurant Week: Buy one “Happy Hour” food itm and get one 1/2 OFF from 4pm – 6:30pm in the Bar.
  • The Wine Bar – $40.00 Special Paired Wine & Small Plate with either white or red wine
  • Zaxby’s – 10% OFF Total Purchase

coach cook off

Don’t miss today’s Coaches Cook Off, happening at 2 p.m. at the Grill at 1810 at the Manning Center at Ole Miss.

Beyond Oxford: Southern Food & Beverage Museum, New Orleans

southern food and beverage museum new orleans 2

SoFaB Mississippi exhibit

By Danny Toma, staff writer

I’m not going to write about the New Orleans food scene. For one, this is an Oxford blog, and for another, the topic is simply too vast to even begin to explore. Of course, as someone who loves New Orleans, I do have my favorite places (Galatoire’s for old-time Creole cuisine and Cochon for new-style Louisiana cooking), but I will leave it at that for now.

What I do want to mention, since so many readers do travel to New Orleans, and because it directly relates to us here in North Mississippi, is the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, or as it’s called in New Orleans, SoFaB. This museum is another example of an institution that has arisen in the post-Katrina years and shows the ongoing vitality of the Crescent City.

Established in 2008 in the Riverwalk Marketplace, SoFaB has recently moved to 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard and is a work in progress, seeking to tell the story of southern food. Naturally, there is a slight emphasis on Louisiana, but every southern state is covered. The Mississippi exhibit is actually one of the larger ones, second only to the Pelican State, and fsouthern food and beverage museum new orleanseatures part of the original structure of the Shed Barbecue and Blues Joint from Ocean Springs. For each state, there’s a brief write-up of the characteristics of the local cuisine with a number of artifacts to illustrate it.

It’s an exciting time to visit SoFaB because you get to see the museum coming together. The Museum of the American Cocktail, connected with the premises, is nearly complete, and exhibits on barbecue in the South as well as one for Antoine’s 175th anniversary are in the works for this year.

Another exciting addition is the recently opened Purloo Restaurant, co-located with the museum. The mission of Purloo will be to present dishes from across the South, not just New Orleans, to those interested in southern culinary history (and to those who just want to try something new). If you’re familiar with historic New Orleans restaurants, you’ll want to at least peak into Purloo. The bar at Purloo was salvaged from the famous Bruening’s Restaurant, once located by Lake Pontchartrain but completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina (the bar was in storage at the time of the storm, thus preserving it for future generations).

Purloo New Orleans

Old Bruening’s bar inside Purloo.

If you’re reading this blog, you are no doubt interested in southern food, so next time you get on down to the Big Easy, take a few minutes to drop by SoFaB and learn more about the South’s kitchen culture. The Southern Food & Beverage Museum is open Thursday through Monday, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (the Monday hours give you an excuse to add one more day to your New Orleans weekend, since you can see the museum and still get back to Oxford in time for supper).


About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and contributes to on a regular basis.

Do you enjoy Consider supporting our effort, and keep us going strong.

Choose Your Level of Support…

TGIF: The Growler

growler oxford msBy Danny Toma, staff writer

As a college town, Oxford has never lacked for a place to drink, even back when it was not legal to do so. There are all manner of student bars, sports bars, and music bars, where the common theme is large crowds, loud noise, and good times–some of which might even be remembered the next day.

But one thing Oxford had been lacking was a quiet place to enjoy a drink–a place where you could go to have a civilized conversation with friends or even relax by yourself to contemplate life and what it has to offer. No longer. Since September of 2014, Oxford is now home to the Growler, a craft beer bar for those of us who are looking for high quality beers and ales and a pleasant place in which to enjoy them.

Business is growing by leaps and bounds at Growler, showing that the bar has fulfilled a long-time need in Oxford, and it’s no surprise. Their taps dispense beer of the highest craftsmanship, and, what’s more, they have a commitment to highlighting Mississippi beers. Mississippi beers? Absolutely! The craft brew movement has really taken off in the Magnolia State, and you can now find as good a beer produced here as anywhere else in the country. Brewers such as Yalobusha (located just down the road in Water Valley), Lucky Town (Jackson), Lazy Magnolia (Kiln), Southern Prohibition (Hattiesburg), and Crooked Legrowler oxford ms 3tter (Ocean Springs) are all featured at the Growler, which typically dedicates between one-third and one-half its taps to Mississippi beers.

The rest of the taps are mostly filled with other regional brews, such as Abita, Wiseacre, Yazoo, and Sweetwater, but these rotate more regularly. Some of the more popular national craft beers, such as Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada, are also often available. Not a beer drinker? Don’t worry. The Growler is now carrying Memphis’ own Smith and Forge cider. For the designated drivers and teetotalers among you, they have Abita’s very fine root beer on draught. For solid sustenance, the Growler features an ever-changing menu of food items, ranging from sandwiches (using Oxford’s own Honeybee Bakery breads) to various types of bar foods.

growler oxford ms 4New events are in the works for the Growler. They’ve recently acquired a dual-chamber infusion system for flavoring beer and plan on holding weekly events where they pair a particular brew with a flavoring agent to provide completely new taste experiences – think white chocolate with chocolate stout, or, even more daringly, cheesecake with Abita strawberry ale. In addition to this, Monday nights are soon to be “Cards Against Humanity” nights, where the popular party game will be played with prizes given to winners.

The Growler is located at 265 N.  Lamar Blvd., Suite Y (behind Highpoint Coffee) and is open Monday through Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4:00 p.m. They are also open to hosting group events (such as private tastings); just drop them a line at

And if you can’t get enough of the wonderful beers while there, true to their name, they have “growlers” available – half gallon jugs for transporting beer. Buy a growler and select your favorite brew to fill it; you’ll have it to enjoy at home for the times you just can’t make it downtown.


About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and contributes to on a regular basis.

Do you enjoy Consider supporting our effort, and keep us going strong.

Choose Your Level of Support…

Chaney’s Pharmacy: More Than Prescriptions

chaneys oxford 2By Danny Toma, staff writer

One of the things that makes Oxford a foodie heaven is the availability of food items in unusual places. A good example of this is Chaney’s Pharmacy, one of the last locally owned, independent drugstores in Oxford and a part of the community for more than 30 years. Of course, Chaney’s is a good place to get your prescription filled, and the shelves are full of every over-the-counter medication imaginable, even alternative medicines. But that is not all they carry.

Most people are aware of Chaney’s little coffee shop, and it is a nice one. Carrying Ugly Mug coffees, which are Fair Trade organic blends, they have every imaginable combination of lattes, frappes, and mochas, as well as teas and cold drinks. You can pick up one of their small selection of baked goods, many of them from Bottletree Bakery right here in Oxford, for a light breakfast. Also behind the counter is a full menu of TCBY frozen yoghurt products – cones, smoothies, and sundaes with all manner of toppings. And if you don’t feel like stopping, there’s even a drive-through window. With a few tables around, and the latest copy of the Memphis Commercial Appeal available for customers, it is a pleasant place to chat with friends or take a coffee break.Chaney's oxford

But Chaney’s selection of edibles is not limited to what’s behind the coffee counter. They have a small but unusually eclectic collection of food and drink that you don’t normally find in a small drugstore – things like San Pellegrino and Fiji mineral waters (both in large bottles and individual serving sizes); Martinelli sparkling cider; Orangina; Cape Cod and Tom’s chips; Snyder’s Pretzels; Momma’s Southern-Style Bite-Sized Cookies from Selma, Alabama; and Jardine’s Peach Salsa out of Texas. They also carry a nice selection of Ole Miss-themed tailgating supplies.

Perhaps most impressive, however, is Chaney’s candy selection, currently all geared up for the Valentine’s Day rush. All of the majors are represented: See’s, Russell Stover, and Whitman’s. They have “samplers” ranging in size from a few ounces to several pounds, as well as a number of other products from these candy makers – “millionaires,” hard candies, and turtles. They carry some of the minor league candy sellers as well – Pangburn’s from Texas, Zachary from Indiana, and Mississippi’s own Wheeler’s Pecans out of Indianola (both under the Wheeler’s and Mossy Oak labels).

So, whether you need a box of chocolates for that special someone, a cold bottle of fizzy mineral water, or just a cup of coffee, consider Chaney’s the next time you’re in the area. Chaney’s is located at 501 Bramlett Boulevard, between the Oxford Public Library and the Mustard Seed Antique Mall. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and contributes to on a regular basis.

Do you enjoy Consider supporting our effort, and keep us going strong.

Choose Your Level of Support…

Oxford Food News: Jan. 21

eating oxford weekly updateThis is’s Weekly Update, covering the latest food news in Oxford.

Check the site every week to fill your plate with information, and return to find larger feature stories on favorite Oxford eateries.

This week there is a TON to report, so get out your calendars!

(Note: clicking on highlighted names below will take you to relevant pages.)


Pop-Ups Continue January 26: Big Bad Pop-Ups are back at City Grocery. If you missed the one that happened this week, check out the upcoming pop-ups here.

Oxford Voted Best College-Town Food by Thrillist: Last month Oxford was recognized by as having the Best College-Town Food. Luckily, we already knew that!

Now Open: Mr Phat’s Sushi & Wok is now open for lunch and dinner in the back of FINS Fish & Oyster Co., featuring a full lineup of sushi rolls along with a build-your-own wok menu.

Moved: Will Adams has moved and reopened his Indianola Fresh Market to Hwy 6 (between The Links apartments and radio station Q 93.7).

Oxford Art Crawl is Back: The holidays are over and the Oxford Art Crawl is back. Don’t miss the first Crawl of the season on January 27 starting at 6 p.m.

Books & Lunch with Me at the Library: I’m participating in the Books & Lunch program at the Oxford Public Library on February 11 at noon. I’d love it if you came and spent your lunch with me while chatting about–and eating–pizza! See and share the invite here.

New Menu: Snackbar has released its new seasonal menu. Check it out here.

January Wine Pairing at Ravine: Ravine will hold a sparkling wine dinner pairing on January 28. Cost is $35/pp. Call (662) 234-4555 for reservations. There is also talk of Ravine’s brunch expanding from Sunday to both Saturday and Sunday starting in February. Stay tuned.

Update on Pizza Den: Local support is keeping the Whiteakers holding fast. Read more here.

Restaurant Week Starts Sunday: Happening January 25 through January 31, Oxford Restaurant Week will support local restaurants as well as local charities. Visit the Facebook page to find out about all of the participating restaurants and the specials they’ll be offering throughout the week. Don’t miss the Coaches Cook-off January 25th.

Beacon Changes its Hours: After more than five decades in Oxford, the Beacon makes a change to its operating hours. Read more here.

Beer Festival Moves to Square: The 3rd Oxford Craft Beer Festival is moving to the Square and will be held February 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Library Bar & Grill. Additional details available on the Beer Festival Facebook page.

The 2015 Empty Bowls Fundraiser for The Pantry: This annual fundraiser will be held Thursday, February 12, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oxford-University United Methodist Church at 424 S. 10th St. Your $20 donation will support The Pantry and provide you with a ceramic bowl made by a local artist, soup, bread and water.

Construction at Tre Amici: I walked by Tre Amici today and saw a lot of construction going on in the interior. The worker inside said they were doing some remodeling. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome!

Do you have food news you’d like to see featured on our Weekly Update page? Email it to

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Thank You from

thank youI want to take a moment today and thank some of the people who have helped keep going for the last five years.

Just like the Oxford restaurants we promote every day, is also a family-run local business.

For this reason, I’m very thankful to the Oxford restaurant owners and readers who have shown their appreciation over the years for what contributes to the Oxford community. Without them, the site would not have been able to stay online.

What many don’t realize is that most of what you see is orchestrated by one–sometimes two–people. And while may operate out of my home office, there is a long list of business costs involved in keeping it online and active.

So thank you to the following restaurants that have wholeheartedly shown their support for, and to the many others who have donated food and gift cards for our many events and promotions.

  • Rib Cage
  • Proud Larry’s
  • Newk’s
  • TriBecca Allie Cafe
  • Rooster’s Blues House
  • My Michelle’s
  • Tre Amici

You may have noticed that we recently installed a donation button on our posts. I never want anyone to feel uncomfortable or obligated by this button. But if you feel that you’ve gained a better knowledge of Oxford through us, or just appreciate what we do for the Oxford community, every dollar will help to keep us writing. Thank you to those of you who have already used the button to show your support!

If you own a restaurant and want to be part of, contact me directly at or 662-380-6316.

Thank you!

Liz Barrett Foster, publisher/editor





Update on Pizza Den

pizza denBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Much has been written in recent months about the rumored demise of Pizza Den. The restaurant was the first to bring pizza to Oxford in 1966 and has remained a favorite of generations of Ole Miss students, both for its food and for its memories. I’ve always enjoyed Pizza Den; the pizza reminds me of my childhood, which makes sense, since the pizza is typical of what many American pizza parlors used to offer in the 1960s. While I’m partial to the pizza, also worth trying are Pizza Den’s famous sandwiches, including the often-raved-about Stromboli, all served on French bread “imported” from New Orleans.

Last year, it was feared that all of this would soon come to an end at Pizza Den. Unintended financial irregularities led to troubles with the taxman, and the Whiteaker family didn’t know if they could come up with the funds to meet their obligations. They believed that the only solution was to find a buyer for the building and rent the building from them. Many feared that Pizza Den would close forever.

They still have not found a buyer, but, somehow, the Whiteakers have pulled through, even after a scare about a month ago when their assets were frozen. They now think there may be a chance that they can refinance on their own. Business has been good, perhaps even better than before. The family says they had no plan to play their personal tragedy for extra business, but, Oxford being the small community that it is, pulled together to help anyway. Word got out, and generations of Pizza Den fans have turned up to offer support. That support is making a den pizza oxford

Pizza Den has pulled through adversity before. From the brutal and senseless murder of Pizza Den founder, “Pizza Bob” Whiteaker in 1997 to the move in 2005 from the original University Avenue location, the family has worked hard to keep “Pizza Bob’s” dream alive against all obstacles. I’m sure many readers will join with me in hoping they are able to pull through this one as well.

About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and contributes to on a regular basis.

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Consider leaving a tip for the tipster…



Beyond Oxford: SideStreet Burgers, Olive Branch

sidestreet small 4

chef/owner Jonathan Mah

By Liz Barrett (originally printed in eat. drink. Mississippi magazine)

Driving down Highway 178 in Olive Branch, you can’t help but turn into SideStreet Burgers when that all-too-familiar-and-delicious smell of cheeseburgers beckons at your taste buds to stop in for a spell.

Step inside, and you’re greeted by SideStreet’s friendly chef and owner Jonathan Mah, the native Memphian who has sharpened his knives at fine dining restaurants such as Alchemy and Erling Jensen. Here at SideStreet, Mah plays host, chef, and social media director for the small-in-size but big-in-popularity burger hangout, which was voted one of the Best Burgers in Mississippi during its first year, and serves around a hundred customers per day.sidestreet small 1

Highlights of the SideStreet Burgers menu include the Angus ½ pound SideStreet Burger, seasoned to perfection and baked to your liking, with toppings ranging from a Street Cheese Blend to a fried egg, all atop a butter-toasted bun; The Fat Panda, featuring Korean-style marinated sirloin, Sriracha mayo and cilantro on a French roll; and an Irish Carbomb bread pudding, served with whiskey praline sauce.

sidestreet small 2

SideStreet Burger

sidestreet small 3

Fat Panda

In addition to Mah’s standard menu, he also offers a daily list of specials, where he enjoys experimenting and testing new dishes before adding them to the menu. “Some of my specials have been on the board for months,” admits Mah. “If my customers like them, I keep making them.” Mah says he likes to keep things simple, recalling that the original SideStreet menu consisted of two burgers, potato wedges and canned Coke. “I introduced new items only after I had the time to see what I could do in this small space and with these ovens,” says Mah.

It’s this desire to provide good food, at affordable prices, that keeps many SideStreet fans coming back multiple times per week, and others, such as military, fireman, police and teachers, receiving special SideStreet discounts for their service to the community. Customers agree that it’s Mah who makes the restaurant what it is, by sharing his excitement about food and being open to their ideas and suggestions. “I work 70 hours a week, but I’m happy,” says Mah. “I love what I do.”

SideStreet Burgers is located at 9199 Mississippi 178, Olive Branch, Mississippi.


TGIF: snackbar

In our new TGIF feature, we spend a few moments familiarizing you with cocktail/drink menus around Oxford. This week, we take a look at the beverage menu at snackbar (located at 721 North Lamar, next door to Big Bad Breakfast).

Several years ago, my friend Tracy and I started the tradition of going out for drinks every Friday after work. When snackbar opened and we discovered its rotating seasonal cocktail menu–and skilled bartenders like Jayce (now bartending in S. Carolina) and Brian–it became our regular hangout. Because of this, I’ve tried just about every cocktail–if not every cocktail–on the snackbar menu. Don’t read that as me being a lush. It has taken years, and many menu rotations for me to make my way through it, but I’m now able to go in and know which cocktails pack a punch, which are best for sipping over an hour of “girl talk,” and which I can have three of without thinking twice.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at the snackbar winter menu….


Going to snackbar to grab a Bud Light doesn’t make any sense. You have highly skilled bartenders who can make you whatever you can dream up–on or off the menu–so unless you really detest liquor, go the cocktail route.

I also recommend sitting at the bar, if there’s a seat available. There’s an art to crafting a cocktail, and personally, I enjoy watching a drink come together, from the pouring to the mixing to the spices and garnish that finish it off. I compare it to dining in a restaurant with an open kitchen, except you’re watching them craft your drink instead of cook your meal.

The new Chai Bourbon Hot Toddy warms me up on a cold day with its blend of house chai bourbon, local honey, lemon and cinnamon. And usually, if I start out with one type of liquor I’ll stick with it. So from the Chai Bourbon Hot Toddy I may continue with The Mamie, which features peach-infused bourbon, Blue Moon Belgium White and a pickled peach garnish. Whatever I choose, Tracy usually orders something different, which I sample before ordering the next round.


Snackbar’s bar hours are Monday through Saturday 4 p.m. to Midnight and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Have you been to snackbar for a cocktail? Tell us what you recommend in the comments below.


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Oxford Spotlight: Hot

Hot Wangs 003By Danny Toma, staff writer

Don’t bother looking it up on the Worldwide Web; it simply does not exist. Hot owner Chris Jones admits that he has not quite worked out the website bit, he just likes the name. But when the wings are this good, you’ll forgive him for not spending enough time on the computer. Says Jones, “Every order is fresh done. There is no pre-cooking. We don’t start preparing the wings until you order.”

Jones was always close to his mother, and she spent some 40 years cooking in a number of Senatobia locales. Watching her cook, he learned the trade and never considered another career. After working a few years in Memphis, Hot Wangs 001-1he came back home to Senatobia and opened C.J.’s Restaurant in 1996. A slowdown in business after 9/11 caused him to shut down that operation, but a few years later, he opened his dream restaurant, Hot, when a property on Front Street in Senatobia became available.

A little over two years ago, Jones thought the time was right to expand, so he entrusted the Senatobia operation to his brother and opened up his Oxford outpost of Hot (on the hill past the Kroger on University Avenue). Business has been pretty good, says Jones. He gets a lot of student traffic, from Oxford High School and Lafayette High School (the latter is practically around the corner) and also from Ole Miss. In fact, word is that Hot is a popular hang-out for Ole Miss football players.

Hot Wangs 004-1Hot is mostly a take-out place. There is a fair amount of outdoor seating, which is popular when the weather is nice, but most folks prefer to take their wings home. In fact, you don’t even need to show up. Hot will cater your event or come out to your site to make some wings. Just give them a call at (662) 281-1100.

Despite the name, Hot isn’t just wings. The menu also features hamburgers, fish dinners, barbecue bologna, and Philly cheesesteaks. The big seller is still the wings, both the traditional variety and the “boneless wings.”  Fried to perfection, they are then rolled in your choice of some 10 sauces or spice mixtures, with flavors such as “Sweet Heat BBQ” and “Honey Gold” (the latter similar to a South Carolina mustard-based barbecue sauce). For the thrill seekers, they offer “Liquid Hell,” a cayenne-habanero sauce.Hot Wangs 002

Hot is located at 2028 University Avenue and is open Monday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, they are open 11 a.m. until midnight. The restaurant is closed on all Sundays except for one: Super Bowl Sunday – the “wingiest” Sunday of the year.

About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and contributes to on a regular basis.

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Beacon Cuts Back its Hours

Beacon 2By Danny Toma, staff writer

In 1959, Dwight David Eisenhower was in his second term as president. The Ole Miss football team dropped but one game that season (the Halloween night loss to LSU with Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon’s epic 89-yard punt return that was the only visit to the end zone by either team and is remembered to this day by every LSU fan). Johnny Horton, Bobby Darin, and Frankie Avalon were at the top of the charts. “Gigi” won Best Picture at the Oscars that year. A gallon of gas cost 25 cents, and two new states, Alaska and Hawaii, were added to the Union.

The Beacon, now considered Oxford’s oldest restaurant, also opened in 1959, and since day one it’s served up three meals a day to townies and college students alike. One of the appeals of The Beacon has been its utter timelessness. It still looks much like it did when I was at Ole Miss 30 years ago, down to the wallpaper pattern in the back dining room. The food is always exactly like I remember it. It’s not high-toned cuisine, but good, honest, home cooking, with moist, tender fried chicken, hearty slabs of liver and onions, and a breakfast that will stick to your ribs. They also have some of the coldest, crispest salads I’ve ever had – just iceberg lettuce and a few basic ingredients, but quite refreshing, especially when topped with one of their homemade salad dressings (the blue cheese is my favorite).

But change comes even to The Beacon. There have been some subtle ones in the past, like the decision to relent and serve sweet tea, rather than just unsweetened, some years back, as well as the addition of a few more menu items over the years, but the general outline has remained the same. Now that is changing too. Effective immediately, The Beacon will no longer be open for the regular supper crowd, closing its doors at 5:00 pm.beacon 1

Tony Mize, the son of original owner, Flem Mize, says that he hated to inconvenience his regular nighttime customers, but that simple economics led to his decision. The amount of people who come in at night was no longer enough to justify staying open until 9:00 p.m. In short, the restaurant was losing money on the supper set. While closing even earlier, say, at 2:00 p.m., would have probably made the most sense, Mize decided to keep the restaurant open until 5:00 p.m., both to accommodate those who come by in the afternoon to drink coffee, and also for those early diners who like to drop by around 4 p.m.

Mr. Mize assured me that no further changes to The Beacon’s operations are envisioned and he wants to let Oxonians know that The Beacon is here to stay. Closing a bit earlier each day will help to ensure that.

About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and contributes to on a regular basis.

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Big Bad Pop Ups Are Back

big bad pop upsChef John Currence is bringing back another round of Big Bad Pop Ups starting January 19 at City Grocery. This time, proceeds will support University Medical Center Hospital Fund at Batson Children’s Hospital.

The Pop Up calendar will include:

Jan. 19-20: Sleepy Dragon Project

City Grocery Restaurant Group will preview an American-Chinese menu.

Jan. 26-27: Mumbai Mississippi

Chef/owner Asha Gomez of Atlanta’s Spice to Table joins snackbar’s Vishwesh Bhatt to create southern-influenced Indian street food.

Feb. 2-3: Second Line 662

Chef Kelly English previews menu items from his upcoming restaurant Second Line, set to open in Oxford in Spring 2015.

Feb. 9-10: The 132 Foot Journey

Chef/owner Corbin Evans from Oxford Canteen brings a taste of North Mississippi “alley food” to City Grocery.

All dinners begin at 6 p.m. Call 662-232-8080 for more information. Reservations are not accepted.


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