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Turns out the bar is currently undergoing a remodel, so we checked in with executive partner/co-founder/manager Seth Klein for the inside scoop.
EatingOxford.com: How long has The Cellar been open and why have you decided to remodel?
Seth: The bar itself has been around since 2007, but in early 2012 the decision was made to venture away from the Cellar theme and it was turned into McCarthy’s Irish Pub. After much deliberation, we decided that McCarthy’s was not a good fit and we wanted to bring the Cellar back due to the success it had previously. Therefore, we decided it would be best to give the bar a whole new look and feel instead of just changing the name.
EatingOxford.com: What changes will be made during the remodel?
Seth: The entire bar is undergoing a remodel. We are adding new flooring and seating as well as making multiple changes throughout, which will help bring the feel of an upscale martini lounge to the historic Oxford square.
EatingOxford.com: How long will the remodel take?
Seth: About one month. The remodel is scheduled for completion in early to mid-August 2014.
EatingOxford.com: Will The Levee be affected at all?
Seth: The Levee will not be affected. The Cellar is closed until the remodel is complete, but the Levee is open for business as usual.
EatingOxford.com: Will the menus at the Cellar change after the remodel?
Seth: Yes. The overall goal is to focus on great martinis and great cocktails. Our martini menu and specialty drink menu will offer a wide variety of new and exciting beverages to enjoy. We plan to use fresh juices and fruits as well for many of the drinks we are adding to our menu. We also have plans to add new beers, some of which will be catered to customers trying to live a little healthier. We also plan to add a bunch of great items to our food menu.
With everyone wondering what this potential hot spot will offer, EatingOxford.com intern Leah Hawkins tracked down Lee Valentine and family along with manager and partner, Kevin Brooks, who are busily preparing for a mid-summer opening.
Read on to find out why the foursome chose to set up shop in Oxford, and how the restaurant’s unique offerings will help to set The Wine Bar apart from other bars and restaurants on The Square.
Leah at EatingOxford.com: Why did you choose to open The Wine Bar in Oxford?
The Valentines: As Ole Miss Alumni, and long-time supporters of the Oxford community, we feel like The Oxford Square is a quintessential southern destination for shopping, eating and nightlife. We wanted to add to the sophistication and charm of The Square by bringing it something unique and different.
Partnering with manager Kevin Brooks was the first step in making this dream a reality. Kevin brings years of experience in managing restaurants, country clubs, and wine & spirits shops. He’s a certified whisky expert and is equally knowledgeable when it comes to wine, having been a student of wines of the world for the better part of a decade.
What is The Wine Bar exactly? Is it a bar/lounge? What will the atmosphere be like?
The Wine Bar is a bar and restaurant with a 1920s, speakeasy feel—something that is very unique to the Square. We want our guests to be able to experience everything a bar and restaurant has to offer, combined with an upscale, elegant aesthetic reminiscent of a bygone era. The low-key yet sophisticated atmosphere will allow patrons to enjoy conversation in a relaxed, welcoming environment.
What types of wine will you offer?
The Wine Bar will offer a very eclectic array of wines from all over the world. We are going to focus on the very best grapes from the best regions, which can change seasonally or annually. Our selection of wines will truly run the gamut. We have relationships with some of the top wine providers and will have access to exclusive wines that you will only find at The Wine Bar.
Will The Wine Bar serve food?
Yes. We are privileged to feature executive chef John Burge (you may know him from his work at Lenora’s). He brings with him decades of experience cooking as well as teaching food and wine classes all over the United States. He’s been instrumental in helping us craft our food vision. We believe that wine should dictate the dish, so as our wine offerings evolve, so will our menu.
Every wine region in the world has food indigenous to its area, so we will recreate that, or at least, pay homage to it. Our menu will generally feature small plates and tapas-style items, but won’t be limited to those barriers. Each dish will be prepared from the freshest local ingredients. We are dedicated to supporting local farms and our food will be an inspired farm-to-table experience.
Will The Wine Bar offer beer?
Despite what our name may suggest, we are much more than just wine. In addition to favorite domestic and imported beers, our guests will be able to enjoy the best ales, pilsners, lagers, and stouts the country has to offer, with a focus on supporting the many micro-brews from around the South. Like our wines and whiskeys, our beer selection will change seasonally to provide the best and freshest beers available.
What about specialty scotches, etc.?
Yes, keeping with the theme of varied and unique drink offerings, our whisky concentration will include all the regional Scotch whiskeys such as Speysides, Highlands and Islay styles. We’ll also carry the malted whiskeys of Japan, Canada, and the U.S. Irish whiskeys and American Ryes are a special offering to show how far American whiskeys have come. And, we’ll of course offer Bourbons—be it Kentucky or West Coast, we’ll have them at The Wine Bar.
Will you offer wine flights for those wanting to sample wines?
Yes. We will have wine, whiskey, and beer flights along with flights/samplers of certain food items.
Will private parties be accommodated at The Wine Bar?
Yes, absolutely. The Wine Bar is the perfect venue for private events of all sizes. We will also have a room called “The Cellar” that will specialize in smaller private events for up to 16 people and there are plans to possibly add another private room in the future.
Can we look forward to any special events such as wine tastings, wine and food pairings, etc.?
Yes! We will have special events of all kinds, ranging from fun wine, beer, whisky, and food tastings to engaging wine classes for those who want to expand on a beverage and food experience. The best part about our events will be their accessibility. They will cater not only to the casual enthusiast but also to the most obsessed connoisseur.
What will your business hours be?
We plan to be open seven days a week from noon to 1:00 a.m. (or midnight depending on the day). On Sundays, we will likely open early for wine and champagne-paired brunches.
There’s always something going on at Proud Larry’s; whether it’s chef Jon Myrick whipping up his latest specials in the kitchen; bartenders pouring the newest craft beers from the taps; or a band setting up on stage for a waiting Ole Miss crowd. This constant flurry of activity is just part of what has kept Proud Larry’s at 211 South Lamar a local favorite for the past 20 years.
Recent activity at Larry’s includes the introduction of a new menu, which is just days away from debuting. Jon Myrick tells EatingOxford.com that, among other drool-inducing items, there will be a chili dog that’s braised in beer and topped with black bean chili (stay tuned for the full menu announcement).
In order to fully understand the diversity of Proud Larry’s, just walk past it on a weekday afternoon, a Friday night or a Sunday morning. You’ll find lunch crowds enjoying the outdoor patio on a sunny day, families gathering for brunch on Sundays, and music lovers piling in to see popular bands on a weekend night.
In a college town like Oxford, co-owner Scott Caradine understands that in order to keep a business running during slow summer months, you must diversify. So even though Proud Larry’s originally started in 1993 as a bar where you could get pizza and hear live music, over the years the menu and space have expanded in order to cater to his customer’s needs and wants. “We wouldn’t be here today without the support of Oxford locals and students,” says Scott. “We’ve done a really high volume of food over the years, and it’s thanks to the great staff and management who care and understand that it’s about the whole experience for the customer.”
Today, in addition to the popular pizza, you can find appetizers, salads, sandwiches, calzones, and a full kid’s menu, including the following menu favorites.
Fried Larry: mozzarella sticks, toasted ravioli, fried mushrooms
Lobster Nachos: Chilled lobster knuckle salad, avocado salsa, and Sriracha sour cream on house-fried corn tortillas
Fat Larry Pizza: Italian sausage, beef, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, peppers, onions, mushrooms, black olives and mozzarella
Basket of Fries: Fresh-cut Idaho potatoes, deep fried and seasoned with Larry’s Original Fry Spice (same recipe since 1993)
Larry Burger: 8 oz. seasoned certified Angus beef grilled to order, served on a whole wheat bun with mayo and creole mustard, lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickle on the side
Larry’s Creole Catfish Sandwich: Creole seasoned pan-fried Mississippi catfish filet on Gambino’s French bread with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle and Larry’s remoulade sauce on the side
Shrimp & Grits: Sauteed Gulf shrimp, tasso ham, andouille sausage, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and scallions in a spicy creole cream sauce on Mississippi Grit Girl cheese grits
“We make almost everything from scratch, including our pizza dough, sauce, meatballs, fry spice and more,” says Scott. “When people think of Proud Larry’s, I want them to think about our fun, laid-back, family friendly environment and our high-quality, fresh food.”
Daily Lunch Specials
- Any lunch-portion pasta with salad and drink for $9.95
- Featured pizza slice of the day, cheese, pepperoni, BBQ chicken or Fat Larry with salad and drink for $8.95
In addition to the specials above, chef Jon creates a new lunch and dinner entrée special each day, ranging from crab cakes to Carolina barbecue pork sandwich to pork with caramelized onions and more. The Blue Cheese Cole Slaw was a hit a few weeks back, and Jon is sharing his recipe with us below.
Proud Larry’s Blue Cheese Cole Slaw
Recipe courtesy of Jon Myrick
- 1 3-lb. bag shredded cabbage/carrots/purple cabbage
- 1 c. mayonnaise
- 2 c. blue cheese crumbles
- ¼ c. green onions
- ½ c. sugar
- Hot sauce, to taste
- Worcestershire sauce, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients to combine. Pairs well with pulled pork.
So whether you’re new to Oxford or have lived here your whole life, there’s always something you haven’t seen or tried happening at Proud Larry’s. And if there’s a special dish you fall in love with, try asking Jon for the recipe; you may get lucky.
Last night the Oxford Board of Aldermen voted 6 to 1 to approve Sunday alcohol sales.
The ordinance change will go into effect in 30 days, at which time all restaurants and bars will be able to serve alcohol on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturdays closing times will NOT be affected.
The Rib Cage has been serving up lip-smacking ribs and finger-licking sauces since 2003, but I bet there are a few things you still don’t know about this Oxford institution.
Let’s test your knowledge with the 8 fun facts below…how many do you know?
- The original Rib Cage opened in Pickwick, Tennessee, in 1987 and is still open.
- Buck Walden, the owner of Oxford’s Rib Cage, bought the Tupelo, Mississippi, outpost of the Rib Cage in 1997, which he ran until 2006 and then closed to focus on his Oxford location.
- You can find pocketbook-friendly specials such as 2-for-1 ribs, nachos, and quesadillas running Monday through Thursday at Rib Cage.
- There are 11 secret spices in the Rib Cage dry rub (also known as “dust” to those in the know).
- The ribs at the Cage are smoked at 275 degrees over a 50/50 mix of hickory and charcoal.
- While Ole Miss students love the upstairs and downstairs bars, the restaurant is also very family friendly, known for having some of the most kid-requested grilled cheese, hot dogs and cheese sticks (not fried) in Oxford.
- The ribs can be shipped anywhere in the country overnight.
- The restaurant’s BBQ Quesadilla has developed a huge Oxford fan following, causing a tortilla shortage on some nights!
So, how did you do? Did you get them all correct?
If you haven’t been to Rib Cage lately, here are some additional tips:
- The upstairs is open 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (M-F), 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and has a casual, family-friendly restaurant atmosphere.
- The downstairs is open 4:00 p.m. until close Monday through Saturday andhas a bar feel. Food is also served downstairs.
- Menu favorites include the BBQ quesadilla, cheese plate, ribs, barbecue nachos, and Rib Cage melt. See the full menu here.
- Catering is available seven days a week. More info here.
Sky 9 Interactive Studios opened on December 19, offering food, tournaments, special events and a gaming lounge, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Brothers Kendric and Cameron Smith opened the restaurant after moving from Oxford to Florida and being inspired by the food in the Sunshine State. They brought their ideas back to Oxford and opened Sky 9 Interactive Studios at 14 Thacker Loop (just off Hwy 6 near Jackson Ave.)
The menu includes items such as Florida cheese steak, bourbon chicken flatbread, North Miami hot wings and a tropical island quesadilla.
Hours are Monday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday Brunch 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. For more information, call 662-234-2449.
It can sometimes become overwhelming to imagine cooking a 10-pound turkey with all the fixings and then have everyone gobble it up in 20 minutes, leaving you a mess of dishes and pans that take two hours to clean up while everyone else watches the game.
Well, relief is not far away, as several places around Oxford can cater your Thanksgiving and save you the stress and headache that for some accompanies an otherwise wonderful gathering of friends and family.
Below is a list of locations that will cook for you and let you pass off the wonderful meal as your own (I know, you’d never do that). Be sure to call soon as most restaurants and catering companies need you to pre-order early.
Feel like skipping the gathering all together? That’s OK, too! Head over to The Library Sports Bar where they’ll be watching the game and enjoying free turkey with all the fixings.
Really not feeling turkey this year at all? There’s always somewhere to go. Buffalo Wild Wings will have a full menu and all of the TVs set to any game you want to watch.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you have a wonderful time doing EXACTLY what you want to do!
With the new smoker will also come an expanded patio and new menu items such as Smoked BBQ nachos, Beef Brisket, BBQ quesadillas and Jumbo BBQ sandwiches. I bet this could be one of the hottest patios on the Square after it’s finished.
If you’ve already tried the Back Alley BBQ at Round Table on the Square, please tell us what you thought!
(Note: This post was edited after learning that Round Table was not changing its name, but rather, adding Back Alley BBQ to the back patio.)
The event will celebrate the restaurant’s national renovation with a new look, feel and menu.
A $10 admission (all proceeds benefit The Baddour Center) will get you two drink tickets (including a choice of nearly 100 beers) and access to a buffet of new and signature Fox & Hound menu items, including Baked Pretzel Stix, Extreme Mac & Cheese, Fish & Chips, Drunken Chicken Tenders and more.
Click here for location and contact information.
If you’ve been on the Facebook page lately, you’ve already been introduced to our new contributors Sean and Betty. We’re very excited to have them on the EatingOxford.com team. They’ll be helping to bring you even MORE Oxford food news. Below is an article about The Blind Pig from Sean. Enjoy!
By Sean D.
The Blind Pig is one of those places that few people in the Ole Miss freshman dorms know about, and there’s something to be said for that. The restaurant is perfectly secluded, but always packed.
Coming to Ole Miss, and not having visited much before, the Blind Pig is really a place that someone in the know has to show you. I remember going there for the first time sophomore year and walking down into that cool basement-like atmosphere and knowing that they had something special going on. Now, there’s not much I enjoy more than heading there to sample one of the many beers on tap before committing to something on their extensive menu.
Speaking of the menu, it’s really hard to go wrong here. The sandwich selection couldn’t have come from anyone but a ravenously hungry food genius. The Blind Pig holds nothing back when loading up everything they can think of on its sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and bar food specialties.
The standard hot dog comes topped with jalapeños, onions and mustard, but why stop there when you can get the one loaded with chili, cheese, onions, tomatoes and jalapeños? Whatever sandwiches and bar snacks you crave, your fix can be found at the Blind Pig.
I consistently find myself staring down the Cosby’s Killer Club. It has everything that makes a normal club delicious (crispy bacon, fresh deli meat, lettuce, lightly cooked red onions) plus honey mustard and the Blind Pig’s homemade chips. The chips that come on the sandwich give it a nice crunch that perfectly compliments the warm deli meat and bacon. You pair that with their sourdough hoagies and you’ve got a masterpiece.
The Blind Pig’s bar prides itself on the selection of craft beer it keeps on tap, and with beer flights for only $5.00 on Wednesdays, it’s hard not to take advantage. Ask the staff to suggest something for you if it’s overwhelming. I always ask servers to surprise me when trying beer flights because I undoubtedly get something I wouldn’t have tried otherwise, and fall in love with it. There are plenty of places on the square to get a cocktail, but the Blind Pig is the best place to find a great craft beer while snacking on some homemade Greek chips.
Overall, the Blind Pig is a laid-back experience with great food and friendly servers. I rarely turn down an opportunity to go, and I’ve never been let down. Get out there and try it for yourself and send us your feedback and pictures!
(Find location and menu information for The Blind Pig here.)
Everyone’s been talking about the new Delta Steak Company that’s slated to open in the former location of Fat Cat’s out on College Hill, so last week I went to visit the chef/owner Allen Sanders to get the scoop on what he’s got planned for the new restaurant.
“I’ve been planning this restaurant for six years,” said Sanders, speckled in white paint. “Every time I got an idea or saw a design I liked, I added it to a file on my computer. Now I’m finally ready to bring all of those ideas to life.”
Those ideas start with a menu that focuses on quality, locally sourced ingredients, including some of the best beef Sanders can find, cut and dry-aged in house for 22 days; local seafood; house-made dressings; Delta hot tamales and more.
Sanders is also paying special attention to the bar, bringing in his brother Christian, an award-winning bartender from New York, to design the wine and cocktail program and train the head bartender Nature Humphries. “We’ll offer some drinks that you can’t get anywhere else in Oxford,” said Sanders. “I’d like the restaurant to be a destination that people come to for dinner and stay at for the rest of the evening.”
You might be surprised to discover that you’ve tried one of Sanders’ steaks before. Prior to venturing out on his own, he was a regular fixture at Olivia’s Corner Market in Taylor, and before that, he worked for The Inn at Ole Miss and Aramark. Back when he was still living in the Delta, Sanders was kitchen manager at The Bourbon Mall, a steakhouse in the middle of a cotton field.
Once Delta Steak Company opens, in approximately a month, the restaurant will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. until close. Steaks and seafood will be in the $20 to $30 range, and vegetarians will be accommodated upon request.
Soon after the opening, Sanders and his wife Erin hope to bring in Delta-style live music, offer packages for tailgating, and possibly open for Sunday brunch. For today though, Sanders is just excited when the paint dries the correct color.
Follow the progress of the restaurant’s opening on its Facebook page here.
It turns out that Two Stick is in the process of moving locations and hiring new management. You can find them working on the new location behind The Lyric, which was formerly inhabited by Hullabaloo, and before that, Red House.
No opening date has been announced. Follow the progress on the Two Stick Facebook page here.
You may have heard about Oxford’s Lamar Lounge being featured on the new Travel Channel show Burger Land with host George Motz.
The episode, called “Ole Miss Burgers,” is officially airing on Monday, May 20, at 8:00 p.m. and again at 11:00 p.m.
If you miss it then, it’s scheduled to run twice more on Wednesday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 23, at 2:30 a.m.
In order to avoid salivating in front of the television set, I’d suggest grabbing a burger before the episode begins.