Beyond Oxford: Arcade, Memphis

arcade restaurant memphis 1Memphis, as we all know, is the largest city in Mississippi, despite the technicality of it actually being located across the Tennessee line. For most folks who live north of Grenada, this is our metropolis and the place we go for a taste of big city life, even if these days Oxford can give Memphis more than a run for its money in just about any category of culture, food, or fun.

But as a big river town, Memphis has always had a bit more cosmopolitan feel, especially in the years when there were more hardware and drugstores on Oxford’s Square than bars or restaurants. And one place that seemingly was always there was Arcade, said to be the oldest restaurant in Memphis.

Arcade opened its doors in 1919. As a point of comparison, Oxford’s oldest restaurant, the Beacon, would not be around for another 40 years. By that time, Arcade had already gone through its latest remodeling – the one that characterizes it to this day, with 1950s-style booths and tables, counter stools, and plenty of neon. Despite the changes in interior design, one thing remained constant, and that was the simple, hearty diner food, which is best exemplified by the huge breakfasts on offer – country-fried steaks and gravy, biscuits, eggs, grits, and pancakes of all varieties.arcade restaurant memphis 2

A trip to Arcade is always a special one. We no longer have to go to Memphis for fine dining, as the selections in Oxford are quite numerous (so good in fact that people from Memphis even come to Oxford for what we have to offer). We don’t have to go to Memphis for ethnic cuisine, because in Oxford we can find Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indian, and more. We don’t even have to go to Memphis to get good ribs, because we can even find those in Oxford. But we can’t find the kind of history in Oxford that we can enjoy just by saddling up to the counter at Arcade.

At Arcade we can imagine our country ancestors being both thrilled and a little frightened by the sights of the big city, and then being comforted by a fulfilling meal at an Arcade table. We can picture Ole Miss students of years gone by up for dancing at the Peabody or a night out on the town coming in for an early morning breakfast after a late night out. We can visualize flappers and farmers, singers and sanitation workers, attorneys and artists, towboat pilots and tourists. We can even see Elvis slipping in for a banana and peanut butter sandwich (still on the menu, by the way).

We don’t need Memphis like we used to, but it’s still fun to take a road trip up there from time to time. And when you need a place that feels familiar, even if you’ve never been there, the Arcade is waiting for you, just as it has been for more than 95 years.

Arcade is located at 540 S. Main Street in Memphis and is open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 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 EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.

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TGIF: Tapas Bar

tapas drinks page 1tapas drinks page 2In our new TGIF feature, we’ll spend a few moments familiarizing you with cocktail/drink menus around Oxford. This week, we’re taking a look at the beverage menu at Tapas Bar (located in the former location of Lusa Pastry Cafe at 1120 N. Lamar Blvd.)

Since it is a tapas bar, you’ll find the expected red and white wine sangria; Brazil’s Caipirinha; and a twist on the Brazilian Caipiroska. Additionally, there’s a full wraparound bar offering additional cocktails, wines and beers. You have the option of grabbing a table and some tapas, or saddling up to the bar for a closer look at the liquor offerings.

I’m hoping to see additional sangria selections and Portuguese-inspired cocktails in the future.

Tapas Bar is open Tuesday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday/Saturday 5 p.m. to midnight., Brunch is Sat/Sun 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

–Liz

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Winner List – Oxford’s Best Eats 2014

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A few months ago, we asked EatingOxford.com readers to participate in a 40-question survey to help choose the best in Oxford’s restaurant scene (best burger, catfish, sandwich, shrimp & grits, chef, customer service and more).

The votes have been tallied and the winners are listed below. In addition to finding the list here, you can locate it easily at any time via the “Oxford’s Best Eats” page on EatingOxford.com.

We hope this will inspire you to explore some new restaurants in Oxford; let us know your thoughts about the winner selection in the comments section below.

–Liz

 

Newk’s Eatery

newks banner

  • Best Sandwich
  • Best Soup
  • Best Salad
  • Best for Healthy Eating

My Michelle’s

my michelle

  • Best Catering/Tailgating

Ajax Diner

  • Best Plate Lunch
  • Best Vegetarian Selection
  • Best Country Cooking

Snackbar

  • Best Restaurant
  • Best Restaurant for a Date

Boure

  • Best Customer Service
  • Best Restaurant for Hanging with Friends
  • Best Restaurant for a Business Meeting

Handy Andy

  • Best Burger
  • Best Barbecue

Oxford Grillehouse

  • Best Steaks

Ember’s

  • Best Biscuits

Tre Amici

  • Best Italian

Soulshine Pizza Factory

  • Best Pizza

Tequila’s

  • Best Mexican

Jinsei

  • Best Sushi

Rice & Spice

  • Best Asian

Bottletree Bakery

  • Best Bakery

Big Bad Breakfast

  • Best Breakfast
  • Best Brunch

Popeye’s

  • Best Fried Chicken

John Currence

  • Best Chef
  • Best Restaurateur

Buffalo Wild Wings

  • Best Wings

High Point Coffee

  • Best Coffee

Ya Ya’s

  • Best Frozen Yogurt

City Grocery

  • Best Shrimp & Grits
  • Best Bartender (Chip Moore)
  • Best Bar

Oxford City Farmer’s Market (loop)

  • Best Farmer’s Market

Chick-fil-A

  • Best Fast Food

Lamar Lounge

  • Best Fries

McAlister’s

  • Best Sweet/Unsweet Tea

Chevron 4-Corners chicken on a stick

  • Best Late-Night Snack

Taylor Grocery

  • Best Catfish

 

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Attention restaurant winners: If any of you still need winner certificates, please contact Liz@EatingOxford.com.

 

 

 

Opening Soon: The Wine Bar

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Sunday Liquor Sales Fuel New Brunch Offerings

Photo: infrogmation (Flickr)

Photo: infrogmation (Flickr)

By Katherine Bailey

With the new Sunday alcohol sales in effect, many restaurants in Oxford are opening their doors for brunch and/or drink specials while others are hoping to see some new faces at existing brunches. We’ve compiled the following list to help you navigate Oxford’s Sunday brunch offerings. Let us know if we’ve forgotten your favorite.

 

Sunday Brunch

City Grocery from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Honey Bee Bakery from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Irie from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lenora’s

Locals from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Oxford Grillehouse from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (build-your-own bloody Mary and mimosa bar)

Proud Larry’s from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Ravine from 10:30 to 2 p.m.

Snackbar from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (serving limited Big Bad Breakfast menu)

Tre Amici from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

***Need more details? Check the Eating Oxford Restaurant Guide for restaurant contact info.***

 

7 Things You Need to Know About My Michelle’s

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Be Proud of Your Brunch

proud larrys brunch - sean

By Sean D.

The Proud Larry’s Sunday brunch is another one of those things that I’ve always heard about and somehow managed to miss week after week. I can now proudly say that I’m in the know on this one.

The joys of Proud Larry’s Sunday brunch are two-fold: the food is amazing and there’s no waiting 45 minutes to two hours for a table.

When we went to Proud Larry’s last Sunday, the first thing I noticed was that the place was busy, but still had open tables. Then I heard the Beach Boys playlist and I was sold.

The brunch menu on Sundays is truly something special, with a large selection of omelets, pizzas and other favorites. The Mediterranean omelet was loaded with artichokes, red onion, feta and kalamata olives inside astonishingly fluffy eggs. It was refreshing to have an omelet filled with such fresh, light ingredients.

proud larrys brunch 2 - seanWe also tried the Larry Benedict with its Tabasco hollandaise and crispy sausage. It was a unique interpretation of a classic that was perfectly complimented by the accompanying cheese grits and biscuit.

Overall, I thought that the Proud Larry’s brunch was perfectly executed, laid back, and well priced. It’s a great spot for Sunday brunch regardless of whether you’re stopping in after church or nursing a 5-alarm hangover.

Have you tried it yet? Where else do you recommend for Sunday brunch?

–Sean

 

Honey Bee Bakery Halts Dinner Service for Summer

For the next six weeks or so, Honey Bee Bakery will not be offering dinner service, according to Honey Bee chef Sean Adams. The restaurant will resume normal dinner hours once school starts back up in the fall.

In the meantime, you can still find baked goods from Honey Bee at the Oxford City Market each Tuesday, and the restaurant’s open hours will be as follows:

 

Tuesday-Friday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (serving lunch 11-2)

Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (serving brunch 8-2)

Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for brunch/bakery

Oxford Grillehouse Menu

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Remember Mom this Sunday!

mom and me

Me and my awesome mom!

With all of the commotion of Ole Miss graduation this Saturday, don’t let it slip your mind that Mom’s day is on Sunday. Take some time out to celebrate the wonderful woman in your life who has given you so much!

The restaurants around Oxford will be bustling with activity, and Mother’s Day is also one of the “Select Sundays” in Oxford when you can treat mom to an alcoholic beverage of her choice.

While most restaurants will be first-come-first-serve, I’d suggest calling ahead if you have your heart set on taking mom to her favorite place; some restaurants will be accepting reservations, and a few are even organizing special brunches:

The Inn at Ole Miss Mother’s Day Brunch – seatings at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. (reservations required by Thursday at noon - click for more info)

Lenora’s Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (see event page)

Let me know if you’ve heard of any other Mother’s Day events and I’ll add them to the list.

 

 

 

 

Free Pancakes at IHOP Tuesday, Feb. 5

ihop

For the eighth year in a row, IHOP is celebrating National Pancake Day by offering its guests a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes on Tuesday, February 5, from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.

For every short stack served, IHOP guests are invited to make a voluntary donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Donations made in the Oxford area will benefit the program at Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center. IHOP hopes to raise $3 million this year, with an overall goal of more than $13 million.

For more information, or to donate online, visit www.ihoppancakeday.com

Game Weekend Sunday Brunch at Char Grille

 

Char Grille at 1518 Jackson Avenue is introducing Sunday brunch on Ole Miss game Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. starting this weekend. Thanks to new local laws that allow liquor to be served on special holiday and game-day-weekend Sundays, you’ll be able to enjoy mimosas and bloody mary’s along with your meal as well.

Brunch menu items include selections ranging from Shrimp and Crawfish Creamy Etouffee Smothered Biscuits to Bourbon and Banana Bread Pudding served French Toast Style.

See the complete menu above or call Char Grill for more information at 662-701-8285.

Old-Fashioned Grocery in Water Valley

When you’re in the mood for a lazy drive away from the Square, consider the quaint little grocery called The B.T.C. just up the road at 301 N. Main St. in Water Valley.

According to co-owner Alexe van Beuren, The B.T.C. is first and foremost a grocery, but it also houses a small, informal cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, and breakfast all day on Sunday. Breakfast highlights include housemade sausage gravy and grits, while lunch features an array of soups, salads, and sandwiches. It may be a simple menu, but Alexe says it’s made with love by Dixie Grimes (former head chef at Oxford’s Downtown Grille). Dixie also makes the grocery’s deli spreads; salads, such as watermelon feta; and frozen casseroles and entrees.

B.T.C. also stocks deli salads such as Tex-Mex pimento cheese and hand-pulled chicken salad; take-home casseroles (think hoop and havarti macaroni, jalapeno grits); and deli meats and cheeses that are sliced daily. Have a sweet tooth? Cora is on hand creating fried pies, chocolate buttermilk cake and other decadent treats.

The cafe is informal, with a playhouse for children, and affordable pricing, including some $2 sandwiches and a full-plate breakfast (eggs, bacon, biscuit and grits) for $5.99.

According to Alexe, the grocery carries several items not found anywhere else in the state, such as Eduardo’s handmade pasta from San Francisco. And B.T.C. Grocery offers delivery service to Oxonians who can’t make the trip to Water Valley, meeting customers at the local Garden Center on Fridays (same prices as if you had driven to Water Valley and shopped yourself).

B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery on Urbanspoon

New Chef and Menu at Colonel's Quarters

If you haven’t been out to Colonel’s Quarters at Castle Hill lately, the restaurant recently hired Lauren Lanza, the chef from Yocona in Exile. She’s brought a new menu to Colonel’s Quarters, with items such as fried goat cheese salad, braised short rib grilled cheese, butternut squash lasagna and pan-roasted salmon.

Brunch is available from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the kitchen is open until 9:00 p.m. and the lounge is open til midnight. Colonel’s Quarters also has resort status, so the bar is always open on Sundays.

 

New Menus at Lusa Pastry Cafe

Lusa Pastry Cafe has introduced updated menus for breakfast and lunch, which include new sandwiches and a daily soup menu.

The newly expanded restaurant and Portuguese bakery is open Tuesday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

A new Facebook group page has also been setup here.

Lusa on Urbanspoon