Panera to Showcase Local Artists

benny melton

Artwork: Benny Melton

I ran into local artist Benny Melton yesterday at High Point Coffee who passed along some exciting news.

The new Panera Bread opening on Jackson Avenue will be featuring Melton’s artwork alongside several other Oxford artists in the future.

It’s always great to hear about a new restaurant integrating itself into the community this way, and I’m looking forward to checking out the gallery of artwork when Panera opens its doors.



Oxford’s New Restaurants

new restaurantsSummertime in Oxford means hot weather and lots of new restaurants! Get the latest scoop with this quick round up….

New Openings

Starbucks is now open at 1804 Jackson Avenue.

The Wine Bar at 401 S. Lamar is open for business.

Sweet T’s Bakery opened in the Papa John’s shopping center on Jackson Avenue

Coming Soon

Krystal is slated to be added to the Exxon on Hwy 6

Wingstop is getting close to completion next door to Rice & Spice on Jackson Avenue

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is nearing completion at 306 S. Lamar

England Dan’s is under construction in the former location of Bistro Burger

Panera is scheduled to open in September on Jackson Avenue

TriBecca Allie Cafe in Sardis is working on opening a coffee/dessert shop next door to the pizzeria

Ron Shapiro has plans to reopen his Hoka/Main Squeeze concept as Hoka, Also, in the former Renasant Bank just off the Square

Mesquite Chop House has been approved for buildout at 1001 E. Jackson Avenue

Nashville-based burger restaurant The Slider House has its eyes on an Oxford location

Ming’s Kitchen is opening next door to England Dan’s in the Walmart shopping center on Jackson Avenue.

The Growler, a craft beer bar serving steamed subs will open soon next to High Point Coffee on the Square.

An outpost of Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina and Boneheads (grilled fish/piri piri chicken) are planned for the new Highland Court project being constructed in the old Cannon Motors location on Jackson Avenue.


Next Eating Oxford Institute: Family Cooking Night

The next Eating Oxford Institute class on Tuesday, August 12, invites families (max 4 people) to create a family supper with the help of Sunny Young of Good Food for Oxford Schools. Get all of the details here, and pre-order tickets early as seating is limited to 10 families.


Honeymoon Food Photos. May Induce Hunger.

Benjy and I are back from our honeymoon to London and southern Ireland, and as you can imagine, the food was amazing!

We kicked things off here in Oxford with a ceremony at Colonel’s Quarters at Castle Hill and reception next door to Tribecca Allie Cafe (yes, delicious pizza and cakes by Dutch and Becca were had by all!).

 liz and benjy reception

And while our meals from overseas are thousands of miles from Oxford, Mississippi, I couldn’t help but think about how fun it would be to have some of these foods available in our own town back home. Who knows, maybe you’ll see some of them at a future event.

Here are just a few of the photos we took. If you aren’t already hungry, you will be.

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Fish and chips near Oxford Street in London

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Tapas at a champagne bar overlooking London

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Breakfast at a local diner in London

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Afternoon tea!

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Seafood stew in Killiney, Ireland

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Cappuccino at Buckingham Palace

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Pizza in Cork, Ireland

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Krystal Coming to Oxford

krystal logoIt was just a rumor a couple of years ago. Now the Krystal rumor has been confirmed.

After getting a tip from Eating Oxford fan Jerrod Ham on Twitter, we traced the info back to Exxon on Highway 6 to confirm that the station got the OK on July 18 to add a Krystal burger restaurant to the gas station.

No completion date has been released as of yet, but you can follow the progress on the Oxford Exxon Twitter page here.



Oxford’s 11 Best Patios (Oxford Citizen column from July 10)

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New Restaurant Replaces Bistro Burger

england dans smallHave you spotted the new sign on the now closed Bistro Burger at 2580 West Jackson Avenue, Suite 30?

Looks like a restaurant called England Dan’s Char-Steaks & Grill is planning to open in the spot.

From what we saw today, there’s a few weeks to go before opening, and we’ve been unable to locate contact information for the new owner, who we believe is named Mike Salts.

If you have any information, contact us at and we’ll help spread the word.


Coming Soon: Mesquite Chop House

mesquite chopThe Courthouse Square Historic Preservation Commission recently approved an application to open a Mesquite Chop House at 1001 E. Jackson Avenue.

The application, submitted by Blake Tartt III, who is currently completing construction of a Starbucks on W. Jackson Avenue, would involve adding a one-story addition to the rear of the building as well as various exterior modifications for accessibility and outdoor seating. View the full plans/application here.

According to historical records, the building once served as office space for lawyer and author John Grisham during the 1980s and early 1990s.

Mesquite Chop House is a steak and seafood restaurant with locations in Memphis, Germantown, and Southaven. They are part of the River City Management Group of restaurants, which also includes Spindini, Rum Boogie Cafe, and others.

Coming Soon: Wingstop

wing stop picA sign for an upcoming Wingstop restaurant recently went up on the Kiamie’s Coin Laundry at 1518 Jackson Avenue (big thanks to Antonio Barragan, owner of Bim Bam Burgers for letting us know, and providing the photo!).

Construction will likely take a few months, as the franchisee is also opening locations in Tupelo and Starkville, with Oxford being the final one scheduled for completion.

The Dallas-based Wingstop restaurant chain was started in 1994 and now has more than 600 locations offering regular and boneless wings with a choice of 10 flavors and a number of sides. See the Wingstop website for more information and a complete menu.


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New Thai Restaurant Now Open

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Photo: Urbanspoon

Pick Thai has opened in the former location of Bangkok Thai at 1101 Frontage Road inside the Days Inn.

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Photo: Urbanspoon

While efforts to contact the owners have been unsuccessful, there’s an Urbanspoon page that’s been set up, showing a menu, which includes items such as traditional curry dishes; rice plates; noodles; fried rice; salads; appetizers; entrees; soups and desserts.

Pick Thai is open Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Closed on Sundays. For more information, call 662-380-5428.



Opening Soon: The Wine Bar

SAMSUNGOxford has been abuzz over the Wine Bar signs that went up recently on the former location of Emileigh’s/Roasted at 401 South Lamar Boulevard.

With everyone wondering what this potential hot spot will offer, 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 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.


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Winner Announcement: Oxford’s Best Eats Survey

gift certificate prizeThank you to everyone who participated in the 2014 Oxford’s Best Eats survey.

We received hundreds of responses, and are in the process of tallying the votes, which will be revealed in early June.

Today though, we want to congratulate the winner of $50 in Oxford restaurant gift certificates–Charlene Baker!

Charlene was chosen randomly from all those who took the survey, and will receive five $10 gift certificates, one each from Newk’s, Rib Cage, Proud Larry’s, Tre Amici and My Michelle’s.

Congratulations to Charlene, and thank you, once again, to all those who participated!

–The Team



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Daily Restaurant Spotlights on Facebook

featured restaurant bannerLast week we started a new feature on the Facebook page. Each day we spotlight a different Oxford restaurant and ask you to share your feedback about the food, atmosphere, service and more.

It’s a great way to show support for your favorite restaurants while helping others find a new place to try!

Check out our first six spotlights and click the restaurant name to see what folks had to say about them on Facebook!

Daily Restaurant Spotlight 001: Petra Café
Located at 1101 E. Jackson Ave., Petra Café offers a full line-up of Mediterranean appetizers, salads, wraps, entrees and desserts. Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sundays for lunch and late night Thursday through Saturday. 662-234-1110

Daily Restaurant Spotlight 002: Beacon
Located at 1200 N. Lamar Blvd., Beacon is an Oxford institution, serving up down-home comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. 662-234-5041

Daily Restaurant Spotlight 003: Rib Cage
Located at 311 S. Lamar Blvd., Rib Cage is a local favorite for ribs, barbecue quesadillas and hanging out with friends after the game. Open for lunch, dinner and late-night imbibing at the upstairs or downstairs bars. 662-238-2929

Daily Restaurant Spotlight 004: Newk’s
With two locations in Oxford, one on University Ave., and the other on Jackson Ave., Newk’s is able to cover sandwich, soup, salad and pizza cravings on both sides of town. Open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, Newk’s is also great for your grab-and-go and catering needs. 662-513-5303 or 662-238-2727

Daily Restaurant Spotlight 005: My Michelle’s
Recently expanded to offer a sit-down buffet restaurant with daily breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, My Michelle’s offers something for everyone, whether you’re in the mood for something decadent, healthy, or a little of both. The popular Freezer Sales will keep you coming back to stock up on to-go casseroles, dips and salads for parties and nights you don’t feel like cooking. Open 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday for the buffet, and a couple hours later during the week for freezer purchases. 1308 N. Lamar, Ste. 4; 662-236-1512

Daily Restaurant Spotlight 006: Tre Amici
Located at 1107 E. Jackson Avenue, Tre Amici’s chef Richard Traylor whips up popular Italian fare ranging from rigatoni pasta to chicken Marsala and eggplant piccata every Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. The new Sunday brunch offers $10 rotating specials along with a $4 Bloody Mary, mimosa and margarita. 662-232-1923

Visit our Facebook page every day to see the latest Restaurant Spotlight.


Cajun Food Truck Rolls into Oxford

dats cajunThere’s a Sardis, MS-based food truck that recently started visiting the Farmer’s Market on North Lamar every Wednesday and Saturday for lunch starting at 11:00 a.m.

Dat’s Cajun Cookin’ serves up items such as gumbo; blackened or fried chicken and shrimp wraps; Creole burritos; jambalaya and Calas (fried rice fritters). Credit and debit cards are accepted according to the Facebook page.

Check it out the next time you’re at the Farmer’s Market.




A Personal Letter from Abner White


Photo: Abner’s

A lot of rumors have been floating around about Abner’s since the April 8 article about the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In response, Abner’s owner Abner White wants to set the record straight, noting misinformation in the original Daily Mississippian article.

In a personal letter sent to, White goes into detail about what is actually happening with the company and which stores are affected.

Read the full, unedited letter from White below:

Last week, Abner’s Famous Chicken Tenders received front page coverage in the Daily Mississippian. Normally, we would be elated, but the story communicated erroneous facts related to a bankruptcy that is affecting just one of our companies, and not our entire chain as reported. As a result, numerous other regional publications in the state simply picked up the inaccurate story without contacting me for the correct information, further spreading completely false information about our company. I’m writing this letter to set the record straight.

First and foremost, each Abner’s location is under separate ownership. Abner’s Inc., although it sounds all encompassing, owns only two restaurants in Oxford, MS. Abner’s Inc. is this company that filed for Chapter 11 protection due to difficulty in working out a deal with a bank. Chapter 11 protection simply allows us time to restructure debt and work through issues with this creditor. Abner’s of Starkville Inc, Abner’s of Tupelo LLC, Abner’s of Cordova LLC, and Abner’s of Brandon LLC are not involved in the bankruptcy in any way. However, the headline read “Abner’s files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection” and went on to name every Abner’s location.

Secondly, as a proud and long-time member of the Ole Miss family, it is important that I express my concern over this reporting that could have an everlasting and negative impact on my business. Abner’s was founded in Oxford in 1993, following my graduation from Ole Miss and we have proudly gone on to become a popular brand in Mississippi.  North Mississippi is our home! I believe that local editorial staffs should have taken greater care to more thoroughly understand the facts before running such a high profile story. The publicity my company has received as a result of the articles that have run misrepresenting the facts could potentially shut the doors of all of my businesses.  While a small clarification did run the next day, the damage had been done.

Above all else, my main goal with this letter remains to inform the public of the truth and to alleviate any confusion in this matter. The Abner’s chain of restaurants has not declared bankruptcy. None of our stores are closing. None of our employees are in danger of losing their jobs. We are here to stay in Oxford and at every other Abner’s location.

If you haven’t been to an Abner’s lately, we would love to see you again! I can say with confidence that your experience will be good with friendly service and fresh food. Our general managers are excellent and are working to build top-notch Abner’s teams that are courteous, caring and that take great pride in their work. We are taking steps every day to get back to the basics and get better at everything we do. We hope to see you again soon and your comments are always welcome at

Abner White
Abner’s Famous Chicken Tenders


VOTE: Oxford’s Best Eats 2014

SAMSUNGIt’s finally here! A reader poll that focuses solely on Oxford’s restaurants!

Oxford’s Best Eats 2014, presented by, lets you vote on your favorite burger, catfish, sandwich, shrimp & grits, chef and more.

The quick 40-question, write-in survey will reveal Oxford’s best and brightest in Oxford’s 2014 restaurant scene.

Click here to take the survey. Voting ends on May 15, 2014.

One winner will be chosen at random from all participants to win $50 in Oxford restaurant gift cards.