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, EatingOxford.com 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 www.oxfordmsrestaurantweek.com 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.

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 thegrowleroxford@gmail.com.

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 EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.

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Oxford Food News: Jan. 21

eating oxford weekly updateThis is EatingOxford.com’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.)

–Liz

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 Thrillist.com 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 liz@eatingoxford.com.

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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 difference.pizza 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 EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.

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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….

snackbar_menu_drinks-page-001

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_menu_drinks-page-002

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.

–Liz

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Oxford Spotlight: Hot Wangs.com

Hot Wangs 003By Danny Toma, staff writer

Don’t bother looking it up on the Worldwide Web; it simply does not exist. Hot Wangs.com 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 Wangs.com, 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 Wangs.com (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 Wangs.com is a popular hang-out for Ole Miss football players.

Hot Wangs 004-1Hot Wangs.com 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 Wangs.com 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 Wangs.com 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 Wangs.com 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 EatingOxford.com 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 EatingOxford.com 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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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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Throwback Thursday: L&M’s Kitchen and Salumeria

L&M's kithcn and salumeria -oxford derek moreton

Credit: Derek Moreton

For Throwback Thursday, I want to talk about one of my old Oxford favorites–L&M’s Kitchen and Salumeria.

I say old because I moved to Oxford in 2006 and was only able to enjoy L&M’s for a couple of years before it closed.

The place had such a warmth about it. You’d walk down the long hallway entrance, past a variety of meats hanging in a glass room where someone in the group would usually pause to say, “I’ll take that one!” Once you reached the dining room, the smell of marinara, steaks and garlic hit you in the most delightful way. The clinking of wine glasses and the dull roar of diners disappeared as you bit into crispy bruschetta, perfectly al dente pasta, and herbacious local sausage. That’s just dinner. Don’t even get me started on brunch!

Oxford history says that L&M’s Kitchen closed (and Boure moved) because of the Vieux Carre construction project (you’re familiar with the building housing Pita Pit on the corner of Lamar and Jefferson?). There was scheduled to be a second Vieux Carre tower. That was six years ago. You can probably see where I’m going with this.

In my opinion, Oxford sacrificed one if its best restaurants in order to make room for a project that never came to fruition.

There is a silver lining here, though. For those who fell in love with the sausage and pork served at L&M’s, I believe you can still obtain it from the restaurant’s original supplier, Stan’s Country Store on Hwy 6 or the Farmers’ Market on Old Hwy 7. And if you can whip up some pasta and bruschetta like Dan Latham used to make, call me up and I’ll head right over.

–Liz

P.S. Wondering what happened to chef/owner Dan Latham? After closing L&M’s, he moved to Atlanta and began Moto Bene, a successful mobile pizza truck, before moving on to open his own restaurant consulting business, LQC Ventures, in 2011.

 

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Weekly Update: Oxford Food News

eating oxford weekly updateThis is EatingOxford.com’s new Weekly Update, covering the latest food news in Oxford. Check the site every Monday to start your week off with a full plate of information, and return throughout the week to find larger feature stories.

(Note: clicking on restaurant names below will take you to those pages.)

–Liz

Opening Soon: Mr Phat’s Sushi & Wok will be opening in the back of FINS Fish & Oyster Co. in a few weeks, according to owner, Clint Boutwell. “Mr. Phat has been with me for about a year, and we’ve decided to let him do what he does best,” says Boutwell. The lunch menu features a full lineup of sushi rolls along with a build-your-own wok menu, while the dinner menu again invites you to build your own wok meal for just $14.

Moving: Will Adams is moving his Indianola Fresh Market to Hwy 6 this week (between The Links apartments and radio station Q 93.7.

Now Open: Located next door to their pizzeria, TriBecca Allie Cafe, in Sardis, Dutch and Becca Van Oostendorp have opened Frog’s Pearl Station, a cozy gathering place for coffee, appetizers and desserts.

Closed: It appears that Twister’s Frozen Yogurt in the Belk Shopping Center has closed. Several readers have contacted us about the closure and the phone number is out of service. The reason for the closure is unknown.

New Menu Items: Newk’s introduced three limited-time menu items today: The Spicy Sicilian Pizza; Buffalo Chicken Pizza; and Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

Restaurant Week is Coming Soon: 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.

Try Something Different: If you haven’t been to the Country Club of Oxford restaurant, Chef Jon Oliver says that while the restaurant is technically a members-only eatery, he would love for you to come out and try dinner or Sunday brunch during Oxford Restaurant Week January 25-31. Visit the Facebook page or call (662) 234-2866 for more information.

Mark Your Calendars: The 3rd Oxford Craft Beer Festival is moving to the Square and will be held February 28. More details coming soon on the Beer Festival Facebook page.

Do you have food news you’d like to see featured on our Weekly Update page? Email it to liz@eatingoxford.com.

 

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Scenes from Class: Sparkling Wines at The Wine Bar

1Last night EatingOxford.com teamed up with general manager Kevin Brooks at The Wine Bar to present a Sparkling Wines class focused on preparing attendees for tonight’s big New Year’s Eve celebrations.

We tasted and learned about four different sparkling wines, including an American (Domain Michelle extra-dry), Italian (Ecco Domani Prosecco), Spanish (Jaume Serra Crystalino Cava), and French (Dumangin et Fils Champagne Cuvee’ 17). Everyone had their favorites; mine was the Domain Michelle extra-dry, which I learned only contains around nine individual grains of sugar per bottle!
Kevin shared his insights about what one should look for when it comes to color, taste, bubble quantity/size and more, while chef Erika Lipe provided the group with mushroom pate bruschetta and a cur2ry corn soup.
If you’re out celebrating tonight, consider a stop into The Wine Bar. They’ll be hosting a New Year’s Eve dinner as well as bottomless champagne for $20 after 10 p.m. Happy New Year!
For future classes/tastings at The Wine Bar, see the restaurant’s event calendar here.
–Liz
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Fantasy Cakes and More at Sweet T’s Bakery

SweetT exteriorBy Danny Toma, staff writer

The little strip mall near campus on West Jackson Avenue that plays host to a laundromat, a nail salon, a hair salon, and a couple of restaurants could not be more nondescript. Built for function rather than beauty, it’s a matter-of-fact kind of place. One is therefore usually unprepared for the creativity that hides behind the Sweet T’s Bakery sign at 1512.

The delicious smell of fresh pastry hits you immediately as you walk into this little gem, where cake designs are only limited by your imagination. Football themes are popular (they can even make an edible Vaught-Hemingway Stadium), and chances are, they can turn any request into a cake.

Sweet T co-owner jeff taylor

Sweet T’s Bakery co-owner Jeff Taylor

Native Oxonians Jeff and Kathleen Taylor, both graduates of Lafayette High School, opened Sweet T’s Bakery this past August, and say that business has been great. Kathleen has been baking cakes for years for family and friends, so after baking from home for a couple of years, the couple decided to open their own place. They have no regrets.

Business is growing by leaps and bounds, and reviews are universally positive. It’s a family place, with Jeff, an Oxford fireman, working on the big cakes, and Kathleen making everything in between, with assistance from one of their daughters, their son, and a niece.

sweet t jersey cake

This is a cake!

While they can make any kind of cake you want, they ask would-be buyers to order as early as possible. Two weeks’ notice usually suffices, but also warn that on football weekends and other busy periods, many people order three or four months in advance. On the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to catch them when things are slow, they might be able to make you a cake in a few days. Don’t push your luck, though. When business is hot, they’ve been known to turn away a dozen or more orders due to time constraints.

While three-quarters of Sweet T’s revenue comes from custom cakes, that’s not the only thing they do. Walk-in customers are welcome to come in and try some of their homemade cupcakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and scones. The selection varies from day-to-day, so go early to get your favorites. They also serve coffee and hot chocolate. Seating is somewhat limited, but don’t let that stop you from lingering a while over one of their delightful pastries while enjoying the hum of activity coming from the kitchen in the back.

Sweet T’s Bakery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They have a SweetT sweetswebsite, but confess to not really keeping up with it. For the latest news and promotions, check out their Facebook page here or give them a call at 662-397-6450.

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.

Class Announcement: Don’t miss our December class! Check here for info on Exploring Sparkling Wines, happening Tuesday, Dec. 30.

 

Master of the Pit: Nick Reppond

Lamar Lounge pig danny toma

Nick Reppond monitors the pit at Lamar Lounge.

By Danny Toma, staff writer

In the beginning man discovered hogs. The hogs were cooked over a slow fire. Man discovered that they were good.

Years later, man began cooking only select pieces of the hog, and the memory of whole hog barbecue faded away, left to be carried on by latter day keepers of the flame.

nick reppond lamar lounge danny toma

Barbecue runs through Reppond’s veins.

One of these flame keepers is Nick Reppond, pitmaster for Lamar Lounge, the only commercial whole hog barbecue operation in the state of Mississippi. While smoking the entire pig is the oldest, most traditional way of making barbecue, and is still the norm in much of eastern North Carolina, it had all but died out in Mississippi until Lamar Lounge brought it back in the summer of 2013. Now, barbecue aficionados can make the pilgrimage to 1309 North Lamar and taste the difference for themselves.

Lamar Lounge smokes three to four hogs per week, on average. The process starts between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 pm. Reppond fires up the blend of oak and hickory (with some pecan) and gets the hog fest underway. He starts with a relatively high temperature of around 300 degrees to sear the pig, but then drops it to around 200 degrees for the rest of the cooking time. It’s not a scientific process, as the heat is usually measured by placing a hand on the cooker, but the product comes out consistently well–the result of years of barbecue experience. He leaves the smoker in the hands of his associate for the rest of the night and returns early in the morning to finish it up. By 10:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m., the meat is ready to be served in the restaurant for lunch and supper.

Reppond has spent his entire life around pork. Growing up in Memphis, barbecue runs through his veins like smoky sauce, and he even spent a few years on the Memphis in May competition circuit. In addition, he worked many summers on his family’s hog farm in north Louisiana, so making barbecue as a living seemed foreordained. Perfecting his skills with such luminaries as Rodney Scott of Hemingway, South Carolina (Scott’s Barbecue) and Sam Jones of Ayden, North Carolina (The Skylight Inn), he returned to Mississippi to take on the role of pitmaster at Lamar Lounge.

All of Lamar Lounge’s hogs are sourced through Homeplace Pastures of Como, which breed pasture-raised, heritage hogs (Red Wattle-Duroc mix) that are well-taken care of and humanely slaughtered in a special facility in Summerville, Tennessee. These hogs forage well on their own and are never housed on concrete. In addition, the Red Wattle breed goes back to the very origins of the American colonies, so, in tasting Lamar Lounge’s barbecue, one gets a chance to sample pork as it used to taste before factory farms and mass production.

Lamar Lounge exterior danny toma

Find customer reviews for Lamar Lounge on EatingOxford.com by clicking the photo above.

Reppond says that the restaurant’s focus is to continue concentrating on making consistently good barbecue. Because of the long absence of whole hog barbecue from the Magnolia State, it doesn’t have the strong following it does in other parts of the South, but Reppond is confident that as more people come to know it, they won’t settle for anything less.

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.