Actually, there are 23 places just in the downtown square area of Oxford where students, their parents, faithful Ole Miss alums and visitors can get a bite to eat. I saw several very tempting-looking restaurants I want to try in a future visit, but for the purposes of today’s blog, here are 3 that I sampled and truly enjoyed recently. Stay tuned for 3 more coming next Monday.
“Eat like you mean it” is the catchy slogan for Oxford Canteen, the culinary concept of Chef/Owner Corbin Evans. Now in a refurbished and repurposed former gas station on North Lamar Boulevard, just a few months ago Oxford Canteen was in a narrow alleyway beside The Lyric Oxford. Evans was using a food truck concept, without the tires or a steering wheel, and just served food through a small window to the line of eager customers.
Evans is a board member of Oxford’s Community Market and is excited by serving locally-grown fresh ingredients and in changing his menu frequently to reflect availability and seasons. The Canteen is open Tuesday-Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. I was there for breakfast and enjoyed some delicious breakfast tacos in the sleek new location.
Saint Leo was named a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in the 2017 James Beard award categories. Serving lunch and dinner every day except Tuesday, Saint Leo is best known for its wood-fired pizza oven, and one of those pizza creations was recently pictured in Southern Living. The bruschetta was possibly the best I have ever eaten, the pizza was as good as advertised, and the desserts were over-the-top. Saint Leo’s is definitely not your average pizza place. Just a note: Saint Leo doesn’t serve sweet tea, but they do bring a simple syrup to use with your unsweet tea. 🙂 This is a very popular place, so plan accordingly.
Proud Larry’s, similar to Saint Leo, also serves pizza, and the other menu offerings are definitely crowd-friendly. But the clear emphasis here is on music. The walls are lined with posters featuring the groups and soloists that the owners have partnered in bringing to Oxford. They maintain a full schedule of performers, and you would do well to consult the website to see if one of your favorites will be appearing soon. Tickets for the concerts are sold separately. And, you WILL need a ticket.
I had the Larry Burger for lunch and give it a hearty 2 thumbs up. Owner Scott Caradine and his wife are very invested in Oxford and appreciate the success they have built in town. They have just celebrated their 25th anniversary in business. The combination of great food and music has proven to be a winning duo.
I really loved my time in Oxford, Mississippi. When you visit, consider booking a room at Graduate Oxford or Chancellor’s House. And, by all means, take a tour of Rowan Oak (home of William Faulkner) and L.Q.C. Lamar House. Plan time to browse Square Books, Off Square Books, Square Book Jr. and the many other great stores around the square. I’ll be sharing much more in future articles and posts.
This coming weekend, April 27th-28th, would be a particularly fun time to visit. The annual Double Decker Arts Festival will be in town. Check out the website for all the information.