Oxford, Mississippi, Makes Mouths Water

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From where to feast on James Beard Award-winning dishes to how to eat like a local, this run down of hunger inducing options will whet your appetite for a visit to this Southern city

When it comes to tempting taste buds, Oxford, Mississippi, located off Interstate 55 in the Mississippi Hills, offers an endless menu of options including five restaurants under the direction of James Beard Award-winning chef, John Currence, all part of City Grocery Restaurant Group.

Start the day at Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast (719 North Lamar Boulevard) where house-cured Tabasco and brown sugar bacon, crispy Southern fried chicken or the Anson Mills steel cut oatmeal has you coming back for more before you’re even finished. Then, head to Bouré (110 Courthouse Square) for lunch. Housed in the old Leslie’s Drug Store, the renovated space reflects the upscale downhome fare offered at Bouré. Snackbar (Mid Town Shopping Center, 721 North Lamar Boulevard), a third Currence restaurant, combines the flavors of a French bistro with a North Mississippi café, resulting in a “Bubba Brasserie” cuisine with offerings like the Gumbo Salad, combining crab meat with fried okra and accented with a sassafras vinaigrette. For a special occasion, another Currence hot spot, City Grocery (152 Courthouse Square) makes for a winning combination with linen draped tables set amidst exposed brick walls and heart of pine plank flooring. Shrimp and Grits or Chilled Crab Meat Succotash round out a menu as special as the ambiance. Rounding out the quintet, Fat Eddie’s (1309 North Lamar Boulevard) is all about the sauce, serving up old school Italian favorites–think rigatoni, fettuccini and spaghetti–in a memorable setting. A restored 14-seat 1800s Brunswick bar serves as a centerpiece and was once owned by legendary actor Eddie Fisher.

When Northern Californian Emily Blount put roots down in Oxford, she combined her love for big city style and small town hospitality with the earthy simplicity of wood-fired Italian cooking resulting in satisfying dishes like Pork Belly, Kale and Ricotta at Saint Leo (1101 East Jackson Avenue).

Fill up on soul food at Ajax Diner (118 Courthouse Square), with offerings like red beans and rice with grilled Andouille, fried okra and mashed potatoes.

For flavors outside the borders of traditional Southern cuisine, Canoodle by Oxford Canteen (1006 Van Buren Avenue) brings classic Vietnamese sandwiches and noodle bowls to downtown Oxford.

Bottletree Bakery (923 Van Buren Avenue), promises a bright start to every day with Raspberry Raisin Swirl bread and fresh-baked cinnamon rolls worth their weight in calories.

Located on the square, McEwen’s (1110 Van Buren Avenue) offers traditional American fare with an upscale twist and wows with dishes like Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass and Truffle Lobster Mac and Cheese.

After tasting your way through Oxford, top off the experience with sugary temptations from Holli’s Sweet Tooth (265 North Lamar Boulevard), an Oxford treat.

TIP: After an Ole Miss football game, make like a local and visit the Chevron on the corner of University Boulevard (502 South Lamar Boulevard) for the much touted chicken on a stick, a fan food favorite.

Come for dinner and stay for a show! Tap your toes along to tunes at Proud Larry’s (211 South Lamar Boulevard), the ultimate Oxford food and music destination, which features live concerts several nights a week and a menu with something for everyone, from chips and dips to pizza, pasta and salad. Most performances start at 9 p.m., require a ticket and are geared towards the 18 and over crowd although people under 18 are allowed as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

Another option for Oxford entertainment? The Lyric Oxford (1006 Van Buren Avenue), housed in what was originally a livery stable owed by William Faulkner’s family in the early part of the 20th century and what later became Oxford’s first movie theater, now plays host to weekly performances by both upcoming and established artists.

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