Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re already in love with our little college town. However, just about everyone here has got a friend or family member that just hasn’t managed to see the light quite yet, so I’ve put together a list of five popular restaurants (and my favorite foods there) that might be able to change their minds.
Easily one of the most well-known restaurants in town, Ajax is most people’s go-to restaurant if they’re craving some good, home-style cooking. Their menu has a lot of traditional favorites, consisting of country fried steak, chicken and dumplings, a BBQ sandwich, and a ton more.
My personal favorite is the Big Easy, a sandwich made of country fried steak smothered in mashed potatoes, gravy, and butter beans. Expect to spend at least $15 for a meal, which isn’t too bad for a restaurant on the square. Definitely consider Ajax if you’re looking to introduce someone to your typical, delicious, home-style Southern cooking.
2. City Grocery
Another restaurant directly on the square, City Grocery is my preference for a nicer meal. While one of my favorite parts about the place is its seasonal menu, my suggestion is around just about all the time: a big ole’ bowl of shrimp and grits spiced up with garlic, mushrooms, scallions, and the always phenomenal Big Bad bacon.
However, all this deliciousness comes at a price – expect to pay at least $30 for a dinner, although you can also hit up City Grocery for a cheaper (and just as amazing) lunch if you need a need a nice place to take your misguided company if they still don’t see the charm of the square.
If you’re like me, you can always appreciate some great seafood. Bouré helps us out by bringing some of the best to Northern Mississippi, featuring a menu that’s heavily influenced by Cajun cuisine. This is a really great place to take someone to show that Oxford isn’t just a one trick pony when it comes to our food.
Normally when I hit up Bouré, I tend to stuff my face with one of my favorite sandwiches ever: the Peacemaker. There’s nothing quite like a sandwich stuffed so full of fried oysters, shrimp, and crawfish that you can’t even close it, especially when you add in an incredible rémoulade sauce that they cook up in house. A meal at Bouré will generally ring-up at least $20.
4. Big Bad Breakfast
This one’s a little different than the others. At Big Bad Breakfast, the marquee meal is (obviously) breakfast. However, at BBB, breakfast is rarely “just” breakfast. Whether you end up opting for a normal breakfast infused with BBB’s home-cured meats, or go more adventurous with with one of their skillets, like the seafood filled Creola, you’re guaranteed a unique experience, which is exactly why BBB is a generally a solid when you’re introducing someone to Oxford.
I don’t really have a specific suggestion because everything looks so great and I’m on a pilgrimage to try and get through the whole menu, but definitely get a side of cheese grits and a biscuit with you whatever you decide – you won’t regret it. $15 per person is pretty much the norm here, but it’s hard to find a better breakfast in Oxford.
5. Rice and Spice
This choice was really tough because there are so many more great restaurants in Oxford, but ultimately I decided to go with the one place that didn’t feature a Southern menu. Rice and Spice fits that theme perfectly, it’s a little hole in the wall on Jackson that caters to someone looking for a little more “spice” in their life, providing an injection of southeastern Asian flair into Oxford.
People are generally really surprised to hear we have such a great Thai restaurant, which is exactly why I always try and suggest Rice and Spice when someone is looking to go out to eat. The Pad Thai is always a great choice, but just like BBB, it’s hard to go wrong with just about anything on their menu. A dinner is pretty decently priced, too, at about $13-16 a person.