8 Essential Oxford, MS Restaurants To Tempt Your Tastebuds

If I say Oxford, MS – what comes to mind? Football?? Literary legends??  Yup – that’s what I thought too. But since visiting this historic town, Culinary Utopia also tops the list. Oxford is filled with top-notch eats on every corner.

A delicious Italian feast at Saint Leo, courtesy of their Facebook page

Here is a sampling of our favorite Oxford, MS restaurants that you simply can’t miss when in town for a date night getaway or a game day celebration.


The Breakfast Skillet at Big Bad Breakfast, courtesy of City Grocery Group


Bottletree BakeryThis adorable coffee shop/bakery is a must-stop! If you miss it for breakfast, you can hop in for a pick-me-up cupcake or coffee. Just be sure to get there before 2pm when they close for the day.

Can’t make up your mind? We recommend the Honey Cream Cheese Danish or one of the specials which they post on Facebook each morning. Blackberry Lemon Muffins or Homemade Chicken Pot Pie Soup…you just can’t go wrong.

Big Bad Breakfast. The five simple words are better than any alarm clock: house-cured Tabasco brown sugar bacon. Truly, it is the perfect combo of sweet and heat, made even better because the bacon is top-notch quality. You’ll also find a full bar, so don’t skip the Bloody Mary.

I’m a sucker for French toast, and the “brandy spike” packed the right punch. Hubby and the other couple we were with picked from the skillets, featuring eggs, meats and potatoes. I snuck in a few nibbles, and they were delicious.

It’s super casual here, but this breakfast is definitely worthy of a white tablecloth.


Shrimp & Grits at City Grocery, courtesy of City Grocery Group


Volta Taverna. Stopping here wasn’t originally on our itinerary, but it should be on yours! Wow! I am so glad we decided to make a stop. Volta offers classical Greek eats in a casual, friendly environment.

We started with the Hotty Toddy Balls – yum! These are garlic mashed potatoes mixed with bacon and mozzarella, rolled into bite-sized delights and deep fried, Southern style. Easily an addiction, for sure.

For lunch, hubs and I both hit up a gyro. He had the traditional gyro and I went with the chicken version. They were amazing!

You’ll also find soups, salads and pizzas…all of them looked amazing. There are plenty of vegetarian options, too. And yes – a full bar!

Stopping at Volta for lunch is a MUST!

City Grocery. Nope – not a grocery store. This is probably one of Oxford’s most well-known restaurants from Chef John Currence.

First, let’s talk ambiance. I absolutely adore the aged brick, barn wood floors, and eclectic feel, which includes regularly rotating art displays, as well.

Also regularly rotating are the lunch and dinner menus, with new offerings every 6-8 weeks and new wines added weekly.

When we dined, I fell head-over-heels for the buttermilk corn soup…the burger was superb…salads were plentiful…but the star is always the shrimp and grits. It was divine!

Yes, you can go for dinner and you won’t be disappointed (ask for a table on the patio,) but we love it for a lunch option so you can avoid the inevitable crowd.


Drinks on the rooftop at The Coop, courtesy of the Graduate Oxford Facebook page


The CoopYou can grab a meal here and I’d recommend it, if you have the time. BUT, if you’re strapped for time or simply have a reservation somewhere else, be sure to still grab a drink here.

The view of Oxford Square from the rooftop is gorgeous. We visited in the early evening as well as well past dark, and enjoyed the view both times…each offering something special.

The Coop’s name offers a nod to Cooper Manning – oldest son of Archie…but the “farmhouse” decor is also a play on words. Don’t miss a glance at the bar, where you’ll even find a “fox” in the hen house!

You’ll find a healthy beer and wine menu – and who doesn’t love a place that serves Veuve by the glass! 

Proud Larry’s. I must confess, we missed the opportunity to try Proud Larry’s while visiting – and I regret it. (In my defense, it was Fight Night so we headed to a sports bar (The Library) which is another great drink location…but I digress.) Proud Larry’s is a hit with visitors and locals alike because of the fantastic Live Music!

The music starts about 9:30 or 10pm (depending on the day of the week,) and even if you’re eating here for dinner before the music you will need to buy tickets to the show.


Snackbar charcuterie goodness, courtesy of City Grocery Restaurant Group


Saint LeoEmily Blount, proprietor of Saint Leo, holds rank as a James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, and deservedly so. The wood-fired eats of Saint Leo would make even an Italian grandmother perk up and take notice!

We started with an impressive cheese and meat plate..but I want to tell you about the bread. I don’t usually rave about bread but this was special. It was thick cut, rubbed in garlic and then cooked on the grill. It was amazing.

Ok – but even more amazing than the bread was the MEAL! I love seafood, so I was all over the littleneck clams, served in a jalapeno pesto. I used that bread to mop up the leftover sauce…pure heaven.

The rest of the crew ordered personal pizzas. Once again, on every bite we heard the angels sing. Saint Leo is a master of flour and yeast, with a crust that didn’t even need a topping…but with options like pork belly, pepperoni and sausage, or the Bianca with multiple cheeses (including béchamel,) garlic, chili flakes and rosemary…well you just can’t go wrong.

Finally – dessert. Do NOT skip dessert here.  They change regularly, offering an excuse to return again and again. Always on the menu is ice cream (with rotating flavors) and it is unmatched! They make it in house and serve it with a waffle chip…you can get chocolate syrup, but you don’t need it. The ice cream stands alone!

SnackbarWith no offense to anyone else….Snackbar is my favorite place in Oxford! Maybe it’s the raw bar…or that unbeatable French onion soup….it could have been the charred okra…or maybe the duck… There isn’t one thing that stands above the others…it was just AMAZING food that consistently came to our table in a fun environment. It’s absolutely a package deal!

There are full size entrees here – you’ll want to try that sometime, but for your first visit I recommend a “sampling expedition.” Pick an item (or two or three) from the raw bar, a charcuterie selection, and a few small plates. This offers a great sample of items that will fill you up, and a great “story” about Chef Vishwesh Bhatt’s French Creole cooking.

A few favorites? We started with raw oysters, but if you are with a table of seafood lovers (I was not) then go for the raw bar sampler with oysters, shrimp, crab, crawfish and more.

The boudin balls were great and filling, as was the pork rillettes on French bread. Everyone at the table needs a French onion soup – there is no point in trying to share this masterpiece.

The corn chaat is a must, and I also ordered a side of charred okra to complement it. If you also love Southern veggies served French style, then go for the okra salad, too. That jalapeno dressing is unforgettable.

I cannot recommend Snackbar enough!

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Lesli Peterson

Lesli Peterson

Lesli made her way to Atlanta over 20 years ago, after living in Germany, Japan and six U.S. states. She relishes the discovery of obscure, offbeat and unwonted places, and she will chat up any willing stranger to uncover a new secret locale.

After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.

Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.
Lesli Peterson

2 Comments on "8 Essential Oxford, MS Restaurants To Tempt Your Tastebuds"

  1. Ruth Sykes | 10/12/2017 at 10:13 am | Reply

    Holy cow! What an absolutely magnificent round up of Oxford’s best. I’ve never made it to Volta, so it’s at the top of my list for next time. Thanks for sharing your expert opinion!

  2. Headed there soon and can’t wait to try out some of these!

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