Oxford, Miss., is home to the Ole Miss football team and proudly owns the nickname “The Little Easy,” thanks to a New Orleans-styled reputation for finding a real good time. The town quote is, “We may lose a game, but we never lose a party,” and if you happen to have the pleasure of joining the legendary, post-game revelry, be sure to check out these enclaves the morning after.
By Jenny Adams
719 N. Lamar Blvd.
A melting pot of locals (lawyers with loosened ties, scruffy musicians, sorority girls), BBB serves everyone huge portions with easygoing, early-morning hospitality. Chef/owner John Currence won a James Beard Award in 2009 for his white-tablecloth sister concept City Grocery, but at BBB, his menu flaunts ribsticking, creative Southern breakfast fare like house-cured Tabasco-brown- sugar bacon, and a fried green tomato and Tasso ham Benedict with crawfish hollandaise. Arrive early for the 25-percent-off breakfast specials, or roll in past noon for lunch items like The Last Gentleman. It’s a full plate of Coca-Cola-brined fried chicken with the classic fixins of potato salad and coleslaw.
118 Courthouse Sq.
Don’t scream when your waitress pours the contents of a red gasoline can into your glass. It’s not petrol; it’s the house Bloody Mary. The bar’s secret recipe and renown hangover cure contains a dozen ingredients (including orange juice and a full cup of Coke), and is one reason crowds craving Ajax wait patiently for a ripped leather booth beneath folk-art-filled walls. Plate lunches run the gamut from po’boys to pot roast to meatloaf, and veggie plates come custom-designed from a laundry list of Southern delicacies like cornbread dressing, turnip greens and squash casserole. Or, go large with the Big Easy, a chicken-fried steak slathered in mashed potatoes, gravy and butter beans, served on a bun.
County Road 338, Taylor, Miss.
Located in the tiny town of Taylor just 10 minutes outside Oxford proper, the Old Taylor Grocery building has been standing in ramshackle style since the late 1800s. A sweeping wooden porch makes a wonderful place to perch with friends. On weekend evenings, bluegrass bands pick tunes from the back of a flatbed truck, and inside, the room is decorated floor to ceiling in Sharpie graffiti signatures. For appetizers, the best options are the smoked sausage and cheddar cheese plate with saltine crackers, or Rotel cheese fries. The Grocery’s claim to fame is catfish: It’s deep-fried (as are the hushpuppies) and served hot. There’s no bar, but brown bags of whatever guests choose to carry inside are lovingly overlooked. •
Late-night nosh: Oxford bars close at midnight, so house parties are common, and it’s considered good manners to bring your host Chicken-on-a-Stick when attending a gathering. It’s sold at the Chevron Food Mart (502 S. Lamar Blvd., 662.234.0275) at the corner of University and South Lamar, and it’s just what the name implies: fried chicken on a stick. There’s even a Wikipedia page devoted to its fame.