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One-Star Yelp Reviews of Some of Oxford's Most Celebrated Restaurants

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A lot of people have bad opinions and like to share them on the internet.

John Currence likes peppery grits. Some people don't.
John Currence likes peppery grits. Some people don't.
Sergi Alexander/Getty Images

If you're just now arriving here from 2007, you'll need to know that Yelp is an online review service with which consumers - just like you and me! - can review bars, restaurants, stores, and seemingly any other type of establishment open to the public. Reviews are graded on a one to five scale, and are often accompanied by a poorly written blurb as to why said rating was given.

This afternoon, I read some one-star reviews of Oxford, Mississippi's more well-established restaurants. I copied and pasted some of them here.

City Grocery

I have enjoyed fine meals here in the past but the restaurant has been less busy downstairs at lunch over the past 18 months.  Today's experience may explain.  My friend bit into a mechanical nut which we learned later was from a slicing device that broke apart when the chef was preparing the pizza.  He cleaned the pizza out thoroughly, he thought, but served it anyhow.  That's a major safety violation.  They did comp two diet colas but the chef never appeared at the table to apologize.  Nor did the manager.  That's a major service issue.  Something is amiss at City Grocery.

"Something is amiss" because a piece of kitchen equipment broke? Whatever, Enyclopedia Brown.

Major disappointment.

My parents flew out to spend some time with us and the grandkids in Memphis. On Saturday, we went to Oxford for the day. Nice visit: spent a while at Rowan Oak immersing ourselves in Faulkner, went to the Grove and toured around the Ole Miss campus, then still had a few hours before our reservation at City Grocery. We walked around downtown and exhausted just about every shop (Square books is great).

Seated at 6 PM with great anticipation given all I've read about this place. The first sour note came from the inattentiveness of our waiter, which never improved. Throughout our meal he disappeared for 15-20 minutes at a time. I don't mean he was busy with another table, I mean he was GONE - as in we and the diners at other tables were looking at each other and shrugging. At the end of the meal when we tired of waiting for our check I literally got up and wandered through the small restaurant to try and find him to no avail.

But the food is of principle importance, right? Mother and father each had filet mignon. I didn't believe their complaint about lighter fluid until I tried it for myself. Hmmm, it doesn't pay to be up first I guess. I had diver scallops which were well cooked, but served on a bed of unappetizing and starchy risotto. My wife's fish was off and she left most of her food on the plate. Son had pork belly which he reports was great, which it probably was because he has a very educated palette for a teen. My daughter had the Wagyu beef which had been suvee'd for 24 hours before a quick grill. This I did try and it was a nice texture, but bland. The side dishes were uninspired and tasteless. All in all, a major let down. I'd rather we drove back to Memphis in the afternoon and enjoyed a nicer, more affordable dinner close to home.

The words you're looking for are "palate" and "sous-vide."

Ajax

NOT SAFE FOR GLUTEN ALLERGIES / CELIAC DISEASE

On their menu, Ajax states it's items are GF (gluten free). They are NOT prepared safely.  After informing waitress I had Celiac Disease and explaining cross-contamination (could not have any gluten so much as touch my food), she told me everything I ordered was safe.

I had salad, plain potatoes and broc salad... All said GF.  I am still symptomatic as I write this 3 days later.

Before writing this, I contacted the restaurant to let them know so others wouldn't be hurt as I have.  They were apologetic, but not receptive.

On a side note: the French Fries, also marked GF, are not prepared in a dedicated frier.

If you can't so much as eat french fries that haven't been prepared in a specially dedicated fryer than you probably shouldn't eat at, you know, restaurants and stuff.

Very disappointed after hearing so much about how great this place was.  One word sums up the food : "Salty".  The dining room was dark and loud. Overpriced for the experience.

Boure

Upon arrival you better be pretty hammered, because the food is mediocre, and very overpriced. Had a table of 6 and nobody enjoyed their meal. You can get better steak at Applebee's and not have to stare at a carpet glued to the wall.

Carpet glued to the wall?

Big Bad Breakfast

No thanks, never again.  Everything had way too much pepper on it.  Wasnt even able to get my fill.  Never again.  And really the big was not there.  The portions were not big at all.  And it was really expensive.  Over $40 for 3 people to eat breakfast.  No worth the money or the wait.

I have not loved BBB any time that I have been, but the last time was by far the worst. Got the big bad breakfast plate with eggs, sausage, hash browns and grits. Food may have been decent if it was delivered hot, however this wasn't the case. Everything on my plate was cold, and the biscuit and sausage were both pretty tough. Probably won't go back. Overall, I think the place is a little overrated.

I'm just amazed these people exist. Same goes for the Ajax haters.

Old Venice Pizza Company

Ex-employee and frequent consumer. Food is fantastic and service is great. My issue is with the ownership. I was kicked out of the lower bar due to irrational belligerent behaviour by Jim if that is the correct name. Not once have I been so disrespected in an establishment in my entire life.  After ordering one of the fantastic grilled sandwiches at the bar I was rudely told to move because his seat was on the other side of me, with ample space for him to maneuver in. After  I tried to obtain some sort of clarity of the situation I was told I had to wait in the cold for my food to be delivered to me because I disagreed with him. I have multiple eye witness accounts on everything that unfolded during the situation. I would personally have prefered to speak to another of the co-owners myself instead of putting it on a public forum because I actually like the place and always have, but I (like others) was unjustifiably banned until I apologize. Yet this is not the first time he has made rash decisions in his inebriated delusional state. I could go on and on about other times where people have been targeted for a personal vendetta this person would have but it would be overkill. I would hope that this would shed some light on an issue that has plagued specific portions of the community for as long as I have lived in Oxford. Once again, I don't want to dismiss the great food and staff at this establishment, but I wont go without saying that there are just some things that wont get this bad taste out of my mouth. I wont step another foot into the establishment until I have a formal apology, which is saddening because the food is phenomenal. I hope that some day I will feel comfortable spending my money without the concern of incivility  in this fine restaurant.

This is a personal problem. This is not something that people on Yelp can fix.

Ate dinner with my girlfriend and four friends on Friday night. Appetizers and drinks came out quickly, but so did the toilet water dripping from the ceiling near the front center of the dining room. At first I thought someone behind me spilled their ice water on me. I started to smell something that was a mix between dead fish and sh*t. Then I felt some more drops of water. This time I looked up and saw more water dripping from the ceiling near a light fixture. At this point I got up and notified the waitress and hostess, both of whom laughed and said "we will let the manager know". About 15 minutes later with toilet water still dripping from the ceiling, the manger came over and apologized. None of the employees admitted it was toilet sewage. Not that I needed it, but I got confirmation from a former waitress who was hanging out near the back bar. Some of our drinks were comped, as was my meal, but I don't plan on eating at Old Venice any time soon. The owner should pay to fix his pipes.

Gross.

Snackbar

After traveling in from Houston- (Foodie capital of the world) its hard to expect much.  But what was being served looked fantastic!  Unfortunately, (even with a reservation that was made SEVERAL MONTHS IN ADVANCE) - we were never seated.  We checked in- on time, confirmed our reservation was for 8:15- and by 10:15, we still weren't seated.  We had been primed to be pissed with a few of their wonderful cocktails- and watched as more than 8 other groups dressed in Ol' Miss attire were seated ON TIME for their reservations.  By 10:15- we'd had enough- and MISSED most of the fun in the square.  The waitress was young- and trying very hard, but the hostess was a TOTAL BE-OTCH!  She REALLY could have cared less about us or whether we were seated.  It was obvious, she was seating her friends, and NOT the out-of-towner's in Aggie gear.  Left us with a VERY bad taste in our mouth :(

Houston as the "foodie capital of the world?" In what universe does this world exist? It's debatable as to whether or not Houston is the foodie capital of the South but, hey, this is a Texan we're talking about here. This person would probably travel to Saigon (arguably the actual foodie capital of the world) and think, "man, this Pho is pretty good, but I can get the real shit back in Texas."

And the reason you didn't get seated on time was because you terribly misspell the term "biatch" on the internet.

The Snackbar is located off-the-Oxford Square along the relatively historic North Lamar Avenue (read the informative book "Oxford in the Civil War" to learn more about it) in a mini-mall. I mention this because my rating reflects that fact. A premier, 5-star restaurant would never, ever be in a mini-mall, but owners believe very definitely that such is the case. Unfortunately, they're just dead wrong here.

The food is grossly overpriced for Oxford off-square dining, and it seems to cater to snooty faculty and staff of the nearby university. When I visited recently, my companion and I ordered the Charcuterie Plate to start. Think of it as Snackbar's attempt to emulate a European "sausage stand." The cheese was a bit dank and unflavorful. Setting that aside, we moved on to the main entree. I ordered the Flounder Pecan Meunier. Though the fish should have been flounder, i am betting it was catfish, which is something I try to avoid especially at a restaurant that charges at least $50/diner for dinner.

Visitors might have a better time ON-the-square spending less than half what would be charged at Snackbar. Otherwise, if you've got money burning a hole in your pocket, take a chance at Snackbar.

"A premier, 5-star restaurant would never, ever be in a mini-mall," this person says, right before disparaging Snackbar's clientele as "snooty," criticizing the charcuterie plate for not catering enough to his Old World sensibilities, and admitting to "avoid[ing]" catfish. The unintentional irony and smugness make this review peak Yelp. The only thing that would have made it any Yelp-ier would be a poorly lit photo of a cocktail and a waitstaff namedrop.

I bet this guy got so steamed when Chef Vishwesh Bhatt was nominated for a James Beard Award.