Oxford is arguably the best town in the whole state to live in.
But you probably already knew that. Oxford also boasts an abundance of noteworthy restaurants, some borderline celebrities, and the world’s largest outdoor cedar bucket! Oxford’s many attractions seem to get decent critical attention and rightfully so, but just outside of town there are a few places you might not have heard of yet.
In part one of our new road series dubbed “Almost Oxford”, our first stop hiding just outside of the Velvet Ditch isn’t very obscure, but it’s my favorite place to eat in Mississippi so I’m starting with it anyway.
The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery has been written about in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and several in-state publications. The little Water Valley market offers a great variety of fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables from local farms and is also somewhat of an antique shop, too.
My favorite part of The B.T.C. has to be The Dixie Belle Cafe. Find me another restaurant with a deep fried hot dog on the (rotating) menu right next to the organic vegan sandwich. I’ll wait. The lunch (11-2 Monday through Saturday) menu offers an incredible assortment of sandwiches with every topping imaginable (I never would have put pickled leeks on a sandwich, but damn they were good). And if you are low on cash or a picky eater, just grab yourself a classic ham and swiss for $4.
Breakfast (8-10 Monday through Friday) also offers a sizable selection, but the MVP has to be the banana bacon chocolate chip pancakes complete with house-made cream cheese whip and chocolate gravy. What’s chocolate gravy? Its like a home-made chocolate syrup, but THICC. The red velvet custard french toast is also a winner, and of course you can get something standard like bacon and eggs. A lot of the best recipes can be found in the The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook, so grab a copy on your way out.
If you are in Oxford, Water Valley isn’t a bad drive at all. My personal suggestion is to pick out a Saturday, get lunch at The B.T.C., and maybe a few beers after at the Yalobusha Brewing Company while you are in town. Water Valley has quietly added some quality stops, most of which I haven’t even explored yet so, you know, check it out. We all should. So do.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: If you have any favorite bars, restaurants, oddities just outside of town, put them in the comments and I’ll check them out.