Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Square

Oxford, Mississippi is home to 19,000 residents and The University of Mississippi, lovingly called Ole Miss. Writers, artists, and musicians populate the city, and there is also a large sorority and fraternity scene that thrives on campus. Add in working professionals, especially in the area of law, other college students, and the intellectuals who populate the ranks of the university faculty, and you'll find an area that manages to be both artsy and preppy, and traditional and eclectic at the same time.

The Lyceum at The University of Mississippi. Photo by flickr user rachelluttrell

While there are many different types of people who populate the city, the epicenter of life in Oxford is, undoubtedly, "The Square." The Lafayette County Courthouse sits in the middle of the historic square and is flanked by City Hall, as well as numerous stores, restaurants, and bars. The boutiques and eateries even spill out onto the surrounding streets that lead in and out of The Square.

Photo by flickr user jimmywayne22

Beautiful photos of The Square at night- here, here, and here. Photos by flickr user briantmurphy

With an ever growing and changing restaurant scene, I can't speak for all the joints in town, but there are certainly some tried and true favorites that are must-visits for me when I am in town.

Breakfast or brunch can't be beat at Bottletree Bakery. It is located just off the Square, and, with its fabulous pastries, coffee, sandwiches and other delectables, there is surely something to please any appetite.

Love the reflection in the image at left! Photos here and here from flickr user UGArdner (away for a while)

With its southern-style cooking, delicious vegetable plate, and fried pickles (Yes, seriously. Fried pickles. If you've never had them, they're amazing, and these are by far the best fried pickles anywhere!) Ajax Diner is always on my list. The atmosphere compliments the food to make the whole dining experience quite perfect.

In the photo on the left you can barely see the sandwich toothpicks in the ceiling. They are shot there through straws. Quite a tricky feat. Photo on left: deepfriedkudzu.com. Photo on right: flickr user lucianveutian

City Grocery, an Oxford institution since 1992, is an excellent choice for fine dining. The restaurant has an extensive wine list and a variety of southern-influenced entrees, including Tabasco Bacon-Seared Swordfish and an upscale take on Shrimp and Grits. Find their menu online here.

Exterior Photo found here. Interior Shot found here.

Although not located on the Square, just a few miles outside town you will find Yocona River Inn. Another fine dining establishment, this small and cozy restaurant is housed in what was once a small country store. Yocona River Inn is located in what is a dry county, so this eatery is BYOB.

While this is far from a through account of all the amazing restaurants in Oxford, you can find a full list of dining choices here.

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