The Oxford Square may be known for its shopping and fine dining options, but Chris Stephenson and Patrick McNulty saw an opportunity to bring burgers to the historic district by opening Oxford Burger Co.
Both owners are Ole Miss graduates, and Stephenson owns Firehouse Subs here in Oxford. But when deciding to open a new restaurant, he knew he wanted to open a place where he would want to eat.
“One of my favorite things to eat is to go out and get a burger,” Stephenson said. “I thought if I’m going to open a burger place i want it to be the kind of place that’s fast and casual and design it in a way that offers customers a unique product in an upgraded environment while keeping the prices low.
The pair knew that if they were going to be called Oxford Burger Co., they had to back it up with a quality burger. Keeping high-quality beef is priority number one for Stephenson and McNulty.
“We’re using a 100 percent fresh product, it’s not a pre-made patty. It’s 100 percent Black Angus USDA choice and we lightly season it with salt and pepper,” Stephenson said. “It’s just a delicious burger because of the product we are using. We don’t do anything from a chef standpoint of mixing things into it; we let the beef speak for itself. We cook them to order every time.”
With six different burger options including a “build your own” option, there’s something for everyone on the menu. Among the burgers offered is the “Mac Attack” topped with mac and cheese, the “Col Reb’s Ghost” with bacon and house made comeback sauce, and from the don’t knock it till you try it department, the “Peanut Better Burger.” Topped with bacon and peanut butter, the unique combination was added after Stephenson heard a discussion about the interesting take on a burger on the radio station Supertalk Mississippi. As a self-described skeptic, I tried the burger and was quickly converted from a skeptic into a believer.
Currently, the menu features just two options outside of their burgers, but that may change as time goes by. Originally in the plans for the menu were chicken options, salads and a veggie burger. In an effort to master the basics first, Stephenson and McNulty decided to roll out the smaller menu and add things as they go.
“Starting with a small menu gives us a chance to get really good at this and then if we add new items, we can add them as specials and eventually make it a permanent menu item. We didn’t want to have a salad or chicken just to say we have it; we want to do it right,” Stephenson said.
When Stephenson realized prep work began at 8 a.m., the decision was made to include two breakfast items on the menu, which will begin being served Friday. A breakfast bagel, or breakfast in a bun, comes with all the traditional breakfast favorites on top served with a side of tater tots.
Oxford Burger Co. opened its doors Monday without any big promotion, and the low-key opening was intentional. The owners wanted to open when the town was a bit more quiet to ensure the quality of the food and the service before the Oxford’s fall rush.
“We didn’t want to open and be overrun with customers. We didn’t want to provide a bad experience if we weren’t truly ready. We just wanted to open, and then really figure out how to run this place. I’d rather have a slow open and then be ready for August when everyone gets back,” Stephenson said.
Location is critical for any establishment, and with a prime spot on the Square, Stephenson is looking to attract customers who want to come to the Square without paying the premium to do so.
“People like coming to the Square to eat and their choices of a fast casual option are limited, choices on the lower end price range are limited, and I think we offer that,” Stephenson said. “Fine dining and the Square seem to go together, and we wanted to make sure you could eat here for around $10 including tax.”
The restaurant is outfitted with a coke freestyle machine, and for those 21 and over, a fridge stocked with cold beer is also available. Oxford Burger Co. is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The restaurant has also signed on with Landshark Delivery.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.