By Anna Grace Usery
One building space on the Square is getting an uplift thanks to Clint Boutwell, owner and chef at Oxford Grillehouse. The renovations are in preparation for his newest ideation for cuisine on the Square – Julep Steakhouse.
The steakhouse will be located in the old Fill-Up with Billups location—1107 Jackson Ave E—in between Renasant Bank and St. Leo. The tentative opening date is scheduled for mid-July.
“The main reason for Julep is because the Grillehouse has been wildly successful,” Boutwell said. “I needed more seats.”
The restaurant’s namesake is modeled around a cool, crisp southern libation – the classic mint julep.
“Which was Faulkner’s favorite drink,” he said.
Boutwell said occasional trips to New York City gave him the idea for a unique style of food and ambiance that diners couldn’t find anywhere else in Oxford. As he hopped from French restaurant to restaurant, his imagination ran wild to establish something with “outside and local influence.”
The preparation and style of the steaks will remain the same as the Grillehouse, he said, but Julep will feature new fish and seafood options.
“The seabass and snapper will become menu fixtures,” he said.
Boutwell said although this addition will make more room for Oxford diners, he wants the space to embody a different look and feel. Similar to Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar in Memphis, a posh eatery serving various small portions of food, Julep will feature several “flights” of food and liquor so customers can get a true taste of Julep’s many layers.
The flights will consist of wine and bourbon, as well as different salad and food flights.
One flight Boutwell is most excited about is the tuna poke flight which will feature a spread of fresh fish and sushi rice made specifically by a man he calls “Mr. Fat,” a 72-year-old Chinese man who worked previously at Ruby Chinese and Two Stick before joining Boutwell’s team.
Two new items of significance that are completely unique to the region are an American Wagyu steak tartare stack and grilled octopus. A featured a la carte item will be the cream corn brulee, a sweet, almost dessert-like concoction that embodies a crème brulee.
“This is my more chef-driven restaurant,” Boutwell said, excited to get back into a chef’s nightly routine and away from his more strenuous business tasks. “To be able to put a chef’s uniform on and grab a sharp knife is really exciting.”
Patrons will be dining in an atmosphere much to the opposite of Oxford Grillehouse. Boutwell describes the Grillehouse as “more manly,” with accentuating exposed brick and heavy wood. However, Julep will portray a more feminine touch with bold Edison bulbs, big crown molding, mood lighting, a lighter color theme and candles adorning each table. Similar to restaurants in New York City, customers will sit close together, in a shoulder-to-shoulder fashion.
“I want it to feel less pretentious but with a high-quality atmosphere,” Boutwell said. “Oxford doesn’t come to the Square wanting a deal. They want an experience.”
One unique opportunity Boutwell plans to explore is the upstairs portion of the building. A long term goal would be to do a complete remodel and re-brace the sub-flooring for either an event space that caters to up to 40 people or have an upscale bar or lounge, he said.
“There’s also a potential for a rooftop bar,” he said.
Follow Hottytoddy.com for more information regarding Julep Steakhouse’s opening date.