By Haleigh Tieken and Erika Donaldson
Soul Fish Cafe—located at 200 S. Lamar Court—feeds more than just local rumbling bellies. It also feeds the friendly souls of Oxford with good conversation and a comfortable environment. The catfish and hushpuppies are accompanied by a staff eager to make customers feel right at home.
Whether it be the smiling faces on employee faces or the delicious smell of fried food that engulfs the restaurant, staff members strive to make customers feel valued. The restaurant is managed and employed by Oxford locals, reiterating the feeling of family and community. Soul Fish prides itself not necessarily on fast food, but fresh, good food with fast service.
Courtney Gray, a junior integrated marketing communications student at Ole Miss and waitress at Soul Fish Cafe, brags about the convenience of service she and her co-workers provide.
“I like working for Soul Fish because it’s a fast-paced job,” Gray said. “We get the food out fast. It’s not fast food. It’s fast service.”
The restaurant attracts customers with its sleek contemporary design along with a clean industrial feel. With the eatery being in a newly-developed space, the mystery of the unfamiliar area catches the eye of potential patrons.
The manager, Todd Lynch, said the restaurant’s interior design was well thought out.
“We try to keep a well-designed interior,” Lynch said. “Most places are just, ‘this is our menu, this is what we’re going to serve, this is what everybody should wear when they walk in,’ but a lot of planning and prep went into every detail.”
The Cafe belongs to a chain of restaurants that first started in the Memphis area and is now spreading its roots to northern Mississippi. The Delta-infused restaurant serves options like fresh seafood poboys, blackened chicken and many fried favorites. However, the traditional catfish is by far a favorite and something that Soul Fish takes great pride in serving.
Lynch said that the catfish is created in a very particular fashion and revealed what makes their recipe different from others.
“The one thing that would be unique about it would be our breading,” Lynch said. “It’s a signature blend that we have blended just for us, so the batter, the cornmeal and everything has our seasonings. It’s not something you can just go to Kroger and pick up.”
The atmosphere of Soul Fish is one of a kind. The clean and modern interior creates a cheery and bright ambiance that allows Oxonians to enjoy traditional food in a trendy environment. Not only do the customers leave satisfied with the food and service, the employees strive to make the customer feel at home during their time spent there. The staff is all very close, which helps the environment of the Cafe to be very friendly and welcoming.
“I like that people come in here and we talk to them, they don’t just talk with the people they are sitting with at the table,” Gray said. “They have full conversations with the servers because that’s what we aim for. We want you all to be comfortable.”