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Good Eats for the Soul at Ajax Diner

Ah, Oxford, Mississippi.

Home of Ole Miss, William Faulkner, and more light beer than you can shake a stick at. No matter the affiliation you carry—or your alma mater—you can enjoy this iconic college town.

As I traveled to Oxford earlier this month, I wondered: “Where should I go for some of the finest the south has to offer, without breaking the bank?” Oxford is known for some of its higher end restaurants: City Grocery, 208, and Snackbar to name a few. These are excellent places, but home cooking was calling my name. I needed butter beans and squash in my future.

Entering the Oxford square is an experience in itself. All sorts of businesses, shops, and vendors thrive alongside the beautiful Oxford Courthouse. As I walked down the sidewalk, I came across Ajax Diner. This place is a staple for lovers of soul food, but Ajax Diner takes the soul food genre to another level!

Walking into Ajax, the first thing you notice is the casual, art-oriented atmosphere. The bar is lined at the top with bulb style Christmas lights, and the walls are covered with folk pieces painted by the world famous Lamar Sorrento. When I chose my seat next to a painting of the Beatles, I was immediately greeted by my cheerful server. Yes, not only is the server punctual; she is kind. This is the best kind of service you could ask for!

She passed me the menu, and I was not surprised at the incredible amount of soul food. I am not going to lie, I really had trouble passing over the Matty’s Mom’s meatloaf, but I couldn’t shake my need for butter beans.

And then… there it was.

Yes people, I had stumbled upon the infamous BIG EASY. The sandwich of all sandwiches. It offered exactly what I desired and more: a buttery, white bun anchored with a country fried steak and topped with mashed potatoes, gravy, and butter beans. By adding a side of squash casserole, I was destined for satisfaction.

And satisfied I was. I decided to order the Catfish and Black-Eyed Pea Cakes as an appetizer – amazing. A salty taste with the sweetness of Mississippi farm raised catfish was hard to beat: an excellent choice.

My server, still very attentive, made sure I got my entree immediately after my appetizer was complete, asking if I needed anything else. I did not.

The Big Easy had arrived. I had EVERYTHING I needed.

Rumored to be invented by one of the Mannings, it tasted just as excellent as it sounded. Every bite was very flavorful, and this sandwich really gave the Southern soul food experience that I needed – while taking soul food to a new high in my mind and heart.

The only downside was that I felt like maybe the entire plate could have used a little more garnish and presentation. (The Big Easy looked kinda lonely, or maybe it just didn’t want to socialize with the squash.)

Either way, my experience at Ajax Diner was a winner. Anybody who will put gravy on a sandwich is a visionary—hey Ajax, keep doin’ what you’re doin’.

Ajax Diner on Urbanspoon
Ajax Diner
118 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655
(662) 232-8880
Price: $$

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6 Responses to Good Eats for the Soul at Ajax Diner

  1. Alyson Ward September 21, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    The BIG EASY is the most delicious man sandwhich anyone could ever eat! Seeing this post makes me very nastalgic for Oxford and Ajax. You cant go wrong!

  2. Miller Woods September 21, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    You missed out on the best thing there, Matty’s Mom’s Meatloaf. You will never find anything like it or better. Also, please let me win tickets to Julep wine tasting Sunday haha. Broke from saving my cats life this week at the vet. Never knew I could spend a fortune on a cat. I’m in need of a good time and a break.

  3. Julie Staires September 21, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Favorite place to eat in Oxford!

  4. Baron September 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Sounds like my next stop when I visit Oxford.

  5. Ivy September 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Definitely good for the soul!

  6. Tim Tolleson September 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Ajax has long been one of our favorite spots in Oxford!!!

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