I have had a long time to think about this post. 158 days to be exact. That is the amount of time between my first trip to Taylor Grocery and actually getting to eat at Taylor Grocery. Earlier this year, I was in Oxford and made my first attempt at eating in Taylor. Unfortunately, I arrived to this…I showed up on a Tuesday afternoon to find Taylor Grocery closed. They used to serve lunch, but now they only serve dinner on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. I was pretty disappointed that on my initial trip I was unable to try their famous catfish. I told myself that at some point I would be back in Oxford and make a second trip to Taylor Grocery.
About 5 months later, I did. This past weekend I kicked off the tailgate tour with Ole Miss. I arrived in Oxford on Friday with the intention of eating a catfish dinner in Taylor. My second attempt was a success. I arrived hungry and left full. The building that Taylor Grocery occupies was built in the late 1800’s. It started out as a general store, changed hands several times, added a barber shop and continued to provide the folks of Taylor with the goods they needed for farming and their daily lives. In 1977, it began serving catfish. 33 years later it is doing the same. It’s current owners Lynn and Debbie have continued on this great tradition and are two of the nicest restaurant owners I have ever met.
The porch at Taylor Grocery is a great place to sit and relax pre or post meal. There is an interesting mix of visitors like myself, Ole Miss alums in town for the game, and Taylor residents. Taylor opens at 5pm and I was there right as it opened. I had heard the line can get pretty long on Ole Miss football weekends, so I better arrive early. ( On a side note the line never looked too long, so don’t let that be a discouragement to try Taylor Grocery for the first time).
Inside the restaurant it is part museum, part restaurant. The walls are lined with the pictures of Taylor High School’s senior classes from decades past. The walls, table cloths and pretty much any surface that you can write on bears the signatures of previous patrons. I was told that when Jimmy Buffet dined here he left a poem written on a wall. I couldn’t find it and it might be covered up by now.
If there is a common theme in this restaurant I would have to go with Ole Miss football. There are license plates on the wall from other states with Ole Miss reference. I had to show the Wisconsin one ( for those of you new to the blog I am a Wisconsin Alum). Everyone loves the Rebels here and it is a common tradition for people to dine at Taylor Grocery the Friday Night before a game. I am not one to break tradition, so dining at Taylor seems like an integral part of my Ole Miss tailgating experience. Also I think Taylor is a pretty cool name for a city.
The brown cardboard sign is my favorite artifact on the walls. Taylor Grocery is usually open on Sunday night’s, but not when former Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning is playing in the Super Bowl. I love how Eli’s signature is on the sign as well.
Now to the reason I was here. The catfish. There are other options on the menu if you are not a fan of catfish, but in my opinion when in Taylor, catfish is the only option. I went with the whole catfish dinner. You can order fried or blackened, I went the fried route.
I do not order catfish often, but it is hard for me to imagine it getting better than this. The fish was served still on the bone, but the fillet seemed to peel right off. The fish was tender, juicy and had this almost buttery taste to it. It seemed to melt in your mouth. The fried cornmeal coating was seasoned perfectly and provided a nice crispy texture to each bite.
The fish came with hushpuppies and your choice of two sides. I went with the brown rice and fried okra. These are two decisions I would gladly repeat. I was full after this meal, but there was one dessert item that I had to try.
Warm chocolate cobbler with vanilla ice cream. So what is chocolate cobbler you ask? Well I had no idea either, so I had to investigate. The best way to describe it is a cross between chocolate pudding and a brownie. On the edges it had the texture of a brownie, while in the center there was more of a chocolate pudding consistency. Served warm with vanilla ice cream. Wow amazing.
After my meal, I had a little porch time, talking with Lynn, Debbie and a few other Taylor residents. My second trip to Taylor, MS, was a huge success. The 158 day wait was definitely worth it. I now understand why eating here is an integral part of the Ole Miss football experience. After the meal, I was full and ready for Saturday’s tailgate. If you want to check out Taylor Grocery for your self, just head down Old Taylor Road in Oxford until it dead ends. Make a left and you will see the building. It is about 15 minutes away from Oxford, but definitely worth the trip.
Later this week I will bring you what I discovered while tailgating in the Grove. On Friday, I am headed up to Madison,WI, for the second stop on the tailgate tour. Have a great end to your Labor Day weekend!