After just over a year in business and numerous attempts to woo customers (a complete menu overhaul, an expanded patio, lunch specials, wing/taco/crawfish nights, an attempted location in Tupelo, etc.) Varsity Grille is closing at the end of November.
Soulshine Pizza Factory, with locations in Jackson and Ridgeland, Mississippi, will be opening up an outpost in place of Varsity Grille and will bring some healthy competition to nearby Old Venice Pizza Company.
Opinions on the closing of Varsity Grille or the addition of another pizzeria? Post your comments here.
The Courthouse Square Preservation Commission recently approved a 40-foot extension of Varsity Grille’s outdoor patio plus an additional door for access into the building at 308 South Lamar. The approval means removal of four parking spots reserved for Varsity Grille diners, and while this may translate into parking a little further away, a bigger patio will be a welcome respite during the approaching summertime months.
If you haven’t tried out the patio yet, this Thursday during Varsity Girls Nite Out may be your chance. From 4 p.m. til close, girls enjoy 1/2 price appetizers, 2 for 1 drink specials, live music and giveaways.
If you missed your high school prom, think you have a chance at being crowned King or Queen, or simply want to relive the magic now that you aren’t a wallflower anymore, you’ll get your chance this Thursday, April 29th at the Varsity Grille Eighties Prom that benefits The Leap Frog Program.
A Pre-Prom Party is being held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and your ticket will get you appetizers, drinks, entry to the prom bash and, of course, a prom photo with your date! ($45/person, $80/couple)
If you’re only interested in dancing, corsages and photos, you can attend the Prom Bash from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. ($25/person, $40/couple)
And for those who like to crash a party, late night entry is at 9:00 p.m. ($15/person)
The Leap Frog Program is a non-profit after-school tutoring and enrichment program for first and second graders in the Oxford City and Lafayette County schools. They offer one-on-one tutoring four days per week to participating students. Leap Frog is able to offer these services free of charge to students through the use of dedicated volunteers, public contributions and support from the local United Way.
P.S. Corsages and boutonnieres will be available for purchase on site. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Leap Frog website here.
Waiting for the weekend to go out to eat can seem like an eternity, that’s why it’s great when you can find great weekday specials that are easy on the wallet.
Today is Wednesday, and that means:
- 1/2 off one-topping pizzas and house wine at Old Venice
- 1/2 price sushi at Two Stick from 3:00 to 5:00 (Monday-Saturday)
- 1/2 price wings and whiskey at Varsity Grille
- Hot Wing Nachos for $6.50 at Rib Cage
- 1/2 price sushi and sake at Big Bowl Asian Bistro from 3:00 to 4:00 (Monday-Friday)
- 25% off for early birds at Big Bad Breakfast from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. (Tuesday – Thursday)
- Half dozen oysters w/wine or beer pairing for $10 at Snackbar from 4:00 to 7:00 (Monday-Friday)
Did I miss a Wednesday deal? Let me know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting here.
The old Captain D’s location on Jackson near Highway 6 is getting a new inhabitant.
Crawfish X-Press is going to set up shop in the building that’s been empty since Captain D’s moved across the street to its new location months ago.
There’s a Crawfish Express in Canton, Mississippi, and I’m wondering if it’s related to the one being open here? Guess we’ll soon see.
Fun fact: Did you know that the U.S. produces 60,000 metric tons of crawfish annually, with 90% coming from Louisiana? And, the largest importer of U.S. crawfish is Sweden–who knew?
UPDATE 04/23/10: Look for Crawfish X-Press to be open on Double Decker weekend. Related to AJ’s On the Lake in Ridgeland (see site here).
I passed by Varsity Grille today and noticed a sign announcing that it had reopened under new management with a new menu. Of course, I had to check it out.
One of the managers told me that after a few months on the Square (the restaurant has been open since early October), it became obvious that Oxford didn’t need another high-end steak and seafood restaurant. The current menu (which he said is likely to be tweaked again in the coming weeks) includes more affordable burgers and sandwiches. (At the time of this posting, the restaurant’s website had not been updated with the changes yet.)
The original interior has been toned down to reveal a more casual, friendly ambiance.
Time will tell if the changes–effective at the Tupelo location as well–will help or hinder the future success of Varsity Grille.
UPDATE 2/2/10: The new menu is scheduled to be online by the end of the week, but in the meantime, Varsity Grille has posted a newsletter, which talks about a $1 kid’s menu every Monday; the new decor that invites patrons to write on the walls (a la Taylor Grocery and Red House?); happy hour specials 2-7 everyday; and a coupon for a free appetizer (with purchase). Click here for the details.
UPDATE 2/5/10: The new menu is up. Click here to check it out.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m looking for a change of scenery, I venture out to Southaven, Memphis or Tupelo on the weekend. Recently, I’ve noticed that several Oxford restaurants have been popping up in Tupelo, making me feel like I never left Oxford. Have you recognized these familiar storefronts while in Tupelo (large chains not included)?
Old Venice Pizza Company
Oby’s (coming soon)
Do you feel that Oxford loses a bit of its charm when local restaurateurs venture into other cities, or that growth is good for both the restaurateur and the customers because it will all eventually trickle down and translate into improvements for Oxford as well?
I made a return trip to Varsity Grille the other day and was pleased to see that they’ve already begun making adjustments to their menu. Any savvy restaurateur knows that the first several weeks after opening are crucial to the success of your business. Eliminating items from the menu that are out of place (the Chicago deep dish pizza we spoke of earlier is now gone), and tweaking recipes (the before meal bread and butter is now spot-on) can spell success for a restaurant that would have otherwise failed.
During this last visit, my dining companion was not pleased with their meal. Instead of simply removing the food, the manager came over and asked specifically what the problem was, promptly replacing the meal with another menu item. Kudos to a great display of customer service!
The Varsity Grille (in the spot that Pearl Street Pasta formerly occupied) website is now up in preparation for the restaurants opening Click Here
And, signage went up out front a couple of days ago as owners Michael Blankenship, Michael Greer, and Clyde Whitaker prepare for guests in this Oxford outpost of the restaurant, which has another location in Tupelo that’s holding its grand opening on 9/25.
The menu selection is diverse, offering something for just about everyone. I have to admit that I paused on the Chicago-style deep dish pizza though, as it doesn’t seem to fit the restaurant’s concept (maybe a nod to the owners’ other venture, Old Venice Pizza Co.?)