Oxford Canteen is unique dining
By Chaning Green
Oxford Canteen offers a meal unlike any other that can be found on the Square.
It’s situated in the alley between the Lyric and South Depot on the west side of the Square. The kitchen of the restaurant is in embedded in the wall of the Lyric with a window facing into the alley. You order at the window, sit down at a wooden table sticking out of the decades-old, exposed brick and eat away.
Corbin Evans is the owner and chef at Oxford Canteen. The restaurant opened in April 2014 and is Evans’ fourth restaurant, having had two in New Orleans and one in Philadelphia. He has lived in Oxford for about four years with wife Cynthia Joyce, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi.
Evans is a friend of the owner of the Lyric, Bradley Bishop. Bishop had mentioned that he wanted a restaurant in the Lyric around the same time that Evans was considering opening his own place. Joyce suggested the two help each other out and the pair converted a 10-by-15 utility closet into an operational kitchen.
“The main motivation for us choosing to put [the restaurant] in the side of the wall was that it was the only space in the Lyric where I had separate access,” Evans said. “This way it was easier to make sure that my timing of services and the timing of Bradley’s shows didn’t clash.”
Evans likes to keep his menu seasonal and source everything he can from local farms. He said it can be a bit of challenge to stay constantly stocked with fresh, locally sourced ingredients but that the effort is worth it in order to produce better food and contribute to the community.
“The food we serve is kind of a combination of different comfort food but done in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily see at other restaurants,” Evans said. “It’s about what’s available, what’s fresh, what’s seasonal and what’s different.”
Evans is currently working on building a relationship with a meat company out of Birmingham to bring more fresh fish to his menu.
“I’d like to start selling a little more fish than other meats,” Evans said. “Until I began talking with this company, I didn’t really have an opportunity to bring in the kinds of fresh fish I needed. So I’m really excited to be working with them.”
Oxford Canteen mainly dishes out food Tuesday through Saturday from 10-3 but will occasionally open on a post-football game Sunday in order to serve Oxford visitors before they head back home. The restaurant also does special catering and private parties upon request. Evans stays pretty active on social media and posts the day’s specials every time they’re open. Oxford Canteen can be followed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.