Southern Table welcomes ‘Chef Jeff’ to restaurant

Published 11:04 am Thursday, November 1, 2018

BY JENNA MASON

jenna.mason@oxfordmag.com

Chef Jeff Robinson has cooked in a lot of kitchens.

After a military childhood that makes it tough to answer the question, “Where are you from?” Jeff settled in Oxford in 1989. He later earned a four-year culinary arts degree from the Culinary Arts Institute at MUW in Columbus, Miss., the only institution in Mississippi offering a major in culinary arts that leads to a Bachelor of Science degree. Jeff also minored in business.

“Chef Jeff,” as he is locally known, served as Executive Chef at Rooster’s when it opened in 2008, which he followed with a stint as sous chef at University Club. After opening both McEwen’s in 2012 and Saint Leo in 2016, both in the executive chef role, he began looking for an opportunity “to have some more skin the game.” So when owner Terry Warren reached out about an executive chef position at Southern Table this fall, Chef Jeff pushed for more. He officially accepted the position of Executive Chef, General Manager, and Partner in the company on October 9, 2018.

“There’s a lot of potential here,” Chef Jeff explained. “We have a great kitchen staff, great bartenders, hard-working servers — they just needed some leadership. That’s what I’m here for.”

Since his arrival about two weeks ago, Southern Table’s menu items haven’t changed dramatically, but they have trimmed the number of menus from fifteen to just three: Lunch, Dinner, and Brunch on the weekends. Though the rustic décor of corrugated metal, cedar tables and strings of lights creates a laid-back atmosphere, professional service and high-quality Southern food are Southern Table’s top priority.

“Our steaks are butchered the day we order them from Evans Meats,” says Jeff. “We’re cooking them within 24 hours of them being butchered.” He also recommends the chicken fried steak and the Southern catfish, both of which are hand-breaded to order, and the brisket and pulled pork, which are smoked in house. Items like Pulled Pork Poutine and Fried Cheese Curds are unique to Southern Table. “I don’t think anywhere else is serving anything like that,” Jeff states.

Patrons can also expect an impressive wine list and spirit selection, with options at all price points. Perhaps the greatest appeal of Southern Table, which is just beginning to advertise broadly, is the back patio and bar. The area features a large stage where local bands and comedians perform and where the restaurant hosts karaoke on Saturday nights. On gamedays, a massive screen allows fans to enjoy football while they eat, drink and socialize. Jeff plans to continue improving the outdoor area, adding a firepit and heaters for cooler weather.

Southern Table, which also caters and hosts private events, is open for lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Sunday, dinner 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and brunch Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Happy Hour is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, visit southerntableoxford.com. Follow on Facebook or Instagram @southerntablebar for specials and events.