Ayers Spencer and David Calhoun are Oxford guys who opened Oby’s almost nine years ago.
They both knew what they wanted and how they wanted to do it.
“When David and I opened up we had some experience in the business,” Spencer said. “And we decided to separate ourselves from other fast-food type establishments. I mean, we’re a quick, casual restaurant, but we were determined not to be just fast. We offer the best service possible as well.”
Spencer said they try to focus on food quality and service quality, which he believes keeps people coming back to the University Ave. restaurant.
“Also people know they can come here and the line can be out the door, but they can still get in and out within their lunch hour,” he said. “And we’ve been able to manage that. If somebody comes in and they have to wait more than ten minutes for their order that’s not something we accept. So we try to strive for getting orders out in ten minutes or less.”
Spencer said Oby’s menu is already a large menu, but he has added a few items here and there over the years, such as their crawfish ètouffèe, different soups and sandwiches.
“It’s such a large menu,” he said, “that it pretty much has something for everybody already. So we haven’t done a whole lot of tampering with the menu.”
The name Oby’s came from the original restaurant which was started in 1976 in Starkville, Miss.
“The owner of that original Oby’s was Don O’Bannon,” Spencer said. “And his friends always called him Oby. So the name stuck and he grew that business until it was a popular enterprise. In the early 2000s, he decided that he would like to franchise Oby’s and we’re the only Oby’s franchise around.”
Spencer said he and his partner, David Calhoun, had an entirely different concept in mind, but decided to go with Oby’s.
“I was in South Carolina and he was in North Carolina,” he said, “but we were both from Oxford and we wanted to get back home. We came home, thought this was a great opportunity, and it has certainly been good to us.”
The catering side of the restaurant has really taken off as well and Spencer said the University of Mississippi and local Oxford businesses were very generous when it came to utilizing that service.
Spencer and Calhoun are very proud to be back in Oxford and Spencer said he never gets tired of saying it.
“David and I are Oxford guys,” he said. “We love our hometown and the atmosphere here and Oxford has been very supportive and good to us. And we’re very happy about that and try to support our town as well.”
Oby’s is open 10:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m., seven days a week.
Story and photos by Angles Rogalski is a HottyToddy.com contributor.
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