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Second Line Restaurant to Open Thursday on the Oxford Square

The Second Line is located at 208 South Lamar Blvd.

When Oxford’s Second Line restaurant opens at 5 p.m. for dinner on August 20, it will be a pleasurable homecoming for Kelly English, an Ole Miss alum who grew up eating New Orleans po-boys.

Kelly English pic
Chef Kelly English

The Oxford restaurant is the second location for English’s New Orleans-inspired eatery, with the first being in Memphis. According to reports, the restaurant is slated to be similar to the Memphis location, but will offer different menu items throughout the day. It will also include a lunch special from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m and a snack menu from 2 to 5 p.m in addition to a more formal dinner menu. Regular hours for business will begin Tuesday at 11 a.m.

“I am just glad to be coming home to Ole Miss and Oxford. This is a very special place, “English told Memphis reporters. adding “it will be great to go football games whenever I want and to be a part of this wonderful community.”

Second Line Chef Meredith Pittman says “Kelly keeps it simple, just meat, lettuce, tomato, original Leidenheimier bread from New Orleans and Duke’s mayonnaise.”

Recognized recently by the School of Applied Sciences at Ole Miss as “Alumnus Of The Year, Kelly is a distinguished young chef with a series of successful restaurant openings under his belt.

New Orleans-inspired decor

“When the opportunity to move onto the square came available, we jumped at it,” Chef Pittman said. Pittman is from Corinth, worked at Pickwick, and went to Mississippi State. When asked if she would convert to being a Rebel, she replied “no, but I will root for Ole Miss until the MSU game.”

Second Line is located in the building known to a generation of alumni as Grundy’s or Smitty’s, most recently 208 or La Paz, just south of Square Books on Lamar Boulevard.

Second Line features a bar that seats 24 with a yet unknown seating capacity. “My guess before we open is about 72, but we may be able to pack in more people, Chef Pittman said.

Scenes from a New Orleans parade

According to the restaurant’s menu, “ Second lines are, at their heart, a good time that cannot be contained. Originally they were formed through social aid and pleasure clubs in New Orleans following the routes of long established Mardi Gras krewes just after they passed . . . hence the name ‘the second line.’ Now, second lines have become a part of he fabric of the culture of New Orleans…and the spirit is the same all throughout our region, from the gulf to the delta to the hills of North Mississippi.”

The casual dining menu includes a range of po-boys and other sandwiches as well as “like and salads, groceries and things to eat first.”

In its recognition of Kelly English, the Ole Miss Alumni Association described the young businessman as “executive chef/owner of Restaurant Iris and The Second Line in Memphis and executive chef of Magnolia House in Biloxi.

Scenes from a New Orleans parade

“English studied family and consumer sciences at the University of Mississippi, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order. He paid his way through college serving as a cook in local kitchens. The experience inspired the Louisiana native to continue to pursue his passion for food at the Culinary Institute of America, where in addition to studying abroad in France and Spain, English graduated at the top of his class in 2004.

“He returned to New Orleans in 2004 to cook under the auspices of Chef John Besh in some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants before moving to Memphis and opening Restaurant Iris in 2008. Two years later, he was named a James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast, appeared on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and earned Memphis Restaurant Association’s “Restaurateur of the Year” award.

“English has been featured in Food & Wine magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray, Bon AppétitGarden & Gun and the cookbook Wild Abundance. He also serves on the Founder’s Council for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and was named a “Young Memphian” by the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce and “Top 40 Under 40” by the Memphis Business Journal in 2013.”

The Second Line Restaurant in Oxford opens daily at 11 a.m.

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