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EatingOxford: Keeping Things Local at Neon Pig

 (left to right) Korie Trulove, “Babs” with Neon Pig managing partner Ashley Peeler

(left to right) Korie Trulove, “Babs” with Neon Pig managing partner Ashley Peeler

What started as a home chef market in Tupelo before growing into a popular café has now expanded further to include an outpost in Oxford.

Just three weeks after opening in the Mid-Town Shopping Center on North Lamar, managing partner Ashley Peeler said Neon Pig is seeing a nice flow of traffic. “We already had a large Oxford following in Tupelo and thought Oxford would be a great place for us,” he said. “Oxford is a really well-read, well-traveled town, and we thought they would really get what we’re doing with the farm-to-table scene.”

Neon Pig  - EatingOxford

Neon Pig owners Seth Copeland, Mitch McCamey, and Trish McCluney asked former Tupelo staffer Ashley Peeler to become the restaurant’s managing partner in Oxford in order to help continue the team’s work with small farms in and around Oxford. “We like to stay as local as possible on everything we can,” said Peeler. “We get fish in four times per week, chickens from Pontotoc, eggs from Tupelo, and vegetables from Tupelo and Oxford. We support about 25 to 30 different local farms.”

Neon Pig - EatingOxford

Award-Winning Burger

Part of the restaurant’s popularity can be attributed to the fact that Neon Pig recently won Best Burger in the United States from Thrillist for its Smash Burger, which is a combination of its filet, ribeye, New York strip, sirloin and Benton’s bacon. Other popular menu items include the brisket-based Bash Burger; pork belly on house-made Asian-style bun; Gulf shrimp Po-boy and tacos.

Daily Specials and Happy Hour

Neon Pig - EatingOxford

If you’re in the mood for tacos, Neon Pig runs a taco special every day, with a Buy-One-Get-One-Half-Off deal every Tuesday. “We call them our Redneck Asian-Style Tacos,” said Peeler. “The tacos range from grouper to Philly cheesesteak to salmon to shrimp. And no matter what the special is, if you see something in the meat case or the fish case you’d like to have in taco form, we can do that. Anything on our menu we can make into a taco.”

The daily special costs $9 and includes chips and a can of soda or bottle of water.

Speaking of deals, happy hour runs 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day with $1 off of beers and $5 butcher boards, which include a variety of charcuterie and pickled items.

Local Punch Card

Neon Pig - EatingOxford

Neon Pig also has a program to reward loyal customers who dine in regularly. “When you come in, you get a punch card, and once you fill your punch card up you get 10% off,” said Peeler. “Pretty soon we’ll have an Eat Your Way around the Cow card, similar to the Beers of the World punch card, that we hope will encourage people to try different cuts of meat. We’ll also share ways to prepare the different cuts.”

New Dinner Menu

To attract more people for dinner, Neon Pig has introduced an After 5 menu, according to Peeler.

Neon Pig - EatingOxford

“We just released our nighttime menu with steak dinners, fish dinners and four different types of butcher boards,” said Peeler. “For the steak dinners, you come to the butcher case, choose your steak, and tell us how you’d like it cooked. We take it from there. We serve all local veggies, kimchi, etc., and put it all together with a nice thick steak served on a cedar wood plank.”

The steak dinner runs $35, according to Peeler, and there will also be a butcher cut meal of the day that runs $25 and includes Peeler’s choice of meat for the day, which could be a T-bone, Ribeye, filet, etc.

“One of our most popular items on our night menu is our trash hamburger steak,” said Peeler. “It’s a combination of two Smash Burgers and a Bash Burger smashed together, and it has grilled onions, grilled corn, arugula, white gold sauce, homemade Asian-style bun and a local fried egg on top. It’s a really big meal, but people destroy it!”

In-Store Grocery

Neon Pig - EatingOxford

Need ideas for dinner? While you’re waiting for your burger to finish on the grill, you can shop the Neon Pig grocery for your favorite cut of steak or fish filet along with fresh vegetables, Southern couture cheeses, butter, pickled veggies and spices.

“We’re the only restaurant in Mississippi that is breaking down whole cows, whole pigs, and whole lambs,” said Peeler.

The sushi-grade fish comes in from the Gulf Coast (other than salmon) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, according to Peeler. “Anytime anyone wants anything special, I can get it for them the next day,” he said.

Craft Beer Selection and BYOB

Neon Pig - EatingOxford

“I’ve heard that we have probably the largest craft beer selection in town,” said Peeler. “We carry everything from Southern Prohibition to Lazy Magnolia to Yalobusha. You can even come in and make your own six-pack for $9.99.”

With the restaurant, you can enjoy the full selection of beers out of the bottle or a frosty mug. Peeler said customers are also welcome to bring their own wine or liquor; there’s just a $5 corking fee.

So whether you’re in the mood for burgers, steak, fish, or simply gathering ingredients to cook a meal at home, it’s a pretty good bet that Neon Pig has you covered.

Neon Pig is located at 711 N. Lamar (in the Mid-Town Shopping Center) and open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information or for catering inquiries, call 662-638-3257 or visit eatneonpig.com.

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Liz Barrett Foster is the EatingOxford editor for HottyToddy.com, an award-winning business journalist, and author of the recently published Pizza: A Slice of American History. Liz has run the popular restaurant information site Eating Oxford since 2009. Liz can be reached at liz.foster@hottytoddy.com.

Follow HottyToddy.com on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @hottytoddynews. Like its Facebook page: If You Love Oxford and Ole Miss…

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