It’s been more than a decade since Ayers Spencer and David Calhoun decided to pool their resources and open an outpost of a Cajun-themed restaurant in the heart of Oxford. And just as Oxford has continued to grow over the years, so too has the popularity of Oby’s.
Since the beginning, Oby’s has been designed as a quick-casual eatery, with ordering at the counter and delivery to your table, but Oby’s co-owner Ayers Spencer is quick to point out that there’s a lot of focus on customer service.
“When someone comes in on a busy Friday lunch and they only have 30 or 45 minutes, they know they can order at the counter and get their food at the table without being in a rush the whole time,” he said. “It’s not fast food; everything is made to order, but we try to get the food out as quick as possible for those who are on a short lunch break.”
Navigating the Menu
Walking into Oby’s and seeing its huge menu board can be intimidating for a first timer, but you’ll soon find that there’s something for everyone.
“When people ask me, I tell them that Oby’s is mainly a Cajun-themed restaurant,” Spencer said. “We have homemade red beans and rice, jambalaya, bread pudding, po-boys, etc. But we also have items such as fresh salads, catfish, chicken tenders and more. I think our extensive menu has helped us cater to a lot of different tastes over the years.”
Some Oby’s customer favorites, according to Spencer, are the chicken tenders, shrimp po-boy, and catfish. And Spencer’s favorites? Well, there’s not much on the menu he hasn’t eaten and recommended over the years, but his current favorites include the chicken club wrap, Creole roast beef sandwich, catfish po-boy, fried chicken club salad and turkey po-boy.
Soup and Garlic Bread
When it’s chilly outside, you’ll want to check out Oby’s extensive soup menu.
“Our potato soup, clam chowder, seafood gumbo and chili are offered every day,” said Spencer. “Then we have a soup of the day that changes; broccoli and cheese is the most popular.”
And those irresistible pieces of buttery garlic bread that accompany the soups, salads and chicken tenders? Spencer said they’re made using the same Gambino’s bread Oby’s uses for its sandwiches.
“We top the bread with our own homemade garlic butter,” he said. “We go through a lot of them, for sure.”
Looking Back and Moving Forward
When asked how business has changed from when Oby’s first opened, Spencer said, “Oxford’s not a little town anymore; there used to be a noticeable drop in business in the summer, but not so much anymore. We’ve recently hired a director of catering to help us grow the catering side of our business, we’re using Landshark Delivery to offer our customers delivery, and we’ve even considered branching out to another town with a second location.”
With more than 100 restaurants in Oxford, Spencer understands what it takes to keep a business moving forward.
“When you have a level of competition like we do in Oxford, you know you have to serve a good quality product, be competitive and give great customer service,” he said. “We’re not 100% perfect, but my goal is that everyone who comes through these doors leaves happy, goes home and tells their friends, and comes back.”
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 ran the popular restaurant information site EatingOxford.com from 2009 to 2015. Liz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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