Students and Ole Miss alumni who ate BBQ sandwiches, hamburgers, fried hotdog sandwiches or homemade fried pies decades ago seem to find their way back to Handy Andy years later.
A fixture in Oxford since the early ’70s, Handy Andy located on North Lamar has served up local flavors for generations of students, residents and alumni. Long time owners, the late Buck and Dot Zinn and Richard and Sue Carwyle are fixtures in the minds of many Handy Andy fans.
“You never knew who you were going to sit next to [at Handy Andy]. . . it might’ve been a federal judge or an Ole Miss great,” said Jenn Hall of Oxford.
While most remember Handy Andy for BBQ and burgers, Donna Faulkner of Oxford recalls the “fried hot dog sandwich with slaw… a little burned.”
Others recall the taste of something a bit more sweet.
“’Nanner pudding’ is what I remember,” said Wade Southerland of Oxford, while Matt Uecker of Denver asked, “Do they still have those apple pies?”
For Michael Crockett, who lived in Oxford for a time but now resides in Norfolk, Virginia, Handy Andy “became a convenient Slurpee bicycle stop in the summertime, especially after a paper route in the hills around Avent Park.”
Judi Adams Deterly, who also grew up in Oxford but now lives in Jackson, Mississippi, said she has been eating Handy Andy burgers, BBQ and Dot Zinn’s famous friend peach pies for as long as she can remember.
Handy Andy has been a local hangout for many, including groups that have met at the restaurant weekly for years.
“I am a member of a group of about 20 who have met at Handy Andy for 20 years,” said Bill Dabney of Oxford.
Buster Clark, a retired UM employee and Oxford resident belongs to a group of “mostly retired men, who gather there every morning to drink coffee and solve the world’s problems.”
“I have been doing so for nine plus years, and some were meeting before I joined them,” Clark said.
Buck and Dot Zinn, W. D. Gray and “Mr. Richard” are fondly remembered by many alumni who also worked at Handy Andy while going to school.
“Mr. Richard Carwyle was one of the greatest men I’ve every known. You didn’t wipe his tables off against the grain,” said Jason Burns of Oxford. “He couldn’t see well enough to tell who was calling his name from across the street, but he could sure spot an area on the floor that wasn’t mopped properly.”
Burns said he took many trips with Carwyle in an old yellow Jeep to deliver Handy Andy breakfast to the inmates who were awaiting the new jail to be built.
“I never saw a crossword puzzle that Mr. Earl Boatright couldn’t completely finish. I am forever grateful for the friendships that were made there,” Burns said. “You can catch Momma Sue, little Richard and Janet Carwyle Hopper there on any day practically.”
Several fans, such as Errol Castings of Oxford, believe the good food is matched with a fully safe environment.
“Handy Andy could win the title for the ‘least likely to be robbed’ because of all the law enforcement folks who favor eating there,” said Flo Yoste, a retired Air Force ROTC professor from Oxford. “I took all my senior cadets there once a month.”
Customers over the past couple of decades remember the unique tabletops that dot the dining room floor. Business cards and advertisements from local merchants, salesmen and service providers are laminated under a heavy clear coating promoting both the richness of Handy Andy and those advertised.
“A man from Booneville did these for us starting maybe 20 years ago,” Sue Carwyle said.
Loyal Handy Andy fans have shared the news of good cooking and food far and wide. If you’re not convinced, check out the recommendations on Burger Beast, Holly Eates, Zomato, Menuism, Menu Pix, Food Spotting, Trip Advisor, Eating Oxford and a host of other foodie sites and publications.
By Jim Roberts
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