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Local Italian Restaurant Tarasque Anticipates Late Fall Opening

By Anna Grace Usery

John and Lauren Stokes, owners of Oxford’s Tarasque Cucina, are in the business of crafting homemade pasta dishes that transport tastebuds to Italy for a taste of the old country. 

Owners John and Lauren Stokes and Jake Sessums, publicity manager. Photo by Sarah Odom.

The Epicureans are in the process of establishing a new location for their restaurant, they said, and anticipate opening in late fall. They served the last dish in their old location on 14 County Rd. 307 Sunday, Sept. 2. 

“We will unveil our new location as soon as we receive our license from the health department. We are getting really close,” Lauren said. “We have been blown away by the support of our patrons during this transition process.”

The Tarasque team (Lauren and John Stokes on the far left). Photo from Tarasque’s Instagram.

Though the location has not yet been released, Lauren said she envisions an open and inviting atmosphere for the new restaurant that allows patrons to connect with the people making their food. The Stokes plan to partner with a local wine store for wine pairings, and the brown bag license will still be in effect. This allows patrons to bring their own bottle of wine to pair with dinner. 

Lauren said the menu will stay the same—charred radicchio salads, pappardelle bolognese, rigatoni with sausage and peppers, linguine with shrimp and cream and homemade garlic bread, among others—but will try to incorporate more vegetables and chef specials like their famous butterbean hummus.

“(Oxford’s) sense of community is a bit confused right now because the town has grown so much, but it’s nice to have a place where people know your name,” Lauren said. “We love that we feed so many locals. We want to be your classic mom and pop and create a space where you’re comfortable, cared for and appreciated.”

Once the new location is open, the previously takeout-only restaurant will begin to welcome diners-in. 

“We will also still be doing the chef’s tastings,” Lauren said. “We have a specific room for that, but we are still figuring out seating.”


While the Stokes put the finishing touches on the new location, several pop up dinners are planned for the future. Times and dates will be announced as soon as they are finalized, Lauren said. 

Follow hottytoddy.com for the announcement of the Tarasque’s newest location.

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