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Tarasque Cucina Invites Patrons for New Dine-In Service

By Anna Grace Usery

Local Italian eatery Tarasque Cucina announced last week they will now be offering dine-in service.

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

Previously, the restaurant—located at 1611 Jackson Avenue West—only offered take-out or Landshark delivery. Those two options will still be available, though, in conjunction with their tableside service, according to co-owner Lauren Stokes.

In addition to their pasta and salad staples, chef John Stokes and his kitchen will be whipping up an array of small plates that range from $6-18. Lauren said she anticipates the menu will be packed with freshly made items like butter bean hummus, ciabatta bread, local tomato and cucumber salad with basil and sherry vinegar, and artichokes with aioli. 

“We’re excited to showcase more of Mississippi’s amazing produce,” Lauren said. 

The main dining room provides spaces for approximately 22 diners, with the private chef’s tasting room offering 18 seats. 

“We are excited to provide an affordable dining option with spectacular food in the heart of Jackson Avenue. With wine, coffee and dessert just steps away, and a kicking deck, it’s a place we would eat all the time if we weren’t running it!” Lauren said. 

Lauren said the restaurant still has its brown bag license, meaning patrons can bring wine and liquor that’s encased in a brown paper bag to enjoy with dinner on the premises. There is a $1 per person glass fee. 

Another addition to the space is Gretchen Williams’ Heartbreak Coffee, a small-batch coffee roastery that made its local debut in the Hendricks building—the former location of Yalobusha Brewery—in Water Valley. 

Photo courtesy of Heartbreak Coffee’s Facebook page.

“I have the utmost respect for John and Lauren not just as amazing, genuine people but also the way they approach food and business. You can tell with every single bite, that John cooks with pride and food is his passion. It was the perfect place more Heartbreak to put down roots in Oxford,” Williams said.

She said she’ll be offering her staples that community members remember from Water Valley and the Farmer’s Market—like the vegan, gluten-free donuts—but she also wants to introduce the community to the specialty scene. She understands how intimidating walking in and seeing new terms like “pour-overs” can be, but she wants it to be an inviting atmosphere.

Tarasque is open from 5-9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 5-8:30 p.m. on Sundays.

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