Published on May 13th, 2021 | by Elizabeth Tettleton0
Lamar Yard: Oxford’s Back Yard Just Got a Face Lift
One thing I think everyone has learned during COVID-19 is the value of an outdoor get-together. Thankfully, the guys behind Lamar Yard set out before the pandemic to create a one-of-a-kind venue/restaurant/music scene combo for Oxford, and now you can experience it with the entire family, including the furry ones.
Along with his business partners Tres Brasell and Patrick Ellis, Nickle Smith secured land on South Lamar, and in spring 2020 began building their vision from the ground up. Ellis and Smith’s first restaurant, The Bluff, in Memphis, is a completely different experience. Unlike the dark, wooden aesthetic and cajun/Creole-inspired New Orleans fare at The Bluff, Lamar Yard is an outdoor-beer-garden-meets-BBQ-joint experience, and feels reminiscent of a family-friendly yet still-hip restaurant you’d see in Atlanta, Nashville, or Austin.
“We wanted it to be an inclusive environment,” said Brad Hayden, Lamar Yard’s pitmaster and back of house manager. Lamar Yard welcomes all, with a focus on “families and fostering a comfortable backyard BBQ vibe.”
The Lamar Yard partners emphasized that as fathers themselves, having a comfortable and safe atmosphere for the entire family was the top priority when deciding on every element at the establishment.
“Oxford was the obvious choice,” said Patrick Ellis. “It’s the best place to be and to raise a family in Mississippi.”
Ellis and Smith shared that the hand-crafted wooden bar, made by Allen “JJ” Jones from The Wood Shed by JJ, was created from reclaimed wood from their grandfather’s property.
Jamie Irby, general manager of Lamar Yard, pointed out the convenience of the traffic flow, and how the building was designed with service-first in mind.
Situated at the top of a hill at 2200 South Lamar Boulevard, Lamar Yard sits away from major traffic and includes a gated area for children to play. The smokehouse and restaurant resides in the right-hand building, and on the left, “The Barn,” offers an “outdoor optional” music, dancing, and event space, complete with green rooms above for wedding parties and music acts to change and lounge. Between the restaurant and the barn is the “Yard,” boasting picnic tables, yard games, and a pickup window if you prefer to chow down on your ribs outside.
Brad Hayden has created a BBQ menu with offerings different than Oxford has experienced before. Hayden said he looks forward to educating the local crowd on all the various types of BBQ that he can—everything from Korean bulgogi and kimchi to Carolina mustard and Saint Louis-style ribs.
“The easiest way to explain it is Texas-style BBQ,” said Hayden. “But it’s a mashup of my experiences along the way.”
Hayden also explained that his food truck, Smokeshop Oxford, was never intended to be his main focus, but instead, a way to expose Oxonians to his style of BBQ before Lamar Yard opened. Smokeshop Oxford gave him space to experiment while Lamar Yard was being designed and fully built out.
Lamar Yard utilizes locally sourced products where possible and enjoys the pork product raised at Homeplace Pastures, proudly mentioned on the bottom of their menu. The quantity and variety of Homeplace’s outputs allows the menu to incorporate favorites like pork cracklins, burnt ends, tacos, nachos, and a meat plate with guests’ choice (brisket, pork belly, ribs, pulled pork, or turkey).
If you’re like me, BBQ sides are one of your favorite aspects at a family cook-out, and there is no short supply at Lamar Yard. I’m itching to try the Mexican street corn and slaw, but they have regular fixin’s too, with Hayden’s flair—potato salad, mac and cheese, pinto beans, and collard greens.
You can also buy in bulk and enjoy it at home. You can dine in, dine at a picnic table, or dine in the comfort of your own home. Or bring the party to Lamar Yard, and rent out The Barn—it’s your choice.
Lamar Yard held its grand opening on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, and regular hours at the restaurant will be 11 am–10 pm Tuesday through Sunday, while the Yard and the Barn will be open 11 am–late on Tuesday through Sunday.