Local Business

Published on February 11th, 2021 | by Elizabeth Tettleton

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Local Liquor Legends Go Big with The Sipp on South Lamar

Enjoy Oxford’s Sensory Experience for the Palate and the Eye

Guests enjoy the fine dining and atmosphere at The Sipp on South Lamar.

The Sipp on South Lamar is nestled in a renovated law office just off the historic Oxford Square. Hidden discreetly, the location fosters a speak-easy ambiance from its off-the-beaten path locale. In fact, if you didn’t know just where you were going, you might never find it!

When you walk in, you’re immediately immersed in a lo-fi aesthetic, carefully curated by Claire Kiamie, the wife of the power-couple-duo behind The Sipp. The bar takes full presence, boasting a litany of scotches and a list of reserve whiskeys where Van Winkle isn’t even the most prized pony (check out the Kentucky Owl Dry State bourbon). Their broad display of hard-to-find hooch shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the Kiamie family holds the oldest liquor license in Mississippi—#383. Enlarged satellite images of key spots in Mississippi are hung on the walls, including one of the Atchafalaya Delta in their party room.

The Eats

Executive Chef Cameron Bryant heads up the kitchen, and the menu showcases his training in New York and Italy, as well as many years of experience in Oxford-area kitchens. Bryant crafts a menu that is modern, American, and surprising. From house-made pappardelle tossed with veggies and cheeses, to a fresh slate of cured meats and imported cheeses, Chef Bryant’s offerings come in small or large plates, offering diners the option to taste several dishes, or focus on a favorite. Bryant’s desserts even come in a “flight” of three, so you can sample them all.

The Mae Helen, Bryant’s interpretation of a burger with fries, takes its name from the Oxford icon and 45-year-employee of Kiamie Bowling Lanes. For decades, the local bowling alley called Jackson Avenue home, and it is a sweet trip of nostalgia to see the menu reflect a bit of Oxford history. The Sipp’s beef empanadas, inspired by Claire’s Natchitoches, Louisiana, upbringing and her affinity for Louisiana meat pies, bring even more diversity to the menu.

I’ve yet to make it to one of The Sipp’s themed tastings, but they sound outstanding. Paired with whiskey, wine, or a variety of The Sipp’s sommeliers’ choosing, Chef Bryant curates a host of entrees and/or small plates, depending on the function and theme.

The Sipp hosts these tastings about twice a month, and one of their most popular past tastings was a Bourbon and BBQ pairing, which sold well with ladies looking for a gift for their significant other.

“It was mainly girls wanting to give their guys something for Christmas,” said Kiamie. “Lord knows they are hard enough to buy for!”

Some of the most notable offerings The Sipp offers are their themed tastings, also known as The Tasting Room, and “The Sipp Experience.” The Tasting Room tastings are offered with themes of various bites and paired wines, cocktails, or liquors. The Sipp Experience can be booked in advance for parties of six, and include an eight-to-ten-course wine and food pairing. Gift certificates can be purchased in advance, and make an excellent gift for a person or a couple. To reserve this experience, call the restaurant at 662.380.5402 or send an email to Info@theSippMS.com.

A.J. and Claire Kiamie, owners of The Sipp on South Lamar.

The Kiamies

The desire to open The Sipp didn’t come overnight, and in fact was many decades in the making. A.J. Kiamie’s family have a long history in the hospitality industry in Oxford, and A.J.’s wife, Claire, owned and operated One Fine Day events in Oxford for over 12 years. These past experiences greatly led up to their decision to open The Sipp.

“It just made sense,” said Claire Kiamie. The Kiamies wanted their restaurant on the Square; their first date was at Two Stick, which became one of their favorites of many memories of dining and celebrating on the Square. As Oxonians, the location just made sense.

The Sipp opened fully in October 2019, and was forced to shut down March 20, 2020, during the pandemic. “We just kind of held our breath,” said Claire Kiamie. “We stayed up a lot of nights with collective stress worrying over changes and fluctuations.”

The Kiamies were able to keep everyone on staff during the pandemic, a blessing that not all restaurants have been able to accomplish. Travel + Leisure magazine reported on September 17, 2020, that over 100,000 restaurants had closed, and most expected to be closed permanently, in the prior six months during COVID-19.

“We wanted to do what was best for everybody,” said Kiamie. “From our staff, to keeping our customers safe, that was our top focus.”

The Sipp, Oxford, Mississippi (Left to Right): Executive Chef Cameron Bryant, Owners A.J. Kiame and Claire Kiame, General Manager Johnny Liberti, and Beverage Director Cory Ruder.

The Future

The Kiamie’s have plans to expand their outdoor dining soon, accommodating current industry guidelines for safe COVID-19 practices, and expanding on what their customers love most. They’re enjoying the journey right now, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

For myself, I’m looking forward to a Happy Hour soon with a $15 bottle of pinot malbec and a slate of charcuterie.

The Specials

Happy Hour
Monday All Day
Tuesday–Thursday 4–6pm and 9 pm–close
Friday and Saturday 4–6pm

$15 Bottles
Three Thieves Cabernet Sauvignon
Backhouse Pinot Noir
Ava Grace Chardonnay
Ava Grace Rose
Astica Malbec
Placido Pinot Grigio

$5 Cocktails
Moscow Mule
Whiskey Sour

Upcoming Wine Tastings
Sipps & Dips – March 3, 2021
Blind Wines – March 24, 2021
Southern Sipps – April 7, 2021
Rose on a Wednesday – April 21, 2021

Tickets can be purchased at TheSippMS.com or EventBrite.com

Valentine’s Day
Prix-Fixe Menu
$85 Dinner for Two
$100 Dinner for Two + Bottle of Wine

Graduation
ALMOST Booked! Contact them now.

You Can Find Pieces of History at The Depot Antique Mall (And some pretty cool furniture, too!)
Oxford’s Favorite Farm: Brown Family Dairy

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