This time it’s the smells of old Oxford that draw me, as they drew my dad and granddad, across the street and into Mr. Tom Mistilis’ Restaurant. For Granddad, it was just twenty steps out the studio door and across the alley to dine with old friends Tom and Georgia. For me, it was a quick jog across the then two-way traffic and to the candy counter. Many a grammar schooler made the same crossing for the same counter. It is a sweet memory for many an Oxford kid, but that’s not what made Angelo Mistilis famous.
Mr. Athanasius Salipa “Tom” Mistilis started it, but his second son made the smell of the family’s hamburger steak with onions a mainstay of Oxford eatery memories and a must-have for any Ole Miss alum back in town. Angelo and his wife, Jo Dale Slade Mistilis, too an Oxford native, carried on the family legacy and in doing so, cemented their own place in the town and on campus. Some Oxford High boys called Angelo “The Greek,” but Granddad Cofield called him “Butch,” and he said it, “Bootch.” Angelo is one of those rare childhood fathers who you got to call by their first name, and were honored to be included on the list of the boys who could do so.