Chicken, waffles and more chicken: These new restaurants are coming to Oxford

Credit: Sean Scott

Credit: Sean Scott

Every fall, new restaurants open in Oxford as students at Miami University return for the semester and the city swells in size. Two new chicken restaurants are hoping to make their debuts later this year, and a national chain has the go-ahead from the city to start work on its new location on College Corner Pike.

Seth Cropenbaker, an economic development specialist with the city, said the new restaurants benefit Oxford by providing new employment opportunities and a range of dining options.

“It just helps create more options that then keep people here in town or draw outsiders into town,” Cropenbaker said.

OxVegas Chicken

Credit: Sean Scott

Credit: Sean Scott

Operated by a current Miami University student and a recent graduate, OxVegas Chicken is filling a gap in Oxford’s restaurant industry with its fried chicken menu. Jackson Trester, a 2023 graduate, and Tyler Storer, a current senior, met through the Farmer School of Business and plan to open OxVegas at 48 E. Park Place Ave. this fall.

“We’ve been working on this for the past two years,” Trester said. “It’s been a struggle at times. There’ve been times we thought for sure this wasn’t gonna happen, but all the things kind of aligned to allow us to open, and we’re super excited about it.”

Trester said the menu will include chicken tenders, Texas toast, fries, mac and cheese and coleslaw, but they’re looking at other possibilities to expand.

Cropenbaker said OxVegas Chicken will fill a fried chicken niche that Oxford residents and Miami students alike would otherwise have to travel to Hamilton for. The restaurant’s Uptown location will make it a good option for pedestrians and people at city events.

“[OxVegas Chicken] might attract people who are in the park enjoying an event or something there, student traffic, pedestrian traffic that’s kind of traveling through that corridor to and from student residential and campus can stop in [and] grab a bite to eat,” Cropenbaker said.

Waffle House

Beyond Uptown, plans are moving forward to open a Waffle House at 5000 College Corner Pike. Waffle House is a national chain with nearly 2,000 locations specializing in breakfast foods and open for 24 hours a day.

The city approved plans for the restaurant in March, but construction hasn’t started yet on the vacant lot. Some residents objected to the restaurant’s location because of its proximity to Mt. Olivet Cemetery and residential housing, especially because Waffle House is a 24-hour restaurant. Still, the land is zoned for general business, and city council voted unanimously to continue development.

When the restaurant does open, Cropenbaker said it will help drive economic activity just outside the Mile Square.

“We’ve got a national brand that’s opening,” Cropenbaker said. “We’re happy to see that national brands see the value in Oxford and are interested in establishing in Oxford.”


Credit: Sean Scott

Credit: Sean Scott

Further south, another fried chicken restaurant is opening at the intersection of South Locust Street and West Spring Street: Gobbler. Owner David Kuo said he hopes to open in September. He plans to keep the restaurant open from 7 a.m. until midnight each day offering breakfast foods, chicken and more.

Kuo said both students and local residents have been asking for a Panera Bread and a chicken restaurant for years.

“They’re the same either way,” Kuo said. “And so you know what? Okay, I open one chicken place because that’s what people want. I want to make what people want.”

Kuo reached out to the property manager of the location after looking at the vacant property every day for years and wondering why no one had moved in. He said the landlord was excited about the idea because of the demand for a chicken restaurant in Oxford, and the breakfast menu will also help fill a niche that few restaurants in the area are currently catered toward.

The location is at the center of a busy traffic corridor but away from Uptown, which Cropenbaker said should help drive business on nights where Uptown restaurants get too busy. Gobbler will also have outdoor seating, another feature Cropenbaker said should help it stand out.

“That outdoor seating ... is something that customers like,” Cropenbaker said. “It adds vibrancy and adds to a sense of place.”

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