Monday, July 25, 2011

Petra to open in old Palmer's location

    Oxford is getting a new restaurant at the site of the old Palmer's restaurant across from the James Food Center. Or to be more precise, a very old restaurant is reopening its doors on a smaller scale.
    I saw some activity in at the building and stopped to ask if a new restaurant was coming in. Owner Maher Alqasas told me that he was reopening Petra, a Mediterranean restaurant that operated in the building which had been the site of the Oxford Steak Company some years ago. He didn't give me a start date, but it looked to me like it should be in the next two weeks. Like Palmer's, Petra will be B.Y.O.B., which means you can bring in a high quality wine for a fraction of what it would cost at other restaurants.
    Alqasas is doing away with the bar area that Palmer had that seated six patrons. Not sure if this is a good idea, but he said he needs more cooking area. Palmer had two tables, one seating four and one seating six and six more could sit at the bar for a total of 16. Alqasas will have three tables seating 14. I would think that sometimes circumstances might warrant the sharing of tables. If done right it can add to the fun.
    Alqasas also told me he planned to add some outside seating. Just to the left of the entrance is a little square graveled area. Not the most glamorous place to sit, but it would be nice enough if the weather is cooperative. He is going to add a couple of picnic tables, or perhaps one picnic table and two regular tables to this area. My thinking is this should make the difference between having enough business to break even and enough to turn a profit.
    Alqasas is fixing the building up a little bit. He's adding another window air conditioner and repairing or replacing the other one. So it should be nice and cool. He's gotten rid of the charcoal grill -- he said it was just too smokey, although it sure produced some good steaks.
    I'd like to see Oxford get more hole-in-the-wall, Mom-and-Pop type places that only serve a few people at a time. The big fancy places are great, but I like the dumpy places with great food where I can bring my own wine and have a great meal for half the price of what I would pay elsewhere. There was nothing fancy about Palmer's, but at each place setting he had a high quality wine glass. I hope Alqasas follows suit; I'll eat off paper plates and be happy, but I want a top-quality glass for my wine.
    Jinny's not a big fan of Mediterranean food, but hopefully there will be something on the menu she likes. Because I'm looking forward to Oxford's newest restaurant opening its doors.


barrett o'donnell said...

Is it open yet? Where can I get a phone number or menu?

Col. Reb Sez said...

Petra is now just off the Square, in the old Taylor's Pub building, also known as the old Wiley's Shoe Repair. I guess they've been there for the better part of a year. Sure miss Wiley's.