Geese honked above as Hubby and I descended the winding wooden steps down the riverbank to a picturesque site – a historic four-story limestone flour mill nestled among the trees along a winding creek. Whether you want to sample a taste of history or enjoy the peace and quiet of nature, the Old Oxford Mill Restaurant (http://www.oldoxfordmill.com/) serves up a fantastic opportunity to get away from the daily grind. While enjoying the pleasure of simple foods, you’ll be supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs while you are there!
Built in 1874 just outside Oxford, a half-hour drive southeast of Wichita, the mill flourished for decades doing custom grinding and producing Oxford’s Best Flour until a new mill was constructed during the Great Depression. The older structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and restored that decade, opening as a restaurant.
We followed the flagstone patio to the big red front door and stepped inside to find the over two-foot-wide limestone walls and the weathered tongue and groove hardwood floor and support beams exposed. Although the setting is rustic, we dined at a table topped with a white tablecloth under glass.
In 2008, the restaurant became a part of the Old Oxford Mill Center for Entrepreneurship Program which offers business students at Oxford High School experience in management. Students pretty much do everything except the cooking; they determine the menu, develop shopping lists, prepare the facility, and plan marketing efforts for the restaurant that is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday.Only one entrée is offered, so check the website to see if it’s to your liking. It might be chicken fried steak, chili, chicken marsala, smothered pork over rice or lasagna. Hubby and I dined on a Picante Chicken and Rice Burrito filled with lots of chicken. It came with chips and salsa, refried beans, Mexican rice, and a yummy apple empanada, a fried pastry with a dollop of ice cream. We then enjoyed a leisurely stroll along a nature trail the students maintain where abundant wildlife such as foxes, owls, hawks, birds and butterflies can be seen.
Is there a historic structure in your community that serves as a restaurant?
Cecilia Harris is a professional freelance writer from Abilene who enjoys discovering fascinating attractions, events and people that reflect the arts, culture and heritage found in Kansas. She has been a longtime regular contributor to KANSAS! magazine and also has written for such publications as Midwest Living, Sunflower Living, Kansas Heritage and The Greyhound Review to inspire others to explore and appreciate her home state. She also has authored two books, “Historic Homes of Abilene” and “Abilene’s Carousel.”