Oxford owner ready to take patrons on ‘culinary journey’
Lodi’s latest restaurant will be opening its doors next month, bringing a new kind of flavor and style to downtown.
Narender “Neil” Ramarapu, owner of The Oxford Restaurant located at 110 W. Oak St., said his new venture will take patrons on a culinary journey inspired by the international eateries found in London, with a menu spotlighting not only fare from the United Kingdom, but from the Mediterranean, South Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe as well.
“From the first time I visited Lodi, I was struck by how much it reminded me of Napa and Sonoma, with its many distinguished winemakers and dedicated farmers; and more so of the multicultural diverse population of Lodi,’’ Ramarapu said. “We want to create a destination spot for great food and drink that highlights local products to serve local families and visitors alike.’’
Ramarapu had a soft opening for The Oxford on Nov. 8, with only the bar serving customers for the time being. He is hoping to be fully open with complete menus for brunch, lunch and dinner by the end of the year.
The former home to Vine and Branches Christian bookstore, once fully open, the Oxford will be able to seat 140 patrons, and is slightly larger than Ramarapu’s Oxford Kitchen & Gastropub in Sunnyvale, which he opened in 2016.
The gastropub features an international executive chef, sous chef and manager that have brought their global culinary experiences to the South Bay, and The Oxford here in town will be no different.
Joining Ramarapu as co-owner are Michelin-starred executive chef Srijith
Gopinathan, of the renowned Campton Place bar and Bistro in San Francisco, as well as Palo Ettan, a Cal-Indian cuisine restaurant in Palo Alto.
Nick Kosevich, bar consultant and cofounder of the artisan bitters company Bittercube, will be joining the pair as third co-owner.
“While a few of the signature dishes will be familiar from the Sunnyvale restaurant, the majority of the menu will be completely new and inspired by the organic and sustainable bounty of the Central Valley,” Ramarapu said. “It’s food that’s creative, exciting, and eminently shareable.”
The Oxford’s kitchen is outfitted with a Japanese grill, able to roast a whole chicken to a bronzed crisp, which will be served with seasonal side dishes, as well as a house-made lacto-fermented hot sauce.
In addition, the kitchen’s gas-fired oven will turn out whole roasted fish, a classic Britishstyle Sunday roast, steaks and California-inspired flatbreads.
Of course, there will be UK standards such as shepherd’s pie, Great Britain’s tikka masala and original fish and chips.
“In fact,” Ramarapu said. “Gopinathan, who cooked in Oxford, England for a spell, learned the secret for an especially light and crisp batter that envelopes the premium cod from Michelinstarred British Chef Nigel Howard.”
The bar will feature classic cocktails, as well as unique and original libations that feature fresh juices and house-made syrups.
A wine list will highlight local winemakers, and more than 20 craft beers will be available, of which about half will be on tap, including Ramarapu’s own Oxford Artisan Ales, which have been very popular at his Sunnyvale location.
“The smooth, balanced beers are infused with different spice blends, such as the Oxford Saffron White IPA, which marries an American India Pale Ale with a wheat-based Belgian Wit, and incorporates the world’s priciest spice for a true twist,” he said.
With a décor that evokes the spirited streets of London, the Oxford will feature a 20seat bar, a 40-seat lounge area, a 60-seat main dining room, and a 30-seat overflow dining room. A two-level patio will also offer plenty of outdoor seating.
Once fully open, the Oxford will eventually offer catering for special events as well.
For more information, call 209-263-7234, or email general manager Brandon Greene at email@example.com.