by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace
At The Oxford Creamery, the goal is to play on nostalgia.
“We strive to make ice creams that taste like they’re from here, or taste like another time,” said Denver Bridwell.
Before Oxford Creamery opened in August 2019, Hudson Magee, the owner, hired Bridwell as the chef. For Bridwell, who has worked from butcher shops and fine dining alike, his brain’s now frozen on the sweet treat.
“I’ve had a lot of fun,” he said. “I look forward to coming here every day, and miss it when I’m not here.”
For Magee and Bridwell, the goal was to bring southern classic flavors and memories while sourcing ingredients locally and seasonally, trying to gather ingredients within three surrounding states. For certain flavors, Bridwell can supply some ingredients himself, like the mint he grows on his farm in Water Valley.
He’s found that ice cream presents a fun challenge of balancing sweetness and other flavors; one of the tricks up his sleeve? Buttermilk.
“I don’t know if anyone would argue with me, but I would say I’m the biggest fan of buttermilk that works on the Oxford Square,” he joked. “The thing that I’ve learned the most in the kitchen from all of my years is balance – try to achieve balance.”
Not all the ice creams use buttermilk, but some flavors, like the lemon butter cake, put it to good use.
Bridwell, who moonlights as a stand-up comic, likes to play on words for the names of his creations – Oxford Coma instead of death by chocolate, which also plays on the concept of an Oxford comma (he said that flavor garners the attention from a lot of English students and professors). But for him, the best part of his job is the availability to patrons.
“With $3 scoops of ice cream, we’re serving everyone. I hadn’t been in a restaurant setting where that was the case,” he said. “The most fun thing for me is looking through that window and seeing the looks of satisfaction on all the people’s faces.”