By Elizabeth Tettleton Mason 

Photos by Bailee Ann Waldon, Bruce Newman & Taylor Square Photography

The global pandemic reminded us of how frail life truly was and that our health was not something to take lightly. Annie Haymans, owner of the ByrdHouse Organic Café, decided to fuse her passion for cooking with her drive toward health, wellness, and clean, nutritious eating.

When Annie decided to open the ByrdHouse Organic Café in April 2022, selecting the name was a natural choice: Nancy Byrd, named after her grandmother, who fostered her love and knowledge of food. One of the more beautiful stories in the food and beverage industry is the passing down of legacies over multiple generations. Foodways have a common thread—stories, community, love, and often, family

Nancy Byrd owned several restaurants over the years in Greenwood, Miss. Her first restaurant was called ‘The Byrd House,’ which Annie did not even know until her mother mentioned it after Annie shared her idea for the name of the new café. Her grandparents also owned an Italian restaurant called Carnaggios and later another restaurant called Websters, where Annie gained restaurant experience alongside her grandmother and acquired her passion for food service.

The pandemic accentuated the examination of how we all ate, where we ate, and who we trusted to prepare our food. For some, it was a motivation to focus on nutritious food, for others it was a driver to open a new business that would support others’ dietary journeys.

“The pandemic is one of the things that made me decide to open the café,” said Annie Haymans. “I started getting so mad that our nation is so unhealthy our immune systems were not equipped to fight this virus. I believe that food is medicine, and they say, ‘What makes

you angry is usually what you are passionate about.’ So, I decided the only thing I could do was to offer something healthy and nutritious to our community.”

Annie began creating her cold-pressed juices for herself and her family, which led her to make them for friends.

“Cold pressed’ is the method that ensures the highest nutritional integrity of our juice,” said Haymans. “No heat is used when juicing, resulting in a maximum amount of nutrients, amino acids, phytonutrients, minerals, and enzymes. [This results] in high enz

yme volumes and nutrient consumption with every sip! Our juices are 100% organic, free of preservatives, and non-pressurized.”

ByrdHouse is unique in that it is the only place in Oxford that presses its juices every day, which has a 3-4 day shelf life, and the only 100% gluten-free dining location in Oxford.

“My biggest fear was that I was going to open this café, and no one was going to come,” said Haymans. “It is pretty risky opening a specialty store of any kind, especially an Organic health food café in Mississippi. I have been surprised and overwhelmed and extremely grateful for the amount of business in the first two years. It excites me to know people want to nourish their bodies with good food!”

For many people, a gluten-free diet isn’t a choice but a necessary lifestyle shift that their body has demanded of them, and finding convenient—especially delicious—options to eat is not an easy task. ByrdHouse Café’s items are 100% gluten-free and organic and feature other health-conscious factors such as seed oil-free, refined sugar-free, and only using organic olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.

“Providing quality, clean, nutritious food to the Oxford community is very important to me,” said Annie. “We make everything in-house with the freshest, cleanest ingredients we can find. I wanted to provide the community with nutritious food that makes you feel nourished as well as providing an atmosphere that makes you feel loved and nourished. I want you to feel better when you leave than when you came in!”

From the early days of Annie making her cold-pressed juices and smoothies in her home to a transformation into a brick-and-mortar location, much has evolved, but those mainstays have remained. She’s added espresso to the offerings, a “toast” section and breakfast sandwich to the menu, and grab-and-go meals.

“My personal favorite is any of our homemade chicken salads on top of our Healthy Slaw [… and my favorite] smoothie is the Keto Mint chip.”

Signatures on the menu include smoothies and smoothie bowls, cold-pressed juices, breakfast cookies, Super-food Salad, Byrd Salad, and avocado toast. Customer favorites are the Berry Bliss smoothie, Acai smoothie bowl, Avocado Toast special, and Breakfast Sandwich.

Annie is looking forward to expanding the menu with items such as a lunch sandwich and maybe some brunch items on the weekends, like gluten-free waffles and omelets, but that’s not the only thing on the horizon.

“I am asked regularly if I am interested in coming to Jackson, Memphis, Tupelo, Florida, etc.…. My answer used to be a hard ‘No,’ but not so much anymore. I have ideas of what that would look like, we will just have to wait and see.”

Annie is also toying with other plans to incorporate a wellness community beyond food and beverage options. Be on the lookout for future announcements from ByrdHouse Organic Café on Instagram, Facebook, and