Homemade and ready to go. Photo by T’Keyah Jones.T’Keyah Jones
Mississippians are known to put a little kick in their food and prepare big feasts with a wide spread of meats, sides, bread, desserts, and famous sweet tea. But a new trend that showcases a rare and distinct style of home cooking is stirring the cooking pot – egg rolls.
Lisa Blackmon-Miller, a former University of Mississippi admissions counselor specialist, founded On A Roll! Gourmet Egg Rolls in 2012. With a pop-up restaurant at 2029 University Avenue in Oxford, Blackmon-Miller’s homemade egg rolls are in demand.
Blackmon-Miller owns and operates the business along with her husband, Robert Miller, and a close friend and silent partner. They keep each other grounded and focused on goals.
With the business growing annually, On A Roll! Gourmet Egg Rolls provides food for events. “Our egg rolls are a great addition to any event or party,” said Blackmon-Miller. “Our catering menu is custom to the needs of the client.”
Blackmon-Miller takes pride in seeing the smiling faces of clients. With the business centered around deep fried eggrolls with more than 30 flavor options, including buffalo chicken, Philly steak and cheese, and veggie, they can customize egg rolls for distinct taste.
The menu also includes sides, such as house-made vegetable fried rice, fiesta corn, and chips and salsa; beverages like lemonade, water, the Southern elixir; and desserts, such as cheesecake and cookie dough crunch.
When asked why egg rolls, Blackmon-Miller smiled and said: “Why not, eggrolls? I have always been a creative person, looking to make a statement in everything I do.”
With people occasionally advising her to add some of the more popular market food items, such as burgers and wings, Blackmon-Miller politely declined with her head held high and said with passion, “I wasn’t created to fit in, but born to stand out! We are egg rolls, and that’s it.”
For this hard-working crew and woman on a mission, the business has a three-part meaning: 1. They specialize in gourmet egg rolls. 2. They were created to be a mobile food business. 3. The name signifies that she is walking in her God-given role.
“I hope my business inspires others to seek out their true purpose in life and not be afraid to go out after what is meant for them,” Blackmon-Miller explained. “I am a firm believer that God won’t give you someone else’s dream. Find your own role and seek your purpose.”
Josilyn Roby, a UM senior and former Blackmon-Miller co-worker, said the first time she had a homemade egg roll, it was an amazing feeling and delicious.
“I knew this was something special,” Roby said, reminiscing about the first time she ate a few and fell in love with them. “The egg rolls are made with love, and there is a variety of flavors that I feel really sets this business apart.”
Word has spread about the egg rolls, and customers from Grenada and other areas have begun placing orders.
One of Blackmon-Miller’s goals is to have their navy and lime green food trailer roam around Oxford in spring of 2018. Now, they are working to build a solid crew and transition from a brick and mortar store to a full service food trailer that reaches people wherever they are.
With hearts that continually put customer service first and treat each customer as a guest in their home, Blackmon-Miller wants customers to: “Feel welcomed, excited about our products, and happy they chose us to serve them.”
The business serves as a reminder that all forms of art start with a thought, a desire and passion.