the varsity: burgers
the varsity is an athens institution. the original varsity opened in 1932 on college street across from the UGA campus. in 1963 the varsity moved to a larger location on west broad street. the varsity serves burgers, hotdogs, chili and fries. much better fare than the chain burger restaurants. the varsity also has a location near the georgia tech campus in atlanta.
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Mama Sid's Pizza: where college life meets the rest of Athens
Mama Sid's is an East Athens tradition that spans over 20 years. It was opened by Jim and Sidney Anne Waters, and is now run by their son, Shaun. Their whole family is there many evenings, as are MANY families who come for the fresh, homemade pizza; cheap, cold beer; and a welcoming atmosphere that is fuss-free.
The all-you-can eat buffet is probably the main draw, but the sweet tea is a close second. Native Athenians think of this place as fondly as their own dining room, and people from all walks of life go for good food and, if you're lucky, a great conversation with Mama Sid herself.
Favorite Dish: The pizza is first-rate, but what you might not expect -- and will love! -- are the dough nuggets. They're made of pizza dough, and drenched in garlic butter. They're excellent dipped in Mama Sid's' own homemade ranch dressing.
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Farm 255: Homegrown Ingredients, Great Meals!
Farm 255 opened in Summer 2005 by the Full Moon Cooperative Farm, with a goal of bringing the story of local sustainable farming to the table and connecting people to the source of their food. The atmosphere is really intimate - the kitchen is open to the dining room so you can pretty much see everything. Everything from the decor to the tables themselves seems very natural, and the lighting is very relaxing. I would certainly recommend going here - the food is amazing, and it's awesome to support local farmers!
The Globe: One of Esquire Magazine's "Best Bars in America"
The Globe was named one of the "Best Bars in America" by Esquire (October 2007), and it's easy to see why. With 14 draught beers, 70 bottled beers, over 50 single malts, 35-40 wines, and a full bar, it would seem that the place doesn't even need a food menu - but it has a great one!
The atmosphere is very cozy, with exposed brick and sofas, rocking chairs, and spacious benches from which one can gaze out onto the streets of downtown Athens. Local art is also displayed throughout the bar, complemented by a black and white mural behind the bar which depicts the production of some of the world's best beverages.
The menu is simple and affordable, featuring mainly soups, salads, and sandwiches, but everything I've had has been great. The laid back vibe and good food complement eachother well, and I would definitely recommend grabbing lunch there if you have time.
BASIL PRESS.: BASIL PRESS.
Very charming little restaurant. Great service.
Favorite Dish: Shrimp with pasta (can't remember the exact name of this dish). All the dishes are very creative (mostly seafood, chicken and pasta).
Their cakes are great too.
Jittery Joes at Five Points.: Jittery Joes at Five Points.
This location is my favorite. The entire place is non-smoking:-))))))))))))))!!!!.
I love the way they decorated this coffee shop. It looks like an early 20th century reading room. Very cozy.
Favorite Dish: Another coffee shop in Athens (they have several locations).
Athens, Georgia is a great...
Athens, Georgia is a great place to find unique restaurants. You should definately check out . . .
The Last Resort (upscale twist on downhome cookin')
The Grit (Vegetarian)
The Grill (24-hour burger shop)
Blue Sky (Coffee Shop)
Favorite Dish: If to go to any of these places . . . you should find something you like :)
The Grit: Vegetarian Cafe with Beer
I was led to The Grit by a friend and was glad that I had taken the advice. I am not a vegetarian, but I appreciate being able to eat vegetarian (and especially vegan) food when available.
I came at the end of breakfast on a cold, rainy Saturday. It was close to 11, but they had yet to switch to their lunch menu, so I stuck with breakfast. They have a limited menu of small items plus several omelettes, as well as "specials" that, as I would see later, change quickly when the limited ingredients run out. I chose biscuits and gravy with the vegetarian sausage gravy and a side of cinammon toast.
The atmosphere is very laid-back and cozy. It's in an old building where the walls have been stripped to expose the brick. There are two rooms, both filled with small tables. They have wifi (every place in Athens seems to), but this really isn't a coffee/come-to-study sort of place as it seems to stay relatively full.
The biscuits and gravy came out relatively quickly. The biscuits were fantastic and made with whole wheat flour. The cinammon toast was also good, and wasn't overly buttery or sugary.
My bill came out to about $5.50 with tax.
Favorite Dish: Dessert looked fantastic. Should have gone with that.
237 Prince Woodfire Grille: A Well Kept Secret on Prince Avenue
Last night I had dinner at 237 Prince, which I'm ashamed to say was my first experience on Prince Avenue. Like most people in Athens, I'm drawn to the downtown scene when I go out to eat. Last night I ventured outside my comfort zone - and it was well worth it!
First I just have to say how amazing it is to go somewhere and NOT have to worry about parking! There's a parking lot in The Bottleworks so you don't have to worry about cruising up and down Broad and Clayton fighting for a spot.
Walking into the restaurant, you enter a lounge and bar area which is separate from the restaurant. There is also outside seating on the patio so you have several places to enjoy your meal or a drink. The ambiance is great, the restaurant isn't too big and the big woodfire grill next to the bar is really cool.
The food was amazing, I split a Milledge Pizza (how cute is that - they're each named after a street downtown) with a friend and we still had leftovers. It's not too pricey, and there's much more to choose from than just pizza. They had a great selection of salads, entrees, and pasta dishes. There are great drink specials every night - last night was ladies night, which meant $3 prosecco and $4 bellinis.
All in all, the food was great, the ambiance was great, and there's plenty of parking which is always a plus. I would absolutely recommend going to 237 Prince next time you're out to eat and plan to recruit all of my friends to go back with me.
Last Resort Grill: My Favorite Restaurant in Athens
From the decor to the menu, everything about this place is unique. The food is described as "Noveau Southern cuisine," and as someone who has tried just about everything on the menu, I have yet to be disappointed. Not only is everything amazing, but everything is incredibly reasonably priced for what you're getting.
Dinner entrees range from about $10 - $25 if you splurge on a steak or scallops. Make sure you save room for desert and try one of the delicious layer cakes or cheesecakes, of which different flavors are featured every day. The lunch menu offers a great selection of salads, soups, sandwiches and entrees for between $6 and $8. Sunday brunch is my favorite meal there, with prices similar to the lunch menu and extremely unique breakfast creations. However, make sure you get there early - when the doors open at 11, there is already a wait for a table.
If you're looking for a great atmosphere and wonderfully prepared food without the pretentious prices that tend to go along with such a place, check out Last Resort next time you're in Athens.
Favorite Dish: On the dinner menu, the best dish is the Last Resort Praline. It's a chicken breast stuffed with a mix of cheese and topped with a sweet walnut honey sauce. Like most things on the menu, it's served with grilled vegetables and grits. The combination of different flavors in this dish is unique and amazing!
For brunch, my favorite is the Spinach Feta Grill. It's thick toast dipped in egg batter and grilled, topped with poached eggs, mushrooms, artichokes roasted red peppers, feta, and spinach. This is also a very unique dish you aren't likely to find anywhere else, and like the rest of the brunch menu it's relatively cheap ($6.75)!
Eat like a local!
I am a "townie", so just wanted to give my favorite local spots their due... Best inexpensive fare, hands down for me is The Taco Stand. Three locations in town, but go to the original, at the corner of Milledge and Prince Ave. Very Americanized burritos, tacos, etc. Counter service, and the counter help won't be much..(help, I mean.) But everything is made in house, from the salsa to the chips to the refried beans. For a little more upscale counter-mex, try Barberitos. Huge burritos, now a mini-chain but started by a local guy and still great. I think 3 locations in town now, go downtown on Clayton for the original. While downtown, for a casual sitdown with excellent Italian food (NOT spaghetti and meatballs, but you CAN get that, and it will be good, but go for something more exciting like one of the fish specials) try DePalmas. They have two more locations, the one at Homewood Hills shopping center just off Jefferson Hwy past the bypass is less busy and has wine specials on Mon and Tues. If you're at Homewood Hills on a Wed, drop in at Foxz for a great dive bar karaoke exerience. Or for a burger and bowl at Kingpins...(Just a few lanes, very old school and fun.) I digress. More food info. You can't beat The Grit for vegetarian, but really just for good homestyle food (disclaimer: I was one of the original owners 20 years ago, but with no affiliation now, and if you read any of the other tips, no Michael Stipe is NOT one of the owners.) Go downtown to Clocked for the best burgers in town (run by vegans, go figure.) Or if you want sushi, Shokitini is delicious and with a beautiful interior (or private karakoe rooms upstairs.) For great cheap pizza, Little Italy downtown (you'll feel like you're in New York.) To summarize, GO DOWNTOWN, GO DOWNTOWN, GO DOWNTOWN (or, to Homewood Hills.)
Uncle Otto's (formerly Achim's K-Bob): German staples!!
Achim Reus came to the US over a decade ago, bringing with him a wonderful dish, the k-bob (kebap). No, it is not what you're thinking. He sold his recipe for flatbread to Big City Bread of Athens, which makes it fresh for the restaurant. Walking in, you'll notice the worn hardwood floors leading to the counter and that each table is covered with sheet music, very appropriate for an Athens-based company, and reflecting Achim's musical past. You'll also notice the upright roasters behind the counter roasting chicken and steak for the k-bob you're about to sink your teeth into, and you'll smell the aroma of fresh seasoned Belgian fries, fit for dipping in any of their original dipping sauces, including feta. They shave the meat of your choice and serve it in flatbread, topped with your choice of feta cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, yogurt sauce, and cucumbers, all of which I highly recommend. Plus, there's a comfy sitting area in the front, with magazines to peruse, or you can sit outside and enjoy the bustling university community of Athens.
Favorite Dish: I most like the chicken k-bob with fries and olive (or feta) dipping sauce. Everything's a little messy, but it's all SO good!
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Johnny's NY Style Pizzeria & Subs: NY Italian
Johnny's is a nice Italian restaurant with excellent food and atmosphere. On the left of the restaurant is a giant picture of New York. There were also many other cool paintings and pictures. The food is very good too. The waitress we had was very friendly and hard working, but was not boring while she worked.
Favorite Dish: I had a baked ziti which was very good. Every thing blended well. The salad was awesome. What made it awesome was the dressing which goes with it. The restaurant makes it them self and is great.
- Study Abroad
Update on Athens restuarants
There are several posts on here that are a little dated and might find you wandering lost and disappointed through downtown.
Mellow Mushroom is now called The Tavern, and serves basically the same menu I've heard.
The Garden Room Cafe is now run by Trumps! Catering and is listed as Trumps at the Garden Room.
Sadly, Compadres, Normaltown Cafe, and Blue Sky Coffee are all closed.
Stricklands: Best breakfast in Athens
Stricklands is also open for lunch but I have only eaten breakfast there. The grits are amazingly creamy and good, the scrambled eggs with cheese, the biscuits, the streak-o-lean, almost everything is good here, and the coffee too! Although it is technically in Bogart, Athens is only a mile or 2 down the road.
Favorite Dish: breakfast
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