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eats around athens and between athens and asheville

i'll be visiting athens from san francisco for a few days. there may even be a road trip from athens to asheville involved.

i'm seeking some seriously delicious eats in athens, asheville, and on the road between the two. i'm talking soul food and no-bullshit southern cooking. i had meals at the dillard house a few years back that blew my mind.

got any recommendations?

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  1. If you looking for southern/soul/meat-and-three, try Wilson's in downtown Athens.

    1. Also, Weaver D's, Peaches, Mom's Home Cooking.

      1. If youe are going to be in Athens and looking for the real thing in southern cooking go to Weaver D's. D's is the real thing and an institution in town. "Automatic for the people"

        1. Harry Bissett's


          Get the oyster sampler and the filet au poivre or the uptown stuffed filet. Yes, I realize filets are over-rated but these two versions are delicious. Bissett's is about the only must-visit restaurant on my list when I fly back home to Athens a few times a year (from Boston).

          Lots of raves for Five and Ten but I've only been there for cocktails so far.

          I think Weaver D's is over-rated but still good.

          I'd like to try this Jot 'Em Down I keep hearing about for barbecue when I go home next time. Mike and Ed's, which I heard closed, served passable chopped pork but Athens was kind of lacking in the 'cue department.

          The steak "cubano" at ... I forgot the name, someone can help me I guess. It's located in Five Points near the newish liquor store/by the laundromat, used to be out on Tallahassee? Anyway, not the most authentic cubano but it's one hell of a steak sandwich.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Dax

            I meant Normaltown, not Five Points

            1. re: Dax

              Jot 'Em Down is really good bbq. Tender, and they give you a wide range of sauces: ketchup, vinegar or mustard based. And sometimes they smoke things other than pork - I know I've seen 'em do quail.

              And Dax, I think you're thinking of Cali n Tito's on Lumpkin?

              1. re: AmyWatts

                Jot 'Em Down is very good. I'm a Carolina boy, and I know good pulled pork when I see it. They're not the best of the best, but they are very good. Great atmosphere, too.

                1. re: AmyWatts

                  Yeah, but back in 7/06 I was thinking of the incarnation that was in Normaltown, which apparently moved to Lumpkin (and is now called Cali n Titio's).

                  Anyone been to the new taqueria on Tallassee Rd yet? That location started as a Huddle House, then went to Normal Cafe (or something like that?) and might have even been something else in between.

                  1. re: Dax

                    Not bad. Limited menu, friendly people. I just had a torta asada which was finely minced beef nicely spiced with fresh (not canned) jalopenos some avocado lettuce and tomato. Not bad not great. Need to try more to get a real feel but over all about as one would expect for a mom and pop type place. Speaking Spanish is helpful but not essential

                    1. re: gashrink

                      I went by yesterday after I posted. Apparently it's owned by the same owner of La Jalisco. I had two tacos, one al pastor and one carnitas (mmmm pork) with the usual cilantro, onions and lime, plus some salsa verde (which was thick). Good, but not amazing. I agree that the people are incredibly friendly. Also liked the (I assume) homemade tamarind juice. Finally, make sure you ask for the homemade picante which had a mild kick. It's a different experience from La Jalisco, more cleaned up I guess.

              2. Get your fill of "southern" in Athens and do Salsa's in Asheville. It's Carribbean from a Puerto Rican chef via NY, who is an artist. In Asheville, the Southern stuff is so often aimed at tourists.

                1. For a healthier--but just as tasty--alternative to Weaver D.'s, et al, try The Grit, near the UGA campus. It's downhome vegetarian.

                  Then you can spoil it all with one of their decadent desserts.

                  1. The Grit is a great place to soak up the local "flavor" and some good vegetarian food. Breakfast burrito is the best after a night out on the town!
                    Five & Ten is excellent - on the higher $$ end for Athens, but one of the best restaurants.
                    Downtown: Last Resort, The Grill, Five Star Day, Harry Bissets, East West Bistro.
                    Weaver D's for meat & 3. "Automatic"
                    If you're going to bars: Manhattan, 283, Harry Bissets

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: weez

                      If you're looking for wholesome vegetarian food or competent service, The Grit is most definitely not the place. But if you're a starving indie rock bass player who's really hung over and just woke up at the crack of noon, the huge portions of grease will make your day.

                      Weaver D's is overpriced, but if you catch the chicken right out of the fryer, it can be a sublime experience. Especially if you're a R.E.M. psycho fan of a certain age from way out of town.

                      The lunch crowd is huge at Five Star Day Cafe, but it's worth the wait for slightly eclectic meat-and-threes. Arguably a more authentically Athens experience than either The Grit or Weaver D's.

                      Five and Ten is simply the best restaurant in town, and favorably compares with the best in Atlanta. Good ingredients, simply and imaginatively prepared without pretense. Very well-chosen wine list, too.

                    2. I'm a 48 year old high school English teacher who gets up every day at six a.m. to run. I've never had anything greasy at the Grit, and the service--while sometimes slow--is never less than friendly. Haute cuisine it's not--nor is it intended to be. I think restaurants should be judged by the same criteria as poems: Does it succeed at what it aims to do, no matter how humble. The Grit aims to serve tasty, inexpensive, Southern-style vegetarian fare, and by that standard is a good restaurant.

                      1. Gotta say, if you're coming from that grand old town of SF, you'll be mightily disappointed by almost all food options in Athens. I cannot in good conscience remain silent. As for the good stuff:

                        5&10 is one of the best restaurants in the South. Highly recommended.

                        Jot 'Em Down serves some of the best Q I've ever had, and that's coming from a Carolina boy. Great for lunch.

                        Weaver D's isn't terrible, but it ain't all that, either. My sainted grandmama would not be impressed.

                        As for every other restaurant in town, I'd give them grades of decent at best. There's a certain college town mediocrity that pervades the culinary culture of Athens. Some of the "nicer" restaurants get away with almost criminal levels of inconsistency. The fact that most of the cooks in town sre working to support a rock and roll lifestyle doesn't help, I suspect, what with hangovers and the like.

                        Having rudely ranted, I will say in my defense that you did ask for "seriously delicious". And you are coming from one of the foremost food towns in the world, so I felt the need for brutal honesty....

                        1. As an Athensite and former food critic for the Red & Black who is currently living in Atlanta against my will, I can tell you the restaurants that I wake up craving on an at least weekly basis.

                          Five Star Day...quirky meat and three. Go for the mozzarella and mushroom stuffed meatloaf and the luscious mac-n-cheese. Any of the specials are always good.

                          Clocked!...no sign other than "diner." Located on Washington St. A typical retro diner but serves out of this world cajun fries with feta sauce. My main craving. Also does a mean falafel burger as well as a strangely delicious peanut butter bacon burger.

                          Farm 255...I can't believe no one has mentioned this. It's directly behing Clocked! Although it has been about 18 mos. since I have eaten here, I have only heard that it has improved. They have their own farm and use only local and usually organic ingredients, creating their menu daily. Chef recently interviewed in Atlanta Cuisine, got a great review.

                          Big City Cafe (formerly Big City Bread)...My personal favorite. A stellar bakery with a huge outdoor seating area. Organic farmers come on Saturdays to sell their produce. Fabulous biscuits stufed with anything. Homemade yogurt. Awesome sandwiches with homemade mozzarella.

                          Yum! I feel a roadtrip coming...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: stacystacy13

                            we were planning on going to five and ten for dinner tonight. do you know if there are vegetarian options there? what time does that early bird special start?? what time do the organic farmers come to big city cafe? i would love to check that out.

                            1. re: lavendula

                              Are you referring to the prix fixe? Apps are veg, but no substitutions apparently for mains. 3 seatings, reservations required. 5:30, 5:45 and 6 only


                              1. re: Dax

                                Off of the prix fixe there are several vegetarian appetizers, soups and salad and for an entree there is a vegetarian pasta. You may be able to get a vegetable and grain plate made up special if you ask especially if Hugh is in the kitchen.

                            2. re: stacystacy13

                              They've switched chefs at Farm since then, I think. I'm trying to remember when the new one came in.