I am going to be in Athens for the first time in February; I am speaking at a conference. Please share some of the best restaurants in the area. I would prefer "local" cuisine - soul/southern/bbq, but am open to any great restaurants that are there. Thanks.
I'm not sure what days of the week you will be in town, but I think that the BBQ pork sandwich at White Tiger Gourmet is one of the best I've had in Georgia (their hours vary by day). I've been meaning to try Dawg Gone Good BBQ and had a good sandwich at Butt Hut as well. I personally do not care for the food at Copper Creek - if you are looking for pub-style food I would recommend The Globe instead. For the money, I think that The National is the best Athens has to offer in terms of fine dining. I have eaten at Five and Ten, Farm255 and The National and continually return to The National. Farm255 often under-seasons its food and the service can be spotty whereas The National has big city-caliber service and innovative locally sourced dishes with mediterranean influences. If you are a fan of greasy spoons, I'd also recommend checking out The Mayflower for breakfast - order the smoked sausage, biscuits and grits!
If you have access to a car, I would also add Sr. Sol (fantastic Mexican), Ike and Jane (early morning for apple and banana fritters), and Martis at Midday (ladies who lunch-type cafe with delicious sandwiches). Have fun - the food scene in Athens is a large part of what makes me so happy living here for graduate school (as a NYC transplant, no less)!
National and Last Resort have always been very nice. Only one less than great dinner and on that particular night everything was not up to par so I can't be harsh, but the other four times it was good start to finish. Lamb and fig night was a hit for us. Twice our server was excellent in beverage pairings (a good thing). The National is perhaps my favorite for Mediterranean to Georgia style and it is comfortable dining there, very good service on every visit.
Mayflower biscuits are quite simply the best in downtown.
Last Resort has a warm place in my heart, and the reason is because they have always been nice and the food has been consistent. I am friends with most of them (love Tommy and Gabriel) so that is a caveat, their pasta specials are great. How can you argue with a GM so talented as Jaamy or Janine? It is an Athens fixture and it is for a very good reason. I have eaten here more than any other downtown restaurant over the past 18 years.
East West may be up and down at times but the food is the thing and they've been good for a very long time (warning here as well since it was my home from 1994 t0 1/2010). World cuisine, flavorful and encompassing.
DePalma's downtown serves great pizza. Their salads, the Greek for example, have always been good. Bread sticks with spinach and sausage are a staple.
The rissotto at Dolce Vita is the best in Athens. Antonio represents his home town outstandingly well and for the rissotto alone they should be lauded.
Trappeze, what a delight, they had very good sausage plate.
And there is more than beer here so for non drinkers there's no reason to feel marginalized.
Farm 255 does not overwhelm, it is what it is and for the taste of vegetables close to the kitchen they do it well. Pork sampler plate and pate has been spot on. Hamburger is good, just keep it medium rare and all that is positive about grass fed comes to light. Kitchen is at the best of its history. Great iced tea and French press coffee.
Look forward to Flight finding it's niche, as well as something good happening on Clayton Street.
Jittery Joe's roaster is a treasure of great coffees. Charley Mustard is the most likable guy around.
Weaver D's is the complete home grown package for pan fried pork chops and squash casserole.
Five Star Day has great collards, mac n cheese (a nationwide starch now) and pot roast.
Wilson's is home. It just feels like my old home favorite Matthews Cafeteria and that is a delicious thing.
There is great food outside of Downtown as well, but the thing about Downtown Athens (Classic City because of the architecture) is that it almost folded in the 1980s and made a dramatic comeback in the early 1990s to show that it could overcome the morass of chains and strip malls. So for the triumph of being resurrected from decline that alone makes it special.
The chains are back in downtown again. Some building owners have become too greedy with jacked up rent which makes it prohibitive for the local independents. Hopefully it will not succumb to the pressure from outside. It is easy to make friends with any of the restaurants and their people here, it is also easy to find what is good about each of the old and new places.
We don't travel out of central Florida on a regular basis, and don't often have a need to consult Chowhound threads and discussions for restaurant recommendations in other ares. But a few weeks ago, we made plans to travel to Athens, GA to meet a friend who had recently moved to that area. This thread on Athens restaurants was a valuable resource. We "knew what we were talking about" and looking for, more or less, when we talked to the desk people at our motel re: "Where's the best place to eat?" We ended up downtown at The Last Resort, and it was the closest to the Morton Theater, where we were to see a play later in the evening. Several in our party had the Roasted Duck Pasta and the dish got rave reviews at our table. We were too full for dessert, and asked the staff about coming back after the play for one of their eye-popping dessert dishes. Theye advised against it, as the place is very popular, esp when college is in session. (We hit it just before Christmas/ winter break). And, true to their advice, we did try after our play (9:45ish) and were told the wait would be more than an hour. Restaurant: great review here. The area and the parking: the pits. Athens is another of those downtowns where they have found the parking meter to be the golden goose. Their parking regimen is very visitor un-friendly. Locals may know the routine of the private parking lots vs the meters, but visitors are at a loss. With that said, if we ever return to Athens, we will definitely look forward to another excellent meal at The Last Resort. And thanks, hlamart and Chowhound for the recommendation.
I agree that Farm is at the top of the list in Athens. The raclette is fantastic and is usually on the menu. Just know that most entrees change with their supply/season and quantities are sometimes limited later in the evening. My very favorite is The Last Resort. Have eaten there for brunch, lunch, and dinner and have never had a ho hum meal. Five Star Day Cafe is the most unique breakfast joint around. If you eat their biscuits and gravy in the AM you won't want to eat the rest of the day!
Five Star Day Cafe
229 E Broad St, Athens, GA 30601
Farm 255 is an excellent, farm to table retaurant in Athens. They actually run the farm where most of the food comes from. www.farm255.com
For traditional southern, I love Weaver D's. Mama's Boy is is also good for southern with a twist; only open for b'fast and lunch.
255 W Washington St, Athens, GA 30601
Chef Lamar's is one of Athen's best restaurants. Go to Copper Creek for good food and cold drinks. Five and Ten is also a great restaurant. Five Star is a good southern comfort food place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Fresh Air has good BBQ. Porterhouse Grill is a great fine dining for dinner only restaurant.
Chef Lamar's Iron Grill @ 1155 Mitchell Bridge Road Building A, Athens, GA 706 - 543 - 9955.
Copper Creek Brewing Co. @ 140 East Washington St., Athens, GA 706 - 546 - 1102.
Five and Ten Restaurant @ 1653 South Lumpkin St., Athens, GA 706 - 546 - 7300.
Five Star Day Cafe @ 229 E Broad St, Athens, GA 706 - 543 - 8552.
Fresh Air BBQ @ 1110 Hull Rd., Athens, GA. 706 - 546 - 6060.
Porterhouse Grill @ 459 East Broad Street, Athens, GA 706 - 369 - 0990.
re: uptown jimmy
What about Jot-Em-Down BBQ.? Friends have recommended it to me although they have only eaten at the old location. I have it on a list to try when I'm in town and want a tasty lunch.
If it's chopped Q I'll skip it. I like sliced and prefer a little outside meat mixed in. I was underwhelmed by Paul's east of town. OK, but did not meet my expectation based on reputation. Butt Hut may be an addition to my list if the parking is reasonable. Those 15 min. meters suck. I don't know anytime that I'll park and return in less than 15 min.
Jot em Down doesn't have sliced, but they do have ribs, if that interests you. I think their 'q is excellent. Parking isn't an issue at Butt Hutt...it's not downtown, it's on Baxter up the hill from Sanford Stadium and has it's own parking lot. The BBQ place downtown is called Dawg Gone Good BBQ at the corner of Washington and Hull. Only open Th-Sat.
Yea, I should have added pulled, to sliced as my favorite. That's what I get at my favorite places around Atlanta, made by the three who used to collaborate at Sam and Dave's plus Fox Bros.
I grew up eating sliced BBQ when I lived in Smyrna and ate at Old South and at the several Hickory House BBQ's in the 50's, 60's, Atlanta. Must have slipped back in time with my thinking for some reason. In those days there were not so many choices. I still prefer sliced to chopped at those places which I don't frequent anymore.
Pulled is now my favorite. I should try Jot-em-Down. If it's cooked well it might rival good pulled pork. I like ribs, but don't get them often. I've had some good ones at Hometown BBQ in Lawrenceville and a place called the Rib Shack in Highlands, N.C.
461 Spring St, Highlands, NC 28741
Old South Restaurant
Old S Golf Links, Bluffton, SC 29910
The Hickory House
16161 Whyte Hardee Blvd, Hardeeville, SC 29927