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Mar 31, 2012 08:47 AM

Is Athens covered in the Atlanta board? 1 dinner, 2 lunch (BBQ and/or Mexican)

Hi. My dc is West Georgia born and raised, then went to UGA. We will be spending 36 hours in Athens on a larger Georgia tour. It has been 13 years since she graduated, and maybe 8 since she set foot in Athens. Supposedly you guys have great bbq and better then Boston Mexican. It makes sense to me. However, she has no idea where to go to get these things. So we are looking for recommendations for a bbq and a Mexican lunch as well as a list of the 3 most interesting and/or tasty places. Price not a huge issue for the dinner as the rest of our week will probably be in the homes of my various in-laws, so 1 blow out dinner is fine.

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    1. Athens is actually on the Southeast Board. if you go there and do a search, you'll find lots of posts, although I don't think there have been many lately. For bbq, try Jot 'em Down or the Butt Hutt. Can't really help with mexican, although I seem to recall a place called Taqueria del Sol being recommended.

      I don't usually do bbq or mex when in the Classic City, but I do like Weaver D's, Mama's Boy, Farm 255 and the National. Five and Ten is generally considered to be the best restaurant in Athens, for your blow out dinner.

      8 Replies
      1. re: carolinadawg

        I agree and this thread will probably be moved.

        Butt Hutt moved out to Jot Em Down's Macon Highway location (I think). JeD closed. The 'cue at the Baxter location was pretty good but not exceptional.

        Taqueria del Sol is probably the best Mexican in town, although Aqua Linda can be good too. Their tortas rock. I eat there about every time I visit. There is a new, larger location on the Atlanta highway.

        Agree Hugh's places are probably the best high end in town.

        1. re: Dax

          My dc was a UGA student back in the day and always tells me about the bbq and Mexican. I assumed she was right on with the bbq, but was skeptical about the Mexican. In my ignorant Northern head I figured she meant cheesy (literally and figuratively) Tex-Mex. Who ever heard of Mexican immigrants in the South? Apparently everyone but me knew about this. Anyway. Thank you for the help. We will be touring a fair amount of the state so finding bbq does not seem difficult. Are the Hugh Acheson places "southern" food? Or fine dining with southern accents, or for that matter what do locals think of as a blowout fancy meal?

          1. re: coolaugustmoon

            I grew up in Athens, went to UGA, and still go back to visit my mom there. Five and Ten is Southern in general and is the blowout fancy meal for Athens.

            There are a lot of chicken farms/processors in GA so yes, there was a lot of Latinos living in the area. While cheesy Mexican is available, places like Taqueria del Sor or Sr. Sol or whatever it's called these days, have authentic tacos, tortas, soups, etc.

            1. re: Dax

              We have too much of the cheesy kind in Boston and not enough authentic, so I am looking forward to that.

              1. re: coolaugustmoon

                I know. I lived in Boston from 1998 to 2006 and lamented the lack of good Mexican up there. You have some decent taquerias and the place in Eastie is supposed to be good but ...

                I just posted a thread on the Boston board about my trip there a week ago. Good times.

                White Tiger or Heirloom are good and would work for your non-taco lunch, but are not going to be any better than you can get in Boston.

                Georgia is not the best barbecue state.

                Farm offers brunch but not weekday lunch unless the cart is back.

                1. re: Dax

                  I saw that thread. Sounds like you had a good time (I went to Gourmet Dumpling on Monday). Mexican is improving here, but no one can get it just right. Does an Athens area specialty exist? Or better yet Dax, what would your itinerary be if you were going back to Athens instead of Boston?

                  1. re: coolaugustmoon

                    Athens is no where close to Boston or even Birmingham, AL culinary-wise yet. It has some highlights (Five and Ten, the National, sometimes Farm, and a few others) but a lot of it is cheap food for students on a budget.

                    I almost always stop by Sr. Sol as it's good and close to my mom's house. We usually just grab a torta and/or a few tacos, although they had a Birria years ago around Christmas that I still remember.

                    Do Five and Ten for your blowout meal.

                    As far as White Tiger, I hear great things about it but still have not tried it. You might actually want to go to the newish rooftop bar over the Georgia Theatre for a beer so your DC can look out over the Athens skyline (don't laugh). They also serve the bbq sandwich from White Tiger there, although I cannot say whether it's good.

                    I also liked my visit to La Dolce Vita for lunch for a few drinks and to try their carpacci but you can get that at any decent joint in Boston's North End.


                    Skip pizza, Italian, and anything remotely ethnic except Latin. I would also skip the Last Resort except their brunch can be ok - some swear by it but it's a meh in any other city.

                    Trapeze is great for their beer list; the food is forgetable.

                    1. re: Dax

                      Cool. Thanks for the tips. I hope to spend at least as much time eating as I do hanging with the in laws (doing the whole extended in-law family thing.). As a native New Englander, I never figured I would be excited about 2 weeks driving around Georgia and the Panhandle, but I figure I can eat well, and probably for less $ then the equivalent back home. Plus being married to a Georgian and meeting her family has destroyed any biases I had about the deep south.

      2. We visit about 4 times a year and these are our don't miss list.

        For BBQ Harry's pig shop is great although a little hard to find sometimes. Their smoked wings with home made blue cheese or ranch dressing are one the best dishes anywhere. I love their sides as well, especially squash casserole. The menu is different.

        One of my favorite places is Farm 255. I especially like the charcuterie plate. They have changed chefs recently and I have heard good things.

        Also recommend White Tiger Gourmet. They have a small amount of seating inside but have seating outside.

        We lve Ike and Janes for muffins or donuts.

        We also like Weaver D's and Trappeze Pub too.

        On our list to try
        5 and 10

        8 Replies
        1. re: wekick

          Does the Athens area BBQ compare well with the rest of the state? We are driving, first from Atlanta airport to Athens. Then to Augusta and eventually to more distant in-laws in Tallahassee. If we only have 3 non breakfast meals in town (apparently we are going to the Grit for breakfast to allow my dc to relive her college vegetarian years), should we postpone the BBQ to another part of the trip and find a casual but food serious place for the non taco lunch?

          1. re: coolaugustmoon

            I think Harry's has Georgia BBQ but some other unique items as well. It stands out to me but probably because I am addicted to the wings. We come from the midwest-KC-St Louis-Memphis-Nashville BBQ and have had Q in Alabama at quite a few places and have had it a few places in Georgia.

            The White Tiger has Q and other options including vegetarian. It is excellent quality if that's what you mean by food serious. When you first drive up, you might have second thoughts but ...don't . Love the happytop cheeseburger. No credit cards there.

            Farm 255 also has a food cart for lunch, with picnic tables depending on where it is. I think their facebook page has the menu(limited) for the day. We've had Bánh mì there.

            Those are all very casual but food serious places in my mind.

            You could also go to the National for lunch.

            1. re: wekick

              I don't think the farm cart has opened back up yet for this season?


                1. re: wekick

                  We are coming in early May, so the cart will work for us! Just doing my homework a bit early. The dc's vegetarian ways have long ago vanished, however she still waxes poetic about the Grit.

                  1. re: coolaugustmoon

                    Dax in his 4/5 post has it right. Athens is not the best place for BBQ but BUTT HUTT and Harry's are OK as is Fresh Air. Look to the southeastern board for BBQ in south Georgia, Augusta and Atlanta. The spot on top of the Georgia Theater is really a great idea for a BBQ Sandwich and a sky eye view of downtown. For a quick crayfish or shrimp taco Fuzzy's is really good (New parking deck next to the Theater.)
                    Sr.Sol took over the a place on the Atlanta highway and they are muy auténtico. I also like Auga Linda.
                    5 & 10 is the best spot in Athens hands down. Their early bird dinner is a great meal for a very modest price

                    1. re: gashrink

                      Stopped by Harry's this weekend for some ribs (they only have baby backs) and hash. Both were pretty good although ask for the rib sauce on the side as it is pretty sweet.

                      Also grabbed a pepperoni pie (takeout, but I grabbed it as it came off the line) from Transmet (Oglethorpe) and it was decent but greasy. Little Italy is better.

                      Sushi rolls at Utage were ok but nothing special.

                      Tacos at Aqua Linda were good as usual.

                      1. re: Dax

                        I'm relatively new to CH, but we have lived in Athens for 20+ years. Fortunately, the restaurant scene is much improved since 1990. I'll just post a quick update related to the most recent posts.

                        Even though Chef Acheson has opened another restaurant in Atlanta (Empire State South), we believe that 5&10 is still the best place for fine dining in Athens. I also concur that The National and lately Farm 255 are just a bit behind 5&10 -- but both have more funky Athens vibe and are very enjoyable. The Branded Butcher also has potential (as in habanero bratwurst and very good cocktails), and I believe it has also taken over the Georgia Theater rooftop restaurant.


                        About authentic Mexican. Taqueria Del Sol is fusion southern food/Mexican (e.g., BBQ tacos???), which is not to our taste. However, if you go while the green chilis are in season (late summer/early fall), you will have the best chile rellenos you have ever had in your life! Light and not greasy, and incredibly delicious. Pretty good margaritas too. We go at least once a week while the chilis are in season, but give it a pass the rest of the year. Agua Linda used to be good, but our last few experiences there were meh. Although it does have the best margaritas. We prefer Sr. Sol, even though its margaritas are so bad that I am compelled to switch to Negra Modelo to wash the food down. (If anyone knows what to order to get a good margarita at Sr. Sol (i.e., a fresh one without the mix and with better alcohol), I'd be forever grateful.) But the food is good, and it is close to our condo. All that said, we like Tlaloc the best. By far. It is a real hole in the wall, and not in the best section of town. But it is delicious, real, and incredibly inexpensive. Service is very friendly. I want to try the pupusas (which are Salvadoran, not Mexican), but at least so far I have not been able to get past their chilaquiles.


                        Some people like the new Pulaski Heights BBQ, and it has a great bourbon selection. However, the one time we went at 8:00 pm, they were out of meat. As in completely out of meat (and this was before they had the catfish). So there were no main courses available. The sides that we ordered could have used some work (smoked cauliflower a bit too crunchy, and mac and cheese a bit too runny). We will have to give them another try, however, as the idea of the place is very appealing. Does anyone else have a report on PHBBQ?