Athens, Georgia, is not just famous because of the University of Georgia and a longstanding music scene. It is also a small town which foodies dream to go to. The city caters to different people - starving students, struggling musicians, well-heeled professors and worldly patrons. That's why is also provides a variety of restaurant choices. Majority of the community's eateries make use of omegrown, seasonal or sustainable sources for ethical and tasty cooking. To experience Athens' diverse center, a handful of classic, musically historic and lasting establishments take precedent.
There are more than sixty restaurants in the downtown culinary scene. Fortunately, Paste Travel compiled the five classic bakeries, bistros and diners that keep the Classic City well-fed:
1. The Grit
The place is solely a vegetarian fare. Their veggie and vegan-friendly dishes have been delighting omnivores since the early nineties. The entryway has pressed-tin ceilings, exposed-brick walls, colorful chalkboards with daily specials and wide windows permitting natural light to illuminate the impeccably decorated sweets. The staff mostly consists of Athens musicians and local art is shown on the walls. Keeping up with its true Athenian style, The Grit provide an eclectic menu with choices ranging from Mediterranean-inspired to Southern classics. Try the "Tofu & Veggies," a Grit mainstay otherwise known as a "Golden Bowl for Breakfast," for a great start to the morning.
2. Ike and Jane's
Situated in Normaltown, around one mile west of Athen's downtown, Ike and Jane's is marked by a donut painted on the kitchen hood's chimney. Colossal cinnamon rolls and freshly-baked donuts fill the display case of this bright and unassuming bakery. Likewise, early risers line up and empty the shelves by 10:00 a.m. The café is also concerned with its health-conscious crowd, including gluten-free and vegan donuts in addition to lighter fare- like parfaits and frittatas. It gives a ten percent discount to all who do the day's proposed charade such as flying a plane or ordering in a Darth Vader voice.
3. The National
It offers North African and Spanish dishes, but all ingredients are locally sourced. Co-owner Hugh Acheson believes The National "blends the comfort and smarts of a community restaurant with an international feel that makes us all comfortable global citizens." Their tree-shaded terrace is definitely an alternative to experience a late afternoon of conversation in good company with The National's cheese plate or appetizer filled with seasonal produce and a glass of wine.
4. Last Resort
Located in the heart of downtown Athens, The Last Resort Grill has been creating Southern dishes with a modern twist since 1992. It's situated at the corner of Clayton and Hull streets just down the hill from the Georgia Theatre. The restaurant involves a culinary community dedicated to giving back to charities and nurturing strong bonds with neighbors like local bakers and growers that frequently bring the freshest ingredients to the table. A must-try is the Last Resort's Praline for "an old signature" entrée of chicken breast glazed with walnut-honey.
5. Weaver D's
The restaurant has become an Athens staple, celebrating 30 years. Their Delicious Fine Food claims the slogan "Automatic For The People" on a letter board over the storefront canopy which became the title of R.E.M.'s 1992 album. The store's owner Dexter Weaver offers substantial servings of Southern soul food favorites like fried chicken, pork chops and classic casseroles. Try having lunch with their macaroni and cheese paired with collard greens and sweet tea.