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Where to Eat Right Now in Athens, GA

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Ready for a weekend trip? Contributor Rachel Bailey, an Athens-based writer and server, rounds up some of the best dining in the Classic City. If you've got another favorite, do leave it in the comments.
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Atlanta has long been a pioneering food city in the South, replete with great eats of all stripes, so it's easy to forget that there are gems outside of the perimeter. Just up 316, Athens has been having a food renaissance of its own, led by that unibrowed wit, Hugh Acheson. Whether you're looking for white tablecloths or a hole in the wall, we've got plenty of reasons to make the drive to the Classic City.
Rachel Bailey

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. White Tiger Gourmet

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217 Hiawassee Ave
Athens, GA 30601
(706) 353-6847
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This homey barbecue joint in the Boulevard district feels like going to a friend’s place for a cookout— right down to the side yard full of picnic tables and the frolicking dogs and children of fellow diners. The 'que is a perfect mix of crispy-soft bun and pulled pork with its blackened end bits, and the veggie sides like grilled collards are no slouch, either. [Photo]

2. Pulaski Heights BBQ

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675 Pulaski St
Athens, GA 30601
(706) 583-9600
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Pulaski Heights, run by former 5&10 chef/partner Chuck Ramsey, eschews Southern barbecue’s big-n-sloppy tradition in favor of more neatly presented creations. But don’t let that fool you— the fantastic ribs, redneck reuben (bacon, collards, pimento cheese, and ranch), and array of zippy sides require wet-naps aplenty, just as God intended. [Photo]

3. Just Pho...and More

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1063 Baxter St
Athens, GA 30606
(706) 850-1420
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From the silly name to the admonitions from the ever-present owners to clean your plate and the occasional inexplicably long wait times, this place is an oddball gem. Notably fresh ingredients and rich, flavorful stocks make Just Pho worth repeated visits. [Photo]

4. Home.made

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1072 Baxter Street
Athens, GA 30606
(706) 206-9216
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Mimi Maumus’s supper-club-cum-lunch-joint puts other local down-home cookin’ to shame. The menu is limited, but everything on it— from the pickled deviled eggs to the smack-your-momma good lacquered pork belly sandwich— is near perfect.

5. Five & Ten

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1073 S Milledge Ave
Athens, GA 30606
(706) 546-7300
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Chef Jason Zygmont recently took the reins at Hugh Acheson’s flagship restaurant, and his thoughtful ambition is readily apparent. Combining Acheson’s commitment to simple, local food with haute technique picked up at Noma and Per Se, Zygmont is producing plates unlike any other chef in town.

6. Cinco Y diez

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1653 S Lumpkin St
Athens, GA 30606
The newest addition to Hugh Acheson’s coterie of chefs is Whitney Otawka, formerly of Farm 255, now putting her rustic, comfort food spin on traditional Mexican dishes. The menu features a variety of ceviches, tacos (fried oyster, braised lamb neck), and a welcome emphasis on vegetables.

7. The Old Pal

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1320 Prince Avenue
Athens, GA 30606
Matt McFerron and Daniel Ray’s cozy, Crescent City-inspired neighborhood bar is a Normaltown favorite. Located outside downtown, it’s a dog-friendly haven catering to a laid-back professional/mature service industry crowd and specializing in craft cocktails. [Photo]

8. Normal Bar

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1365 Prince Ave
Athens, GA 30606
(706) 548-6186
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One of Southern Living’s “Best Bars in the South,” Normal Bar was a trailblazer of the burgeoning Prince Avenue bar scene. Essentially the Cheers of Athens, it’s the sort of place you know you can always run into a friend for an after-work beer around the outdoor fire pit or on their sunny patio in summer.

9. Ideal Bagel

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815 West Broad Street
Athens, GA 30601
An offshoot of the long-standing Luna Baking Co., Ideal Bagel is the South’s answer to a Yankee deli. Try the pecan-smoked salmon or Georgia trout bagel for breakfast or one of their perfectly proportioned deli sandwiches for lunch. Wash it down with a cup of Counter Culture coffee and take some Luna bread for the road.

10. Kelly's Jamaican Foods

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1583 S Lumpkin St
Athens, GA 30605
(706) 208-0000
Kelly’s Jamaican jerk chicken and pork are not for the faint of heart, but if you can stand the heat, it’ll make you a devotee. The portions are enormous, everything is positively packed with flavor and the enamel-stripping sweet tea helps cool you down. [Photo: This Mama Cooks]

11. The Branded Butcher

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225 N Lumpin St.
Athens, GA 30601
(706) 850-5152
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Chef Matthew Palmerlee has truly created a hog heaven in The Branded Butcher. There, locally sourced meats are transformed into an impressive selection of charcuterie, without shirking a commitment to veggies and lighter fare. And their half-price oyster happy hour is a steal.

12. Ike & Jane

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1307 Prince Ave
Athens, GA 30606
(706) 850-1580
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A great family spot where you’re wont to find dads munching biscuits alongside daughters out to breakfast in a favorite princess dress, just because, Ike & Jane specializes in donuts both classic and unexpected. Try the Elvis with peanut butter, banana, and bacon, or go for one of their simple sandwiches.

13. Manhattan Cafe/The World Famous

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351 North Hull Street
Athens, GA 30601
(706) 369-9767
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Both downtown mainstays with devoted clienteles, Manhattan Cafe and The World Famous’s status as neighbors has merged them into one entity in the minds of many locals. Bouncing between Manhattan’s bizarro dive vibe and World Famous’s hip cocktails and killer late-night bar food, you get the best of both sides of Athens. [Photo]

14. Clocked

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259 W Washington St
Athens, GA 30601
(706) 548-9175
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Clocked, with its lighthearted devotion to decadent milkshakes and classic monster movies, is a favorite of college kids and townies alike. The diner specializes in burgers, which you can get adorned with grilled veggies or crowned with onion rings, and offer abundant baskets of sides like tater tots and sweet potato fries. [Photo]

15. Los Amigos

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109 Rowe Rd
Athens, GA 30601
(706) 543-9637
There’s plenty of good Mexican food to be had in Athens, and Los Amigos is a hidden jewel. Located in a grocery behind a chicken plant, it does require a smelly walk from the car to the front door. But the selection of simple, delicious tacos— the tender lengua is outstanding— is worth it. [Photo]

16. Cali N Tito's

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1427 S Lumpkin St.
Athens, GA 30605
(706) 227-9979
A meal at Cali-n-Tito’s feels like a party. There’s always boisterous Spanish-language music being piped from speakers onto their roomy patio, where you can dine at a picnic table next to a cage full of parrots or — why not? — in a boat. There’s plenty to choose from on the menu, but why folks order anything other than the excellent Cuban sandwich is a mystery. [Photo]

17. Independent Baking Co

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1625 S Lumpkin St
Athens, GA 30606
If you yearn to breakfast truly continental style— with a croissant and a modestly portioned cappuccino— Independent is a godsend. To start your day there, surrounded by the bounty of their fresh, fragrant, delicious breads, is to set yourself up for success.

18. The National

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232 W Hancock Ave
Athens, GA 30601
(706) 549-3450
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Rounding out the trio of Hugh Acheson’s Athens businesses is The National, helmed by Peter Dale. The menu has a Mediterranean bent, which is reflected both in the cooking style and the emphasis on small plates, offering a chance to try lots without going broke.

19. Siri Thai Cuisine

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367 Prince Ave
Athens, GA 30601
(706) 548-7359
Visit Website
Of the handful of Thai restaurants in Athens, Siri Thai is easily the favorite. The menu is what you’d typically expect— curries, various fried apps and flavorful soups— but the real standout is the crispy duck, available with a variety of different sauces and perfectly cooked every time. [Photo]

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1. White Tiger Gourmet

217 Hiawassee Ave, Athens, GA 30601
This homey barbecue joint in the Boulevard district feels like going to a friend’s place for a cookout— right down to the side yard full of picnic tables and the frolicking dogs and children of fellow diners. The 'que is a perfect mix of crispy-soft bun and pulled pork with its blackened end bits, and the veggie sides like grilled collards are no slouch, either. [Photo]
217 Hiawassee Ave
Athens, GA 30601

2. Pulaski Heights BBQ

675 Pulaski St, Athens, GA 30601
Pulaski Heights, run by former 5&10 chef/partner Chuck Ramsey, eschews Southern barbecue’s big-n-sloppy tradition in favor of more neatly presented creations. But don’t let that fool you— the fantastic ribs, redneck reuben (bacon, collards, pimento cheese, and ranch), and array of zippy sides require wet-naps aplenty, just as God intended. [Photo]
675 Pulaski St
Athens, GA 30601

3. Just Pho...and More

1063 Baxter St, Athens, GA 30606
From the silly name to the admonitions from the ever-present owners to clean your plate and the occasional inexplicably long wait times, this place is an oddball gem. Notably fresh ingredients and rich, flavorful stocks make Just Pho worth repeated visits. [Photo]
1063 Baxter St
Athens, GA 30606

4. Home.made

1072 Baxter Street, Athens, GA 30606
Mimi Maumus’s supper-club-cum-lunch-joint puts other local down-home cookin’ to shame. The menu is limited, but everything on it— from the pickled deviled eggs to the smack-your-momma good lacquered pork belly sandwich— is near perfect.
1072 Baxter Street
Athens, GA 30606

5. Five & Ten

1073 S Milledge Ave, Athens, GA 30606
Chef Jason Zygmont recently took the reins at Hugh Acheson’s flagship restaurant, and his thoughtful ambition is readily apparent. Combining Acheson’s commitment to simple, local food with haute technique picked up at Noma and Per Se, Zygmont is producing plates unlike any other chef in town.
1073 S Milledge Ave
Athens, GA 30606

6. Cinco Y diez

1653 S Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30606
The newest addition to Hugh Acheson’s coterie of chefs is Whitney Otawka, formerly of Farm 255, now putting her rustic, comfort food spin on traditional Mexican dishes. The menu features a variety of ceviches, tacos (fried oyster, braised lamb neck), and a welcome emphasis on vegetables.
1653 S Lumpkin St
Athens, GA 30606

7. The Old Pal

1320 Prince Avenue, Athens, GA 30606
Matt McFerron and Daniel Ray’s cozy, Crescent City-inspired neighborhood bar is a Normaltown favorite. Located outside downtown, it’s a dog-friendly haven catering to a laid-back professional/mature service industry crowd and specializing in craft cocktails. [Photo]
1320 Prince Avenue
Athens, GA 30606

8. Normal Bar

1365 Prince Ave, Athens, GA 30606
One of Southern Living’s “Best Bars in the South,” Normal Bar was a trailblazer of the burgeoning Prince Avenue bar scene. Essentially the Cheers of Athens, it’s the sort of place you know you can always run into a friend for an after-work beer around the outdoor fire pit or on their sunny patio in summer.
1365 Prince Ave
Athens, GA 30606

9. Ideal Bagel

815 West Broad Street, Athens, GA 30601
An offshoot of the long-standing Luna Baking Co., Ideal Bagel is the South’s answer to a Yankee deli. Try the pecan-smoked salmon or Georgia trout bagel for breakfast or one of their perfectly proportioned deli sandwiches for lunch. Wash it down with a cup of Counter Culture coffee and take some Luna bread for the road.
815 West Broad Street
Athens, GA 30601

10. Kelly's Jamaican Foods

1583 S Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30605
Kelly’s Jamaican jerk chicken and pork are not for the faint of heart, but if you can stand the heat, it’ll make you a devotee. The portions are enormous, everything is positively packed with flavor and the enamel-stripping sweet tea helps cool you down. [Photo: This Mama Cooks]
1583 S Lumpkin St
Athens, GA 30605

11. The Branded Butcher

225 N Lumpin St., Athens, GA 30601
Chef Matthew Palmerlee has truly created a hog heaven in The Branded Butcher. There, locally sourced meats are transformed into an impressive selection of charcuterie, without shirking a commitment to veggies and lighter fare. And their half-price oyster happy hour is a steal.
225 N Lumpin St.
Athens, GA 30601

12. Ike & Jane

1307 Prince Ave, Athens, GA 30606
A great family spot where you’re wont to find dads munching biscuits alongside daughters out to breakfast in a favorite princess dress, just because, Ike & Jane specializes in donuts both classic and unexpected. Try the Elvis with peanut butter, banana, and bacon, or go for one of their simple sandwiches.
1307 Prince Ave
Athens, GA 30606

13. Manhattan Cafe/The World Famous

351 North Hull Street, Athens, GA 30601
Both downtown mainstays with devoted clienteles, Manhattan Cafe and The World Famous’s status as neighbors has merged them into one entity in the minds of many locals. Bouncing between Manhattan’s bizarro dive vibe and World Famous’s hip cocktails and killer late-night bar food, you get the best of both sides of Athens. [Photo]
351 North Hull Street
Athens, GA 30601

14. Clocked

259 W Washington St, Athens, GA 30601
Clocked, with its lighthearted devotion to decadent milkshakes and classic monster movies, is a favorite of college kids and townies alike. The diner specializes in burgers, which you can get adorned with grilled veggies or crowned with onion rings, and offer abundant baskets of sides like tater tots and sweet potato fries. [Photo]
259 W Washington St
Athens, GA 30601

15. Los Amigos

109 Rowe Rd, Athens, GA 30601
There’s plenty of good Mexican food to be had in Athens, and Los Amigos is a hidden jewel. Located in a grocery behind a chicken plant, it does require a smelly walk from the car to the front door. But the selection of simple, delicious tacos— the tender lengua is outstanding— is worth it. [Photo]
109 Rowe Rd
Athens, GA 30601

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16. Cali N Tito's

1427 S Lumpkin St., Athens, GA 30605
A meal at Cali-n-Tito’s feels like a party. There’s always boisterous Spanish-language music being piped from speakers onto their roomy patio, where you can dine at a picnic table next to a cage full of parrots or — why not? — in a boat. There’s plenty to choose from on the menu, but why folks order anything other than the excellent Cuban sandwich is a mystery. [Photo]
1427 S Lumpkin St.
Athens, GA 30605

17. Independent Baking Co

1625 S Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30606
If you yearn to breakfast truly continental style— with a croissant and a modestly portioned cappuccino— Independent is a godsend. To start your day there, surrounded by the bounty of their fresh, fragrant, delicious breads, is to set yourself up for success.
1625 S Lumpkin St
Athens, GA 30606

18. The National

232 W Hancock Ave, Athens, GA 30601
Rounding out the trio of Hugh Acheson’s Athens businesses is The National, helmed by Peter Dale. The menu has a Mediterranean bent, which is reflected both in the cooking style and the emphasis on small plates, offering a chance to try lots without going broke.
232 W Hancock Ave
Athens, GA 30601

19. Siri Thai Cuisine

367 Prince Ave, Athens, GA 30601
Of the handful of Thai restaurants in Athens, Siri Thai is easily the favorite. The menu is what you’d typically expect— curries, various fried apps and flavorful soups— but the real standout is the crispy duck, available with a variety of different sauces and perfectly cooked every time. [Photo]
367 Prince Ave
Athens, GA 30601

Related Maps