If, like a lot of UGA fans, you have fond memories of burgers and beers at the old Allen’s Bar and Grill near the Navy School in Athens but haven’t yet discovered the new Allen’s on Hawthorne near the YMCA, it might be a bit easier to find now that the familiar facade from the old place has made it to the new one.
An Athens doctor who bought the large “Allen’s Charcoal Grilled Hamburgers Steak-Sandwiches” sign from an antiques dealer has donated it to the new Allen’s, which has installed it on the roof, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.
Which seems as good an excuse as any to pass along some tips for dining in Athens (just for you, Cuz!).
I’ve eaten a few times at the new Allen’s, which still offers the old Allen’s Burger and the Mad Dog, plus a much nicer Billy’s Burger and salads, wings, chicken tenders and so on. Newspaper front pages and magazine covers on the walls celebrate UGA athletic triumphs and the internationally known Athens music scene.
Another Classic City spot known for its burgers is the Grill, located on College Square. In a town where restaurants come and go in dizzying fashion, the 1950s-style diner has been around since 1981 and is open 24/7. It’s a regular stop for my daughter and me on visits downtown.
A place we like that’s been open a couple of years is Mama’s Boy, on Oak Street a couple of blocks from downtown Athens. They do Southern cooking with the occasional twist, and that’s where we ended up having our family gathering before my son’s recent grad school graduation. The buttermilk-fried chicken breast is really good.
Although Athens has all the chain restaurants you can find everywhere else, my son during his years at UGA preferred to patronize locally owned places, especially those offering soul food. He recommends Weaver D’s Fine Foods just off downtown on Broad Street (made famous by R.E.M.’s “Automatic for the People”), Food for the Soul on Broad Street a few blocks from downtown, and Peaches Fine Foods on Broad Street between downtown and Milledge Avenue.
There are a lot of barbecue joints around Athens, and one we enjoy is Jot ’Em Down Country Store & BBQ on the Macon Highway. It has that weatherbeaten old country store look and is decidedly downscale, but the barbecue is excellent.
If you’re into locally grown sustainable organic food, there’s Farm 255 on Washington Street in downtown Athens. And if your tastes are a little more upscale, there’s the Last Resort Grill on Clayton Street downtown, where the legendary folk music club of the same name used to be located, or rising superstar chef Hugh Acheson’s Five and Ten on Lumpkin Street in Five Points. The latter is pricy but lives up to its considerable reputation.
Right across the street is the original location of the Five Points Deli & More, which makes a great sandwich. They now have a location out on Epps Bridge Parkway as well.
A popular choice for large groups getting together in Athens is the Hilltop Grille on Broad Street/Atlanta Highway (in an old Shoney’s building). The food there is pretty good but a bit overpriced, I think.
And there’s always the Savannah Room at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on Lumpkin Street, right on campus. This one used to be a mainstay for our Sunday family gatherings for birthdays and such for years, but the last time we were there the pot roast was as tough as shoe leather so you might want to look elsewhere despite its convenient location.
Next time you’re in need of a meal in Athens, maybe one of these spots will work for you.