Where the Big Dawg should eat

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.

62 comments Add your comment

robertd2008

July 1st, 2009
2:20 pm

Don’t forget Kelly’s Authentic Jamican Food. Its wonderful, a staple of my diet while finishing up my undergrad at UGA.

Saint Simons

July 1st, 2009
2:26 pm

45-42!!!!!!!! hahahahahaahahahahahahhahahahaha

Saint Simons

July 1st, 2009
2:28 pm

eat at burger king thats where all uga grads work!!!!!hahahahahahahahaha

Ben

July 1st, 2009
2:32 pm

Anytime I’m in Athens I usually go for Peaches for lunch and The Grill for breakfast.

Dink

July 1st, 2009
2:32 pm

Weaver D’s, the best cure for a hangover in Athens. As Weaver will tell you, the fried chicken “is the bomb!”

GO DAWGS!

gagata

July 1st, 2009
2:34 pm

You will eat where and when the GATORS tell you.

Tom

July 1st, 2009
2:46 pm

Allen’s is a classic. Saw Bobo running away from there just the other day.

Robert

July 1st, 2009
2:52 pm

BBQ – Jot ‘Em Down
Soul Food – Weaver D’s, there is also Food For the Soul that has an all-you-can-eat buffet
Pizza – Little Italy, also Your Pie, the new joint that lets you custom make your own pizza, both are good and cheap.
Burgers – Blind Pig
Mexican – Agua Linda (best Mexican ever)
Burritos – Barberitos
Sushi – Skokitini
Harry Bisset’s is incredible, get the mahi-mahi smothered in crawfish etouffe.
Kelly’s Jerk is really good as is Cali N’ Tito’s down the road, that whole Lumpkin corridor near Five Points has some really good eatin.

Gotta love Athens, sooooo much good food.

theTruth

July 1st, 2009
2:58 pm

ROBERT, where is Aqua Linda? Good mexican food is hard to find. I personally get a hot dog at the game or at the chic fil a across from the bookstore.

RxDawg

July 1st, 2009
3:00 pm

Lol. Blind Pig was always one of my favorites. Of course, living right next door made it a no brainer.

Robert

July 1st, 2009
3:03 pm

theTruth,
Agua Linda is on Prince over in Normal Town, kinda across from the Navy School in that little shopping area. It’s great man; good prices, cold beer and good food. The staff is always exceptional. Get there early though, its always crowded.

Cuz

July 1st, 2009
3:16 pm

Thanks for the props Bill. I like the Blind Pig and the Grill for burgers, both are good.

One of my all time favorites is no more. Russo’s Gyro was a great place to eat. When it opened I went there with a few of my buddies. Being from the country we had no idea what was a “gyro” . And of course we pronounced it with a G. Russo fixed us up some gyros and we were hooked. He sold it to a franchise later and though still tasty, they were not quite as good.

Drew-G-A

July 1st, 2009
3:19 pm

Five Star Day is still my favorite in town. It can’t be beat for the price.

dawes

July 1st, 2009
3:23 pm

georgia won 7 of the last 8 games ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

stoopid

July 1st, 2009
3:25 pm

BBQ – Jot ‘Em Down, Mike an Ed’s a few years ago was awesome!!
Soul Food – Weaver D’s, hands down the best but has gotten a lil pricey
Pizza – Depalmas BY FAR!!!
Burgers – alotta people are saying bling pig, which is very good BUT, if you havent had Clocked you will change your mind immediately!! Bacon cheeeeburger!!
Mexican – Agua Linda—not only the best in athens, but anywhere!! fajita texanas!! another one I would strongly suggest is Cali’n'titos on Lumpkin. I was eatin about 4 of their cubano sandwiches a week!

stoopid

July 1st, 2009
3:25 pm

PS: thanks robert for the copy and paste format!

Island Dawg

July 1st, 2009
3:28 pm

Great Wraps (which I’m aware is a chain with the Athens one being much different from the mall version)is my standard post-game destination. Also a late night Little Italy stop always hits the spot.

“St Simons”, can you please point out one UGA grad who is employed by a fast food franchise? You are such a queer!

Island Dawg

July 1st, 2009
3:33 pm

Sorry, no offense to homosexuals intended. I’m sure St. Simons is as asexual as an amoeba colony.

Spike

July 1st, 2009
3:39 pm

My favorites from back in the day were Sons of Italy for a “Godfather”, Steverinos for a meatball sub, the Varsity on Saturday night, the Chase Street Diner, Allens, the Mayflower, Blanches for a late night breakfast, the Shrimp Boat on Baxter Street, Western Sizzlin on Baxter for a #6 Medium Rare, The Krsytal for some gutbombers, and the Waffle House iced tea for the hangovers. And the greatest beer joints there ever was, The Fifth Quarter on Atlanta Highway and Papa Joes on the top of th hill on Baxter Street. It broke my heart when that place closed. In fact, I want my ashes spread there when I kick the bucket. Ah, good times, good times.

JB

July 1st, 2009
3:39 pm

St. Simmons has been busy at that parking lot that fell in Atlanta…..He didn’t design it, but was the concrete finisher on the job…..drooling over a chance to float out and smooth that concrete again……

JB

July 1st, 2009
3:43 pm

Best food near Tech…… why the free pizza with every ticket……………………At Grant field you hear this on the PA……..Tonight’s attendance 34,317……………Paid attendance 21,545……
GEORGIA TECH THANKS YOU………….

CTNTG

July 1st, 2009
3:44 pm

Five and Ten is as good as anything in the ATL.

shards

July 1st, 2009
3:45 pm

To: St Simons
Re: Illustrious tech players
Eddie Lee Ivory – guilty of rape in Wisconsin and he IS your greatest tailback. No kidding !!! He was great until he got to the NFL.
Reuben Houston- drug arrest two years ago ( had trunk load in his heap on campus )
Two years ago, Frosh recruit- Rape charges
Moony, Lavin and Salsibury- beat up that little girl on N. Avenue and played for Bobby Ross. Steroids?

NCDawg

July 1st, 2009
3:50 pm

I can eat with the worst of them, but I always find a way to visit the Grit when I am down. Sadly not much recently. But I was able to create a great dish there by getting the golden bowl and having them add chili and cheese all over the top of it. When I was at UGA you could get a meal plan there and it was always a nice lunch on my walk home each day.

No one has mentioned anything about Guthries, maybe everyone now goes to the trader who started Zaxby’s. But that was the best place to grab some fingers and trade out that slaw for another piece of texas toast.

I loved the Gyro place downtown across from campus. They had the biggest chunks of cheese in them. I have never found anything like theirs since.

If the Jamaican place you guys are talking about is the one that opened somewhere around 1998 or 1999 on Milledge heading towards Macon Hwy, that place was good. Not much to it, but it was good.

I do miss Allen’s. I used to live across the street and would eat and drink beer there all the time. Coldest beer in town! Will have to check out the new place, but I can guarantee it won’t replace the original.

Chapel Bell

July 1st, 2009
3:59 pm

Yes, Spike. Steverinos “hot and all the way” was my favorite. And a late night Gumby Double Dammit hit the spot as well. (watch the little dipsh*t st. simons jump all over this one)

NCDawg

July 1st, 2009
4:01 pm

Just looked to see if Guthrie’s was even there anymore and see some place called Cane’s there now. Sad how a lot of the best places are no longer there any longer. Still some great ones have survived.

Chapel Bell

July 1st, 2009
4:02 pm

Had almost forgotten about the Shrimp Boat. Aside from the five points Waffle House, Guthries was the hang over cure until it went south. Cleaned many a pennies with the secret sauce. Damn fine sweet tea as well. RIP Guthries.

Daniel #12

July 1st, 2009
4:20 pm

Bill
Is the Boarding House off Milledge still in business? Back in the 60’s and 70’s great food with excellent biscuits.

uga_b

July 1st, 2009
4:25 pm

I would offer up Basil Press and East West Bistro for fancy downtown fare. Someone younger will mention Achims Kabab, which is renamed Uncle something or other. Lots of Mexicali for Margaritas and cheap eats. Lil’ Italy for sub sandwiches as well; Steverino’s also for this.

Honestly, the dude who grills up the burgers at Boars Head late night is as good a cook as we had.

BugKiller

July 1st, 2009
4:26 pm

Athens is the best when it comes to food, especially local restaurants, of the non-chain variety.

Sushi: Utagi, downtown. Just thinking about the maki is making my mouth water.

Burgers: either The Grill or Copper Creek, both located downtown.

Beer: Copper Creek. Best microbrews in Athens.

Pizza: Without a doubt, it’s Little Italy on Lumpkin. New York-style pizza done the right way: cheesy, greasy, thin, and cheap.

Mexican: I definitely agree with everyone else and say that Agua Linda is hands down the best. I like it because of the authentic Mexican tacos, with just carne asada, onions, cilentro, and green chille sauce.

Thai: Siri Thai in The Bottleworks. Man, the pad thai is to die for!

Cheese Steak: Blind Pig Tavern. Also make an outstanding Cuban.

Best Hangover Food: The Grill or The Taco Stand. The Grill because the mashed potatoes and white gravy, and The Taco Stand because the greasy, greasy tacos that keep your insides lubed up.

Best hang after a Football Game Win: Used to be the Mellow Mushroom when it was on Broad, now I would have to say either Little Italy or maybe Blind Pig.

Best hang after a Football Game Loss: where the beer is the cheapest! Haha. Probably would be Barcode, a bar downtown known for cheap American bottles, like Bud Light or Miller Lite.

Cuz

July 1st, 2009
4:28 pm

The Shrimp Boat was jam up. Hit it and them Poppa Joes.

Spike, I have the honor of being the last paying customer to leave the Fifth Quarter, or Swino’s as we called it. We used to climb on the roof from the deck and have our own parties “up top”.

I had forgotten about Guthries, another great restaurant.

I went home with a waitress from Rino’s(Steverino’s) and she gets a call the next morning that the place had burned down the night before. What a mood killer.

K-Town Dawg

July 1st, 2009
4:49 pm

Gotta go to Son’s of Italy to get the REFILLABLE beer mug.

I’ve still got mine, to bad none of the bars here in Kennesaw honor them.

Robert

July 1st, 2009
4:50 pm

Blind Pig has a refillable mug too!

Spike

July 1st, 2009
5:10 pm

Cuz and Chapel Bell.. You guys must be from my era. Remember Bubbers liquor store on Broad Street near the Ramada Inn? Times have changed, haven’t they?

cobradawg

July 1st, 2009
5:15 pm

Ah yes Allen’s and the Shrimp Boat, Loved both. What is the name of the large restrant south of town, charlie williams, or something. They use to take football recruits there?

Rusty Gunn

July 1st, 2009
5:21 pm

My favorite Athens eatery is the Last Resort downtown. No relation to the old bar/music venue we knew back in the day except as to the location. Great menu that changes weekly with something for everyone. Maintains a little of the old hippy/beatnick vibe of the original, too.

Jack G.

July 1st, 2009
5:22 pm

From a Tech Fan—dont be to hard on Saint Simon, he is a pimple faced Juvenile who is just starting Jr. High, or as it is called now Middle School.

Jack G.

July 1st, 2009
5:25 pm

At the risk of dateing myself, I thought the only place to eat in Athens was Poss BBQ.

[...] Pamela Leavey wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptIf, 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. … 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”), … [...]

Cuz

July 1st, 2009
5:45 pm

Cobradawg, you are talking about Charlie Williams Pinecrest Lodge. I took my family there once and they were hooked. Everytime my Dad would come to Athens he would want to go eat at Charlie’s. One price all you could eat. I ate alot back then. The tables would groan with all the food.

Cuz

July 1st, 2009
5:50 pm

Spike, I had a deal with Bubbers and the Schlitz distributorship in town. Probably illegal but hopefully the statute of limitations has run out. For x numbers of kegs bought, I got a free one. And I bought a lot of kegs. The Schlitz supervisors would call me to meet them at Papa Joes on Friday afternoon and buy me all the free beer I could drink. Fortunately, I could stumble home from there.

Island Dawg

July 1st, 2009
6:34 pm

Cane’s/Guthries? Exact same, no loss there except the old school sorority party pics decorating the tables, hilarious; so glad style has changed. Also as much as I love Agua Linda, La Cazuela is the classic and still the best. Admittedly, DePalmas does have better pizza than Little Italy but they’re not open until 3.

St Simon, I would imagine your favorite place to eat, besdides crow that is, would be the old Boneshaker’s

Spike

July 1st, 2009
6:41 pm

Cuz, then you remember Miss Joe at Bubbers then? Pappa Joes was the best. I loved Friday afternoon up there pumping quarters into the “Gorgar” pin ball machine. I was a simple man in those days, and easily entertained. Remember you could get a five dollar checked cashed at the Chevron Mart across from Creswell?

K-Town Dawg

July 1st, 2009
9:20 pm

What about Sky’s Place in that dive motel?
Probably not for the BIG DAWG, but for the underage DAWGS.

Cuz

July 1st, 2009
10:34 pm

Sky went to the old Daddy’s Dollar after the Fifth Quarter closed. The place was a dive before Sky got there and a dive after.

I used to kick open the door at the Fifth Quarter and yell, “Where is this guy named Sky, he owes me money and I am going to kick his a$$”. Patrons would start whispering, “That little guy is going to get killed.” When I ran out of money for a pitcher, I would sit at the door, check ID’s and charge a dollar cover till I had enough money for a couple of pitchers and money for the jukebox.

Cuz

July 1st, 2009
10:36 pm

Yes I know Sky’s real name. His All-America status. What football team he played for in the NFL and what movie he was in. I have not seen him in at least twenty years and I hope that he is well.

Cuz

July 1st, 2009
10:42 pm

Spike, I chose Russell to live in as a freshman because it was sandwiched between Brumby and Creswell. I always dreamed of a sandwich. Oh well, next life.

Bill

July 1st, 2009
11:48 pm

Burgers–nothing beats Clocked-near the 40 Watt–although service can be rude at times.

Jamaican place–terrible service—-no sweetener for un-sweet tea available-should be a crime

Best Mexican is the new place on Prince, across from hospital

Best veggies: Five Star

CUZ: Sky still looks healthy to me; see him walking Milledge regularly.

Bill

July 1st, 2009
11:50 pm

Best Mexican not across from hospital, but is near Grit/bottleworks, across street

Fuel, across from hospital, is overpriced, and has glacial service.

Cuz

July 2nd, 2009
6:37 am

My sister brought up the hamburger at the old Sub and Steak in Five Points right next to Five Points package store. Bob was at the grill so we called ii Greasy Bobs. Killer Burger for little money.

Thanks Bill for the update on Sky.