You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

breaking news

Tornado warning for Cherokee, Cobb, Pickens, Meriwether counties

5 places to eat and drink in Athens


Though it’s home to the University of Georgia, one of the oldest and most prestigious public universities in the U.S., a getaway to Athens always feels like skipping school to me.

Besides UGA, the Southern college town may be best known for its music scene, which spawned the likes of the B-52s, R.E.M.,Widespread Panic and the Drive-By Truckers, along with the famous 40 Watt Club. And musicians, artists and club owners continue to generate a bohemian aura, in shades ranging from punk black to hippie tie-dye.

But, in recent times, a growing number of restaurants, bars and craft breweries have sprung up, along with a community of chefs, bartenders and brewers, offering the kind of food and drink you’d find in much bigger cities — though often at lower prices and with a lot less hassle.

Of course, Hugh Acheson, who now may be best known as a “Top Chef” judge, has long been the heart and soul of the Athens culinary renaissance, with two restaurants, 5&10 and the National, that set the bar for casual fine dining.

Here’s a taste of those two, plus three more places to eat and drink in Athens.

5&10

Some 15 years in existence, and more than two years after moving from its original Five Points location to the cozy confines of a historic home on South Milledge Avenue, 5&10 remains the destination restaurant in Athens.

The dinner menu ranges from longtime Acheson favorites, such as Frogmore Stew, to local and seasonal delights like grilled plantation quail with Carolina Gold rice and braising greens.

Currently priced at $36, the weekly three-course prix fixe menu is one of the best deals in town. And weekend brunch, coffee service and thoughtful cocktail and wine lists complete the picture of a community-minded place with a lot of options every day.

1073 S. Milledge Ave., Athens. 706-546-7300, fiveandten.com.

The National

A partnership between Acheson and Executive Chef Peter Dale (who also owns Seabear Oyster Bar), the National is an easygoing neighborhood cafe and bar in the heart of downtown, offering serious Mediterranean-inspired food and wine, plus top-notch cocktails.

Lunch is served Mondays through Saturdays and dinner is served seven days a week, with an array of snacks and drinks available at the bar throughout the day.

On the dinner menu: tapas such as hummus and stuffed medjool dates; salads and appetizers, including pizzettes made with seasonal ingredients; and entrees like grilled hanger steak with local vegetables.

232 W. Hancock Ave., Athens. 706-549-3450, thenationalrestaurant.com.

Home Made

After nearly a decade working as executive sous chef at 5&10, New Orleans native Mimi Maumus opened this hospitable Southern food stop in a small storefront on Baxter Street.

Starting out as a catering business with weekday lunch and a monthly supper club, an expansion is underway that soon will allow the addition of dinner service Mondays-Saturdays.

The lunch menu features snacks such as house-made pickles and cheese straws, along with healthy salads and hefty sandwiches, like the Mayberry, with pimento cheese, fried chicken, spicy pepper jelly and bacon, stacked on an oversized biscuit.

1072 Baxter St., Athens. 706-206-9216, homemadeathens.com.

Seabear Oyster Bar

Fans of Atlanta’s Kimball House easily will take to this less formal oysters-and-cocktails concept in a convivial corner of the Bottleworks building on Prince Avenue.

Open from 3 p.m. until midnight every day, it offers daily selections of oysters from near and far, plus two oyster happy hours with drink specials starting at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Beyond oysters, the reasonably priced menu includes snacks, soups, salads and bigger bites, with some surprising items, such as Parker House rolls with brown butter and a crispy scallion pancake with sweet rock crab.

Enjoy the traditional absinthe service and fun drinks like a negroni slushy.

297 Prince Ave., Athens. 706-850-4367, seabearoysterbar.com.

The Old Pal

Farther out Prince Avenue in the Normaltown neighborhood, the Old Pal is arguably Athens’ most serious cocktail bar, starting with a narrow, dimly lit storefront space that could be somewhere in New Orleans.

Named for the vintage rye cocktail, the focus here is on seasonal and classic drinks, with good selections of craft beer and old world wine, and a substantial whiskey list. Happy hour is 4 to 6 p.m. daily, followed later on by the 10 p.m. to midnight “power hour.”

Don’t dare go hungry, because the only snacks are olives, trail mix or Zapp’s potato chips. But, if you’re in need of something besides booze, there’s housemade Old Pal tonic, strawberry shrub and citrus soda.

1320 Prince Ave., Athens. 706-850-4340, theoldpal.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Food

Good food in economy? Six airlines are making it happen
Good food in economy? Six airlines are making it happen

Is it really possible for economy passengers on long-haul flights to look forward to the in-flight food? Now, on some airlines, that answer may be a “yes.” While back-of-the-plane cuisine doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being appetizing, and amenities for economy flyers are increasingly few and far between, several carriers...
In Miami, working fresh local ingredients into Indian dishes
In Miami, working fresh local ingredients into Indian dishes

To eat Latin American or Caribbean food in Miami feels utterly natural, not just because South Florida is so deeply infused with those cultures but also because the flavors and ingredients in those cuisines are a perfect fit for the region’s tropical environment. Niven Patel, a chef and Florida native, aims to add another cuisine to those, one...
A blackberry farm chef goes for a broader audience
A blackberry farm chef goes for a broader audience

A big smile broke out on the chef Joseph Lenn’s face when an elderly woman with a cloud of platinum hair burst through the door and waved excitedly at him. “That’s Mary Evelyn,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’m related to her. I’ll have to call my mom later and ask her how.” Lenn, 40, has been cooking...
Plugging a watermelon with vodka ruins both. There's a better way.
Plugging a watermelon with vodka ruins both. There's a better way.

A friend of mine recently told me about a time in college when she and her buds decided to throw an end-of-year party in the picnic area near their dorm. Most of them were still slightly underage, so openly bringing six-packs of beer was a recipe for trouble. But they were college kids, majoring in liberal arts and minoring in high jinks. There was...
McDonald's ends four-decade Olympics sponsorship
McDonald's ends four-decade Olympics sponsorship

Citing a decision to "focus on different priorities," McDonald's announced on Friday it will no longer sponsor the Olympics. "We have been proud to support the Olympic Movement, and we thank our customers and staff, the spectators, athletes and officials, as well as the [International Olympic Committee] and local Olympics Games organizing...
More Stories