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Favorite Eats in Athens, Georgia

In honor of Athens celebrating the great food scene with Athens restaurant week, I thought it would only be fitting to share some of my favorite spots to eat in The Classic City. Now, I haven’t been to any of the higher scale restaurants, but I definitely have gotten around to trying some different spots that I thoroughly love. 

As much as I love cooking my own food and being in control more than I’d like to admit, I also love the experience of going out. There’s something nice about having a delicious meal that you don’t normally cook yourself. 

For me, I find sometimes it’s healthier for me to pick something up on-the-go rather than consuming more protein powder or something. It encourages a diet full of diversity and exposure to diverse foods will hopefully help me with my gastroparesis in the long run.  

I’ll never forget that one evening I decided to venture out and hit up Texas Roadhouse for the first time at like 9:30 p.m. because I acknowledged that a piece of grilled chicken and some applesauce with friends/family was way better than stress/hangry/lightheaded Katie cooking up a smoothie or pancakes. 

Plus, there is something so beautiful in experiencing meals out with friends to socialize and allowing yourself a break from preparing something yourself. I also sometimes love taking myself somewhere to sit down with the textbooks and get some work done. Now, I normally do this at a Starbucks, Panera, Chick-fil-a, or the Einstein Bros. Bagels in Athens, but occasionally will make a trip to a more “local” business like Maepole (my absolute favorite place ever) and Jittery Joes (a local coffee shop). 

Here are some of my favorite places I’ve come to love in Athens and my must-eats in the Classic City. Plus, some chain locations that you may find useful to venture too if you find your way in Athens.

This is just the beginning of my Athens food scene experiences and I am looking forward to hopefully a lifetime of Athens food experiences to come because I love this city and it's certainly a place I call home.


Kicking this off with my absolute favorite restaurant I discovered in Athens. Maepole is 100% worth the hype. I love the fact they offer customizable plates and healthy food options. I highly highly recommend tofu for a protein source, adding the generous serving of a ½ avocado, and enjoying some mac n’ cheese as a side. I really appreciate that they use whole wheat pasta and only one cheese in the mac n’ cheese. It makes it doable for my sensitive stomach and I genuinely appreciate that. Maepole also changes their menu based on the season, so there really is an abundance of combinations you can make. The customer service is also incredible and I love supporting businesses that truly go above and beyond to enhance customer experiences. 

Agua Linda 

Huge Mexican food lover here, and I recently found a Mexican restaurant that I can eat at that sits easily with me. I ordered the Grilled Chicken Tacos off the healthy choices’ menu back in May and I’ve been dying to go back here ever since. The guacamole is incredible and if I am getting Mexican food, the guacamole better be top notch. I do also appreciate the fact they offer a healthy choices menu for those who desire it. My favorite thing about Agua Linda is the rooftop seating because you are outdoors, have lights around you, and can look over the five points area of Athens. 

J. Christophers 

This place is SO slept on and I’m sorry I didn’t discover it until May. It’s in walking distance from my apartment which is super nice and gives me New York diner vibes which I absolutely love coming from New York. I even ventured outside my comfort zone when I went and ordered an egg white omelet for the first time. It was super delicious and I’ll definitely be back there in the future. I also foresee myself studying here or taking myself alone in the future. This place is located in the five points area of Athens.

Café on Lumpkin

Can you tell I am a huge breakfast/brunch girlie? I made it over to the Café on Lumpkin one morning for brunch and was definitely a huge fan. Naturally as an avocado lover, I had to try the famous avocado toast on delicious sourdough bread. They also have a gluten free bread option for those who need/prefer it.

One thing I want to try one day is the afternoon tea service they offer with pastries that look incredible. Café on Lumpkin also has nice outdoor sitting which I certainly will be taking advantage of whenever I can. I find that being outdoors, and eating outdoors is healing. It tends to lead me to being more mindful while eating I as well find. It’s also next to Jeni’s ice cream which I have not had the pleasure of trying yet, but the co-workers have stated it’s the best ice cream in Athens…. 

Clean Eatz 

Don’t let the name fool you. While I am definitely a health-conscious eater and like food more on the plainer side. This menu is absolutely incredible and the food packs great flavor all at an affordable price. You can certainly ask my friend Em for her thoughts if you need a second opinion. I love the wraps here and am dying to try some of their other menu items like the chicken flatbread!  I also highly suggest ordering the sweet potato fries as a side option. They are baked (not fried) and I found myself thoroughly enjoying them. I think next time I am ordering extra to have on-hand for the next few days.

They also have freezer meals that you can take home when you're in a pinch for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 

Pita Pit

 This is one of my favorite lesser-known chain places and is a favorite within walking distance for me. It’s located in downtown Athens and is a cheaper version of Cava. I really appreciate that you can build your own pita, bowl, or gluten free wrap with whatever options you want. 

Jittery Joes 

   This one is a location that definitely grew on me over the course of the year. I found myself enjoying some of their dark roast blends and definitely appreciate the fact they have larger cup sizes than you’ll find from Starbucks and Dunkin. Sometimes finals just mean you need extra caffeine. Their bagels are a pretty solid option for a food item, and they do have strawberry cream cheese if you want to switch up the flavor. I am dying to try their muffins and definitely plan on trying one during Athens restaurant week since they do a $5 cold brew & muffin deal. Another great place with impeccable customer service as well. 

Another Broken Egg Cafe 

   I know this one is also a chain, but I do love the brunch vibes here. It is so hard to get into at times though, so I definitely recommend making this a weekday venture. I was finally able to make it here on my Birthday with friends. You can just never go wrong with breakfast foods in my personal opinion.

I am really excited that we are also getting a First Watch this upcoming year (which has been on my bucket list of places to try for forever) 

Some other Athens Highlights & Places in the area I frequent

Mama’s Boy: A super popular southern brunch restaurant. I feel like you have to go here at least once since it is such an Athens staple. I enjoyed my visit at this place, but it definitely has a specific type of menu. Therefore, there isn’t too much I would personally eat. However, when I went, I opted for an egg white platter, fresh fruit, and Greek yogurt. I will say I have never had a better orange in my life. The fruit was extremely fresh and I enjoyed the food. If you like Southern cuisine this will probably be more of a fan favorite for you. I am sure I will be back for what I had just make sure your note the unique/limited menu before you go.

Mellow Mushroom: Definitely make sure you have time when choosing to dine at Mellow Mushroom, but it is a great place to get some pizza. I actually love the gluten free veg out pizza option they have here.

Newk’s Eatery: I had never been to Newk’s before and the bread here is certainly worth it. Coming from New York. I will say I am very picky about my bread choices, but the French bread is excellent. Almost as good as my mom’s homemade French bread.

Cava: Okay... I love the healthy options and customizability of Cava but have not always had the best experiences at this location. I have learned that going on off-peak hours usually means better service and food. Hoping they step up the game this upcoming year. 

Chick Fil A: I love Chick Fil A and I am learning to be okay with eating there as many times as I need. It’s a place that I can eat at without triggering a gastroparesis flare-up because of the fact they have veggie-based and grilled options. It may sound strange, but the options I choose here never bother my stomach at all. 

I love the southwest veggie wrap and the grilled chicken cool wrap options. The southwest veggie wrap provides me with plant variety with beans and corn. It’s also vegetarian and a lighter option that still packs in over 25g of protein. The Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap has over 42g of protein… we love that. The wraps are both high in fiber which is super nice.  The other grilled options are also great to incorporate in the rotation. I have yet to try breakfast here, but I’m sure I will eventually. Although, I did recently get the parfait with fruit for a dessert after a long day in Disney! For a sweet treat, I also really enjoy the ice cream dream cone and it’s one of the only places where you can get soft serve ice cream in Athens. 

Einstein Bros. Bagels: A hidden treasure on UGA’s campus that I definitely feel like is underused. Or maybe I just underuse it because I don’t tend to study in the library. However, I love the avocado veg out sandwich and the avocado toast offered here. I just wish they sold the cream cheese in tubs as well. I definitely plan on trying more options here in the future. I’ve only ever ordered the honey wheat bagel too. 

Panera: I love Panera for the ease of getting a salad, a sandwich, or a warm soup. No... it’s not anything overly special and yes it may be slightly overpriced. But I use my rewards, gift cards, and coupons and appreciate the opportunity to get a healthy meal that I can load up with veggies/fruits. Panera is another place where the avocado is always fresh from my experiences. I also love the breakfast garden avocado egg white sandwich they have. I will warn you though that the Athens specific location is very difficult to sit inside of because it’s always FREEZING which I hate. I would love to sit and do work there more often, but I cannot function if I am cold. 

Playa Bowls: I can’t speak to the Athens specific location quite yet, because I truthfully haven’t been. However, I love Playa Bowls and find it a refreshing way to cool down in the summer heat when I’m out and about. I typically add the vegan protein powder to the smoothies as well. The oatmeal bowls in my opinion are the most underrated item they have on the menu and are perfect in the winter months. Yes, it is overpriced, but it’s a great way to save time & clean-up when it comes to making your own smoothie.

IHOP: A classic if you ask me…. IHOP over Waffle House any day of the week. And yes... this is a very controversial opinion... I’m aware.

Starbucks: Former Starbucks Barista who LOVED her job, so obviously I frequent Starbucks. No other explanation needed here. 

Dunkin’: As much as I prefer Starbucks coffee for the most part, the Dunkin’ deals are sometimes TOO good. I also love the variety in food and will often get avocado toast here. 

And yes I will continue to complain over the lack of soft serve ice cream options for dessert (look I love the soft serve at Chick Fil A but it only comes in one flavor), however we do have a variety of options for a sweet treat. There are quite a few I haven't tried yet, but I had my first ever custard at Andy's Frozen Custard in Athens. This is a favorite spot amongst my friends and I where you can get a complex shake/concrete, a root beer float, or just a simple cake cone. I also love taking advantage of the deals at the Insomnia Cookies downtown. The cookie cakes are perfect for birthday's or a group celebration. And believe it or not, I never even had a taste of any type of Ben & Jerry's ice cream prior to moving to Athens. I actually still only had it on this one day last summer, but it was so refreshing on one of the hottest days of the year. I also appreciated the fact they had a coffee flavor option because coffee ice cream is my absolute favorite.

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I'm a communications professional, recipe crafter, content creator and 22 year old working her way to wellness. 

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