The biggest weekend on the calendar for folks in and around Athens, AL is coming up very soon. October 2-3, 2015 – the campus of Athens State University will play host to The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention. It is an event with music, crafts, competitions, and plenty of food vendors. (One quick note. The Athens Grease Festival previously scheduled for September 26, 2015 has been postponed to June of 2016 because of construction projects going on in downtown Athens).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the food vendors at Fiddlers will have some delicious items for sale. But, let’s say that you and your family decide to come to town a day early or spend the night afterwards before driving home. Athens has its share of chain restaurants, to be sure, but what if you’d like to “eat where the locals eat.” Maybe you want to try restaurants and eateries that are uniquely Athenian. If so, here are some recommendations (in no particular order):
1) LuVici’s at 105 N. Jefferson St. very near the square and adjacent to U.G.White’s General Mercantile (a very interesting place to browse). No, it is not pronounced “loo-vee-chee’s.” This is not an Italian restaurant. This is “loo-vy-see’s,” and it’s all about Southern cooking.
2) Casa Blanca*. If you’re in the mood for Mexican food, Casa Blanca has two locations – on the square and on Highway 72.
3) Village Pizza*. On the square. Delicious.
4) Wildwood Deli. A few steps off the square on Market St. Small place. Good food. I hear they even serve Gigi’s Cupcakes. Yum!!!
5) Drucilla’s — 2 blocks from the college or 2 blocks from the square on North Marion St. An easy walk. Beautiful vintage charm mixed with tantalizing smells and tastes.
6) Dub’s Burgers on S. Jefferson St. A long-time Athens tradition. You can’t really say you have visited Athens until you’ve tried a Dub’s Burger.
7) Catfish Cabin*, right where S. Clinton St. runs into Highway 72. Unlimited hushpuppies. Oh my!
8) Hickory Barn Bar-B-Que* — on Hwy. 72 W a few miles out of town. Some of the best smoked chicken you will ever eat.
9) 306 Barbecue* — on Hwy. 72 E, also a few miles out of town going toward Madison. Very popular with the locals. A surprisingly wide menu.
10) Clark’s Restaurant* — located right behind Cracker Barrel, within sight of Hwy. 72 E. Great catfish and comfort foods.
Is your mouth watering? Have you marked your calendars for October 2-3? I’m sure I’ve left out some good places. Athens folks, be sure to chime in with additional suggestions. Let’s put it this way. If you leave Athens hungry, it will be YOUR OWN FAULT. 🙂
Get your hotel booked NOW. Google “hotels in Athens, AL” and you’ll find quite a few choices, most are located near Exit 351, off of I-65. Better yet, look up a long-lost relative or friend and hint politely for the use of their guest room. Athens folks can be mighty friendly when you give them a chance.
Oh, and one more thing. If you’re going to be in town on a Sunday morning, I’d love to invite you to my church, First Baptist. It is located right beside the Athens State University campus, at the corner of Hobbs and Clinton Streets. We have a new pastor, Dr. Joel Carwile. I believe you’ll enjoy him and the music (consider this a blatant commercial for the choir, of which I am a proud member). The service begins at 10:30 a.m. We’ll get you out in time to head to one of these nice restaurants. The ones marked with an asterisk are open on Sundays.
See you soon in my hometown.