Thursday, October 22, 2009

Athens Eats - Where to fill your tank

If you're like me then your insatiable urge to crush boulder problems is only complimented by your ravenous and undaunted appetite. There are few things more satisfying than eating delicious and unique food after a day of slappin' slopers and pimpin' crimpers, especially when the day's sole nutrition was cliffbars and sour worms. Climbers may not be known for their good hygiene (at least we can boast low weekly water usages), but a lot of us do consider the environmental ramifications of where that 65% soy "all beef patty" comes from. Luckily, Athens has the goods to make your belly full and your conscience clean, but don't worry there's still an abundance of mundane fast food joints. Being that I'm biased and proud: I will not spend too much time describing the intricacies of the supreme balance of tastes protruding from McDonalds Whopper value meal.

Living in Athens for the better part of decade now, I am sure to miss the restaurant selection when I leave. Athens is capable of drawing back troves of Homecoming Alums for more than getting up at 6 in the morning to go drinking. For us locals it means long waits at the "famous" uptown eateries but for the homecomers, it’s a chance to indulge in the delicious food selection that can’t be replicated. For good reason, though.
I have broken it down into geographical areas to get fed.
East State Street:
E. State is closest to the Trailer Park and COAD. E. State is home to most fast food chains or corporate restaurants. You can get supersized or footlonged. Most notable for E. State is the Athens Farmers Market that meets Saturday from 10am - 1pm all year and Wednesdays from 10am - 1pm April - October and the following:
Abrio's Brick Oven Pizza:
Pizza and Salads! Dine in, take out and enjoy. This restaurant is one of the few locally owned places on E. State.
Maplewood Inn and Drive Thru:
Local's bar, serves most things deep fried. Maybe the best wings in town? Nachos = Awesome. The Maplewood provides a close and easy way to bring booze to the boulders! Drive thru and get a sixer of Busch lite tallboys and make sure to shotgun them in the parking lot before venturing into the Athens trail network... Just remember, Leave No Trace.
Avalanche Pizza:
This pizza joint is slightly reminiscent of Miguels Pizza in that you can get just about anything you can think of on your pizza. Take away the climber campground, give it a more consistent dough supply and specific specialty pies add a lil ease of delivery and there you have it: Miguels classier, more bashful sister. NO BEER HERE, though.
Village Bakery & Della Zona:
This place is pumped on being local, if you're pumped on being local, then this is your place. If you are not into being local but would love the opportunity to make fun of local-hipster-environmentally-conscience people, then this is your place, too. The Village Bakery home-makes as much as possible, very vegetarian friendly and has great Sunday breakfast specials. Della Zona is owned and operated by The Village Bakery and when translated means From the Area in Italian. Della Zona offers amazing pizza, salad and gelato. They have very creative and awesome pizzas. A little pricey but phenomenal. Also, they have a choice selection of craft beers!
Uptown Athens:
Uptown Athens consists of Court Street and the few roads surrounding. When traveling west on E. State Street you'll know you're getting close when you feel the aesthetic charm of brick streets bottoming out the shocks on your car. There are between 15 and 20 bars in this area, many of which serve typical bar food. The few restaurants listed here offer the most unique options and are all within walking distance from each other. Uptown Athens mixes class with trash and offers opportunity for anyone's taste buds to salivate.
Obetty's Red Hot!:
Indulge yourself in the sexiest hotdog museum in all of Ohio. Obetty's Red Hot! offers premium all beef hotdogs and french fries, but don't worry... Everything on the menu can be completely de-meated for all you veg-heads out there. I love Obetty's and you probably will, too. Sadly, they do not serve beer here. I know, I know, how are you supposed to eat a hotdog without any booze? Do not fret! You are welcome to bring a 40 oz. of malt liquor to accompany your wiener.
Casa Nueva:
Casa Nueva prides itself on being the "localvore's solution" to dining. For those of you who don't know what a localvore is, it's someone that only eats locals. Fortunately, Casa Nueva didn't realize what this word truly meant and they offer Mexican food (more like hippified-mexican) with as much local, low-impact, organic ingredients as possible. The Athens County farms provide Casa with pork, chicken, beef, vegetables and greens. The local beta for Casa is hit up the breakfast and stay after to treat yourself to the full bar. Make sure to get a made to order Bloody Mary.
Jackie O's Pub and Brewery:
MICROBREWS!!!! Delicious fish and chips, Athens Own organic beef burgers with local sharp cheddar, awesome vegetarian selection and microbrews. Jackie O's serves quality brews, foods, and music. Recently expanded, Jackie O's now has one of the largest music venues/bars in Athens. Outdoor seating pool tables and an indoor shuffleboard make this locally owned establishment a great place to lose a few hours. Often, you will meet climbers here (check the creases of their fingers for chalk dust) talking about new problems and waving their arms around like idiots. Did I mention Microbrews? Ales, Lagers, Porters, Stout's and bourbon barreled! They host a fine selection of craft brews as well. Eat and be merry at Jackie O's

Big Mamma’s Burritos:

Big burritos for small prices. Big Mamma’s has some creative twists to the burrito standard. Philly cheese, Big Mac and Chipotle Ranch are all flavors that you can get wrapped up in the warm flour tortillas served till 3 or 4 in the morning... every morning. This place has a cult following of drunken students, so be careful late night!

Stephens, Salaam, and Zoe:

These places are fancy enough to take your mom’s boyfriends daughter! Salaam offers Middle Eastern cuisine and a friendly BYOB attitude, quality food for sure. Zoe has a unique style that you may not find anywhere else and laid back, family style fine dining. Stephens is American fine dining at its greatest feel free to BYOB here, too!

Notable Entries:

The Pub: Get a pub burger and fries on Court Street!

Burrito Buggy: The name says it all. This buggy can be found on the corner of Court and Union

The Oak Room: Great place to have dinner and brews! Located off Union Street.

Star of India: Amazing Native American food, located on Union Street.

Greater Athens Area:

Purple Chopsticks:

Have you ever wanted to eat in an art gallery? Purple Chopsticks offers up some delicious Thai food and you get to eat it in a beautifully decorated atmosphere ( If you have the time and love hitting a gong, you should find your way to Purple Chopsticks. Again, BYOB friendly with a drive thru/carryout across the street. Sunday brunch is not to be missed! From Court Street head South on Richland Avenue until you cross the Hocking River, then start looking for the restaurant on the right.

Jana’s Soul Food Cafe:

Jana can cook! She hooks it up with down home American cookin’ that makes your mouth water. Breakfast is incredible and so are the sandwiches and entrees. Do yourself a favor and head down there. Jana’s boasts outdoor seating, a beautiful country setting and easy access from the bike path and BYOB friendly. On 33 west from Athens take the Johnson Road exit left, then take the first left down into Historic Eclipse Company Town. Or from the bike path, head about 1.5 miles west from town until you come to the Eclipse intersection.

So here it is, an opinionated sample of the dining in Athens, Ohio. You can get the comprehensive selection here, but for what it’s worth: These are my favorites! Come on down and climb till your fingers bleed, then eat, drink and take in all the charm that Athens has to offer.


Tim said...

Great Post!

joshdp2006 said...

I have no idea where else to post this, I was trying to find some way to contact one of the blogsite owner's, but anyway.

A group of friends and I were wanting to come out to Athens again. The first time we went to Evolution boulder and that was a year ago. The whole group ranges anywhere from V0-V6 climbers.

What I'm wondering is, is where in Athens would you recommend us going? A place that has a range of difficulty on the problems with a decent amount of problems as well.



dylfoot said...

You can contact me via email at or you can get info from the contributors on facebook. Just search "Athens Bouldering" and post any questions you have.
See you down here!

Dustyn Whyte said...

Another option is to check this out-
It's new, and there isn't much traffic yet, but I check it often. Hopefully it will have more information soon.

Oh yeah, and Tim put up a couple guides to areas in older posts and I know more guides to popular areas will be up soon!

Tim said...


I would start at the Trailer Park in Athens. There is a wide range and quantity of climbing there that meets your needs. From there you can easily access the emerald boulder and Coad with a very short hike, 10 minutes or so. The parking for both is between them making that easy too.

There is guide post about the eremald and I plan to have one up on a section of the Trailer park soon too. It will be on the commitment area which contains some high quality lines . Other then that, you the search or scan the posts to find out more info.

Let us know if you have any questions, any comment left on the blog is automatically forwarded to several people, making for an easy reply.

joshdp2006 said...

Whats the best way to get out to the parking for both of those spots? We all live out in Amelia, OH (Clermont county)..we usually hop on 32 and follow that to 33. Where do we go from there? Do we have to go into Athens to get to the parking for Trailer Park/COAD/ Emerald boulder?

Tim said...


You will need to got into Athens. Take 33 east to the east state street exit. At the bottom of the ramp turn right onto east state. You will go on East State st for about 5 stop lights until you see a Walmart on the left. At the same intersection as walmart turn left on the unnamed rd. Go back the rd past the Ohio University Credit Union on your right and some trailers will be on your left. Park next to the white barn located at the end of the short rd. There are about 8 marked spaces. You will easily see the trailed from the parking spaces.

Indigo Danger said...

Star of India is not Native American Food. Its dot on the forehead Indian not rain dance Indian. Just clarifying.

dylfoot said...

The Native American food thing was a joke, maybe I should have clarified that I was just joking.