Food is a facet of every college student's life, and what comes with food is great restaurants. However, incoming first-year students may not be aware of what's available around campus when it comes to food outside of a dining hall, especially when Athens has must-try places for new students.
Bobcats, look no further, this guide will give first-comers insight into six must-try restaurants in Athens when the dining halls are too busy, what to get when wanting to try something new or if you want to take someone out.
Keystone’s Mac Shack
I am asked to keep chains out of this list, but it's too good to pass up, can’t ignore one of Court Street’s most recent additions. Initially based in Cincinnati, Mac Shack's Athens location serves the same classics as its predecessor, mac n’ cheese and pies. I recommend a Pink Floyd, a Loving Spoonful with bbq and brisket or an Oreo Pie. This place is perfect for a quick dinner or eating after a night out on the town.
Union Street Diner
Every town has its local diner, and in Athens, we’re spoiled with the Union Street Diner, or USD, as some people call it. This restaurant has the best comfort food, similar to a diner you may be used to, and the staff is great. If you're lucky enough, the milkshake machine will work and you can get yourself a delicious breakfast milkshake. If not, don't fret, the French toast is always a classic and available at the diner, which is not too far of a walk down Union Street.
Bagel Street Deli
Do you like sandwiches? Do you like bagels? If you answered yes to both questions, this place is for you. Bagel Street Deli, also known as BSD, serves up sandwiches on, you guessed it, bagels. You'll have your favorite order by the end of your time at OU, but I suggest the Abe Froman for starters. Also, if you're into pickles, don't miss out on Pickle Fest, which is held there during the spring semester.
Brenen’s Coffee Cafe
Most people on campus know this place as an excellent coffee shop, but it's so much more than that. You can also get an excellent Reuben or just sandwiches in general, cookies and turnovers while you sip on your coffee. Coffee-wise, you can never go wrong with a Nutty Irishman or a Highlander Grogg. Brenen’s Coffee Cafe is a great spot for a meal before class or a place to take your parents when they come to visit.
Another recent addition to Court Street is Mr. Hibachi. If you're really into Japanese food or are just looking for something simple like vegetable stir fry, this is a great place to go. It’s usually not too packed and has pretty quick service. You can never go wrong here.
Primarily known as the town's local brewery with a great selection of beer and ciders, Jackie O's also has a kitchen location on Union Street, with a diverse menu ranging from burgers to various styles of pizza. Furthermore, all meals and drinks use ingredients supplied locally. There’s nothing better than getting a bite to eat and supporting local businesses and farms at the same time.