1427 S. Lumpkin St. Athens, GA 30605. 706-227-9979 View Map
File Under: Mexican and South American, Vegetarian Friendly, Cash and Checks Only. Features: BYOB, outside seating, delivery. Hours: Lunch and dinner, seven days. The Look: Tons of outdoor seating (covered and not), boats to play in and sometimes a parrot; it's like nothing else. Menu: Latin American food with a Peruvian influence, from tacu tacu (rice and beans topped with eggs) to lomo saltado (steak, french fries, tomato, red onions), big delicious sandwiches, yuca frita, plantains two ways (sweet and savory), fish burrito and more. Lots of veggie choices. Show up early if the weather's nice; the lines can get long.
11661 Hwy. 441 N. Athens, GA 30622. 706-613-2410 View Map
File Under: American, Mexican. Features: Outside seating, counter service, cash only. Hours: Breakfast and lunch, Sat and Sun. The Look: Georgia's biggest flea market has several large buildings with regular eateries and a ton of tables outside selling fresh, well-priced produce. Menu: Biscuits and burgers at the Flea Bite Cafe, barbecue, boiled peanuts, pizza and the wonderful Taqueria Mi Tierra, serving up excellent and authentic Mexican food, including fantastic pollo a la brasa. The big building in the back houses Backwoods Grill, serving homemade burgers, smoked pork and brisket, veggies and breakfast.
171 E. Broad St. Athens, GA 30601. 706-548-1692 View Map
File Under: Downhome and BBQ. Features: Cash only, delivery. Hours: Breakfast, seven days. Lunch, Sun–Fri. The Look: Family-run Southern diner operating since 1948. Menu: Country-style comfort food. Omelets, biscuits, hotcakes, steak, country ham and more for breakfast. Hearty lunch options rotate daily and include pot roast, fried chicken livers and lemon pepper tilapia alongside vegetables like fried okra, cabbage, sweet potato souffle and squash casserole.
4648 Atlanta Hwy. Bogart, GA 30622. 706-548-0830 View Map
File Under: Bars and Clubs. Features: Full bar, cash only, live music. The Look: Built in 1952, this classic bar is a great place to experience Athens outside of downtown. Sing karaoke, play slot machines, shoot pool or learn to line dance. Drinks: A full bar with the usual domestic beer selection and generous liquor pours on classic mixed drinks.
3075 Danielsville Road Athens, GA 30601. 706-461-2533
File Under: Mexican and South American. Features: Cash only, counter service, take-out. Hours: Lunch and dinner, Thu–Sun. The Look: A counter and a few tables at the back of a convenience store by Sandra's Salon. Menu: Mostly Peruvian dishes, with a few Salvadorean offerings and some Mexican standards. Excellent ceviche, magical roasted/grilled chicken with cilantro-infused rice, good lomo saltado (beef, french fries, onion, tomatoes) and some desserts. Menu on a whiteboard for easy alteration.
4007 Danielsville Road Athens, GA 30601. 706-546-1005 View Map
File Under: Downhome and BBQ. Features: Cash and checks only. Hours: Lunch and dinner, Thu–Sat. The Look: Country 'cue spot with a few booths, a lunch counter and the motto "Where the Food Speaks for Itself." Menu: Barbecue pork, chicken, beef and ribs with sides like baked beans, hash, slaw, potato salad, collard greens and seasonal vegetables. Sauce is hot and thin.
2546 Commerce Road Athens, GA 30607. 706-850-0606 View Map
File Under: Mexican and South American. Features: Cash only, outside seating. Hours: Lunch, seven days. The Look: An under-the-radar roadside spot located off of Highway 441. Order at the window and take a seat on the colorful patio surrounded by cacti, tropical plants and kitschy decor. Menu: Fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas, tortas Cubanas, sope, tacos Mexicanos and mole, some authentic, some less so.