By Emma Korstanje
Members of Generation Z have had the pleasure of advancing through life in a very diverse world, which is something that Generation X, and possibly even some members of the Millennial Generation, were not able to fully experience. This has led to a campus life swarming with unique students basking in their ability to maintain individuality.
There is, however, one characteristic that can be applied to most college students regardless of pre-existing social differences. It is the one characteristic that minor cyber-stalking of really any form of social media can reveal, at least in some shape or form.
This is referring to, of course, the intense and insatiable desire to see the world. The wish to expand one’s horizons outside of the familiar American landscape has become somewhat of a trope in the novel of 21st century college student lives. With the technology boom and sudden access to a plethora of information previously hidden in books, it can’t be too difficult to guess why there is a desire to see the world.
One thing that sadly hasn’t changed is the required steps and materials to travel the globe – time and money. Both of which students rarely have in excess. Luckily for the residents of Athens, the Classic City offers a nice alternative to this issue while also pleasing the lovers of all things food.
By dining at any of the following restaurants, an eager traveler can eat around the globe for much less than a coach ticket overseas.
To begin the tour, a trip to DePalma’s Italian Café located on East Broad Street can satisfy the desire to visit the country, at least for the time being. Beginning as an experiment in creating the perfect pizza, DePalma’s has since grown to inhabit three locations with an extended menu featuring both classic Italian dishes and Americanized favorites. “I like how quaint it is, like it doesn’t feel like a chain. It’s got a very home-y feeling,” says Kristina Caldwell, a freshman biology major from Suwannee who frequents the café. This particular stop is great for both filling up before nights out on the town and refueling during casual shopping excursions.
Pauley’s Crepe Bar, though not technically a “French” restaurant, can satisfy some interest in the culture without breaking the college student budget. Originating in Athens before expanding to Atlanta, Pauley’s is a staple of the Classic City. The favored menu item, crepes, are originally a food of France, although the restaurant has definitely put its own unique spin on the item with both savory and dessert options. “Pauley’s is the first and definitely best crepe bar I have ever eaten at,” says Julia Ghyzel, a freshman biology major from Newnan. “I highly recommend the buffalo chicken crepe! It’s amazing!” For a more true-to-France option, the Etienne Brasserie on East Broad Street is a great option, though it is more expensive.
Many students are familiar with the classic, Americanized Chinese take-out that occasionally features mystery meats and inspirational cookies. Unfortunately, this is often where the knowledge of Asian-inspired cuisine comes to an end. In Athens, one can take a trip to India by visiting the aptly named Little India located on East Broad Street and indulge in a wide variety of savory entrees from chicken to goat, with vegetarian options available. The restaurant features a unique system of rating dishes as “mild,” “medium,” “hot” or “Indian hot” to help newcomers navigate the possibly unfamiliar dishes. For a first time visit, it is suggested to start with the restaurant’s lunch buffet in which one can sample many different flavors and meats to really discover which aspect of Indian cuisine is most preferable without spending a hefty amount of money.
For a more eastern Asian excursion, Shokitini, located off of West Clayton Street, is a great option for those who are interested in the Japanese culture. Though it is a bit of an upscale option, the higher price should not discourage lovers of sushi from visiting, according to Lauren Page. “It is higher priced, but the food and service is definitely worth it,” says Page, a freshman early childhood development major from Savannah. When describing a trip to the contemporary Japanese dining spot, Page says, “Everything just seems really fresh.” Shokitini’s menu features other options, with dishes that would satisfy the most adventurous of eaters as well as dishes for those who like to consume the familiar. The restaurant also offers karaoke, which is basically the icing on the raw tuna-filled, seaweed-wrapped cake.
Although it is technically part of North America, experiencing true Jamaican cuisine is a rarity for many Americans. Because of this, Kelly’s Jamaican Foods is a treasure to the Athens dining scene. It is well known for its authentic approach to the food served, as well as utilizing a heavy hand when spicing ensuring that the dishes are never lacking in flavor. The cost is very reasonable when the large portions served are kept in mind, and because of this, the local staple has a strong fan base of recurring customers.
Lastly, a visit to Cali N’ Tito’s can end the tour with a Latin American flair. This particular restaurant is difficult to miss in passing with its eclectic, colorful décor and nicely placed outdoor seating. They’re well known for fish tacos as well as their specialty limeade. The restaurant implements a “bring your own beverage” policy where, for two dollars, a customer will be provided with a wristband and ice to keep beverages cold. The prices are hard to beat, and on a college student’s budget, this spot is a dream come true.
From the pizza of DePalma’s Italian Café to Cali N’ Tito’s Latin American flair, the Classic City is certainly not lacking in the cultural cuisine department. This can be a relief to many students, as the technology age has instilled a desire to explore the world and experience all that it has to offer. By stopping in to dine at any of the aforementioned restaurants, one can get a taste of travel without ever leaving Athens.