By Ashton Pike
Every year, during the few weeks leading up to January 1, it seems that there is a national obsession with all things “new and improved”. Whether it’s reinventing yourself to construct the “new you”, taking on new adventures with friends in order to break out of your comfort zone, or merely the “I promise I’ll start going to the gym this year” cliché that most people tell themselves; regardless of the actual thing being changed, people have this idea set into their mind that everything must be new at the turn of the new year, because “new year, new you”, right?
Well that doesn’t always have to be the case. There is something that the majority of people are missing within the word “new”. New doesn’t necessarily have to possess the “brand new” meaning that most place upon it; instead, “new” can simply be something that has existed for a while, but has never been experienced by yourself in particular. Technically it isn’t brand new, but it could be brand new to you! So while everyone else is focusing on finding the best new thing this year, find the good within the old at these locations in Athens that could be your next “new” favorite spot.
Even though some people may have a hard time admitting it, sometimes Starbucks and Jittery Joe’s don’t curb the coffee craving. It may be difficult to hear that there is coffee outside of the two chains, but it’s true, and they are just as delicious! Two places hiding among the chain coffee shops are Mr. Mr. Café and Sips Coffee Shop. Mr. Mr. Café is located on Baxter Street and is a safe haven away from the busy atmosphere of downtown coffee shops; plus it’s a closer walk than downtown! With delicious coffee – hot and iced – along with numerous flavors of bubble teas and smoothies, Mr. Mr. Café has a lot to offer and even better prices for a college student’s budget.
If you’re up for a short drive to Prince Avenue, Sips Coffee Shop is a quaint place with the majority of the seating being an outdoor patio, which, on beautiful days, has the windows open to welcome the cool, crisp breeze. Local artists often times display their artwork along the shop’s walls, giving students something beautiful to look at while they enjoy their cup of coffee. Gabrielle Orlando, a senior advertising major from Lilburn, GA, said, “I like the atmosphere of small coffee shops like Sips. I enjoy taking my laptop and sitting down with a muffin and a cup of coffee and getting stuff done. It’s relaxing and fun, and at Sips you can enjoy your afternoon without all the chaos of big chain coffee places.”
While you’re on Prince Avenue sitting at Sips Coffee Shop, you can look out the window to across the street and see another place that gets overlooked in Athens: Automatic Pizza. The pizza restaurant was formed from an old gas station, creating a rustic, very hipster-esque atmosphere. “The slices of pizza are New York style, and every college student loves giant slices of pizza for a good price,” said Mary McPartlan, a junior marketing major from Kennesaw, GA. Even if you’re not up for the drive to Automatic Pizza, never fear, because they deliver.
The last stop on this written tour is back to the homeland of UGA’s students: downtown. Most students on campus walk to and from downtown for their daily food cravings, which means some probably haven’t noticed the small restaurant sitting on the edge of downtown, next to Bel-Jean Copy Print, called Pouch. As their slogan promises, they truly do bring about “a new meaning of pie” with their variety of meat pies. This type of restaurant is found more frequently in other countries, so Pouch brought a little culture to Athens by dedicating a country to each pie based on the ingredients within the pie. Shea Nolan, a senior English major from Suwanee, GA, said, “After studying abroad in England, eating at Pouch was like a little piece of the UK here in Athens. The food is delicious, and the atmosphere is reminiscent of a British pub.”
This year instead of looking for brand new places that just opened, try giving old places a first-look. Often times, the best places to eat or grab a quick cup of coffee are the ones you’ve never heard about. Athens is filled with more restaurants and shops than there are students packed on an Orbit bus during class change; simply do some research, find an old place with great ratings, and make it new to you!