Tag Archives: Athens

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The Next Place to Take Your SO

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Looking for a few creative and affordable date ideas in the Athens area? Look no further because you’re in good hands. From simple food and drink dates to artistic experiences, you can easily impress your significant other on these local date ideas.

Grabbing drinks is always an easy date to plan. Athens has two impressive local breweries, Creature Comforts and Terrapin. If you want to enjoy a relaxing evening in Downtown Athens, you can play cornhole while trying the various flavors of Creature Comforts beer such as the popular Athena and Tropicalia. If you don’t mind driving to a brewery outside of Downtown, Terrapin also provides a unique and memorable experience and is located on Newton Bridge Road.

If your taste buds are craving flavorful food, Athens has many local restaurants to try out. For an affordable and delicious breakfast date, Mama’s Boy is a very popular joint with two locations offering food items such as fried green tomatoes, banana bread, Georgia peach French toast, and their famous fluffy biscuits. If you’re looking for the best fries in town and a hipster scenery, Trappeze Pub is the spot to go. Along with their Belgian fries, Trappeze also delivers unique cheese plates, salads, sandwiches and burgers. Best of all, they have a variety of special desserts daily listed on the chalkboard wall.  However, if you don’t mind a messy date and want to save money on alcohol, check out Pulaski’s Heights BBQ. You can enjoy getting tipsy without the high cost of restaurant prices because Pulaski offers a BYOB special.

If you want to venture away from the typical food and drink date, you can get imaginative at ARTini’s Art Lounge. At ARTini’s, you can paint masterpieces with your significant other while drinking a beverage of choice for only $35 a class. After all, who wouldn’t want to wind down the day with painting and a glass of wine? If you and your significant other are animal lovers, Bear Hollow Zoo and Botanical Gardens are great options for you. Bear Hollow Zoo offers the zoo experience without the guilt, as all the animal are physically or behaviorally rehabilitated and cannot survive on their own. On the otherhand, Botantical Gardens is a great place to explore with numerous trails and natural sights to see.

If you want to enjoy a fun night out, the Georgia Theatre holds concerts weekly. The Georgia Theatre provides national and local acts across all genres of rock, country, alternative, electronic, hip hop, and more! Of course, we all know we may have different music preferences. Therefore, here are a few other activity dates. The Showtime Bowling Center consists of 32 lanes of fun, video games, and pool to bring you back to your childhood memories. If bowling isn’t your thing, I highly recommend you visit the unique movie theater, Cine. Cine is the only mission driven, non-profit, community-based art house movie theater in the region. It is restored from historic venue houses with two cinemas and a full bar. It’s not the typical movie theater, and it would certainly create a lasting impression on your date.

If you desire to adventure away from Athens and into the city of Atlanta for a weekend, here is one date idea you must look into! My boyfriend and I recently journeyed out to Ponce City Market to enjoy a day on the BeltLine. If you want to ride a scooter since they’re banned in Athens, this is the perfect place to ride scooters, bikes, or just simply walk down the BeltLine. In my case, we used Lyft scooters and the cost is very affordable. I rode for almost an hour, and it only cost ten dollars! After enjoying the BeltLine, you can go into the food hall of Ponce City Market to choose from remarkable places such as Bellina Alimentari, Biltong Bar, Brezza Cucina, Dancing Goats Coffee Bar, Miso Ko’s sushi, The Mercury cocktails, and much more!

Now that you’ve had some cute date ideas thrown at you, surprise your significant other with a date experience they’ll surely treasure!

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Student Spotlight: Erin Cooke

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Deciding who to interview for a student spotlight was a no-brainer for me. My friend Erin Cooke is probably the busiest person I know. I’m not kidding when I say she rarely has a day off! A senior from Ringgold, Georgia, Erin is involved in many student organizations at here at UGA, holding leadership roles in multiple clubs. Just to name a few, she works full-time for the UGA chapter of Turning Point USA, is a member of the College Republicans, and holds a position of leadership in UGA Miracle. Erin’s senior year got off to an impressive start as she coordinated a Turning Point event that hosted Donald Trump Jr. as headline speaker. The event was met with much anticipation. Originally scheduled to be at the Tate Center Theatre, the event had to be moved to the Classic Center to accommodate the large expected crowds. Turning Point saw its largest attendance ever for a campus event with a recorded turnout of around 1,500. Because of Erin’s impressive work coordinating the event, Turning Point offered her a full-time position, which she accepted in December.

Turning Point isn’t the only organization in which Erin is making a difference. Erin attributes a large part of her time to a leadership position with UGA Miracle, an event that raises money for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Erin has a younger sister with a cleft palate lip who was adopted from China at a young age. Erin told me that she knows the difficulties that many families go through with children needing vital operations. Erin’s relationship with her sister is the driving force behind her commitment to the organization. This weekend, UGA Miracle hosted a dance marathon in which attendees were challenged to stand for 24 hours straight to raise money for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The organization raised over $1.1 million over the weekend. Erin raised about $600 herself through her sorority.

So what are Erin’s plans after graduating from UGA? Well, Erin plans on running for political office in the state of Georgia, aspiring to become a U.S. Senator one day. For someone who has accomplished so much at such a young age, Erin is very humble and down to earth. She told me that she doesn’t want to seek fame through politics, but instead wants to be a servant of the community. Erin’s faith in Christ is what she said has motivated her throughout her life’s journey. I believe Erin will enjoy great success after graduation because of her amazing work ethic and dedication to service. I wish Erin Cooke the best of luck in her future career in politics!

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How To Maepole

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This weekend, I got lunch with a friend at a local restaurant in Athens, GA called Maepole. Located off of Chase Street, this restaurant opened up late Summer of 2018. It is everything “Athens” and one of Athen’s favorites as said in Flagpole. All of their meat is hormone and antibiotic free, their beef is grass – fed and have other very healthy options (some even exclude high fructose corn syrup, soy, and gluten!) The place is adorable, with an enclosed patio, and it has a very comfy feel (it even has string lights outside!) I ordered the sweet potatoes, green beans, and quinoa. The food tastes absolutely incredible. Maepole has become a “verb” at this restaurant as you pick your base (which consists of quinoa, sweet potato, super greens, or brown rice) , 2 sides, protein, a sauce and this is how you “maepole.” Maepole offers other local athens food and drinks, such as Creature Comforts beer and Condor chocolate. The food is presented well and the staff is very friendly!

One thing I love about this restaurant is that its a healthy and fast option. I feel like we need more of these today and I’m so glad that this type of restaurant exists! On their social media, they offer Whole 30 or Keto recipes and they promote sustainability. Maepole does a great job at promoting on their social media as well. I found through their instagram that they offer a 10% student discount on Tuesdays from 3 – 9 pm. Maepole offers catering and you can even order them through UberEats. I highly recommend this new restaurant. It embodies Athens well and it is DELICIOUS!

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To Brie or Not to Brie… That is the Question

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Over the past few months, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Athens’ newest cheese shop, Half-Shepherd Market and Cheese Shop. I first heard the news from my best friend (the owner’s cousin) and then from various articles from The Red and Black and Flagpole and other local publications. I knew two things: 1) that I love cheese and 2) that I knew I had to try it for myself.

I drove over to the shop on Prince Avenue and was greeted by a cute, quaint building. When you walk in, there’s lots of retro décor and many friendly employees to help you out. What I discovered is that not only does Half-Shepherd sell a variety of artisan cheeses, they also serve lunch and offer a variety of local products (such as honeys and pickles and other condiments) and more. They had an impressive wine assortment and experts there to let you know what a great pairing would be.

During lunch time, they offer grilled cheeses with tons of add-ins, and I cannot think of a better place to get one. They also have homemade sides such as pasta salad, potato salad, and naturally, tomato soup for sipping or dipping.

Half-Shepherd is owned by Fritz, a culinary school graduate from Oklahoma. It is clear when you are in the store that the employees are passionate and knowledgeable, and it’s a great environment to be in, whether you’re just stopping by or there for a meal.

As a charcuterie board connoisseur, I can say I was very pleased with my experience at Half-Shepherd. If you are looking for a place to fill your cheese plate with delicious and high-quality products, I have found the place for you. I am thrilled to support a local business and my cheese addiction at the same time.

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Frutta Bowls – Athens’ Digital Marketing Icon

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One of Athens’ newest restaurants just opened in town and this unique hot spot is making quite the entrance to the local food scene thanks to its strong digital marketing presence. Frutta Bowls is a new smoothie and juice bar that recently opened its doors in the Mark complex on Oconee Street. Specializing in açaí, kale, and pitaya bowls, Frutta Bowls has fulfilled a crucial niche that was previously lacking in the small town of Athens. 

Having only been open for less than a year, Frutta Bowls is killing the Instagram game as they already have gained 2.9K followers! This is a larger Instagram following than that of iconic Athens restaurants that have been around for years such as The Last Resort (2K followers) and Taqueria Tsunami (1.9K followers). However, Frutta Bowls’ success on social media can be attributed to digital marketing efforts that began long before the restaurant’s doors were even open. 

Three months prior to its grand opening, the restaurant began to follow many local residents and UGA students, such as myself, to promote the incoming business and offer creative content to retain followers for the future. It was in this way that I first learned of the incoming store and as an açaí fanatic, I was elated to hear the news. I initially followed the account to keep up with store opening information but ultimately was pleasantly surprised at the quality of their content and stuck around for their aesthetically pleasing photos of açaí bowls, interactive stories, and motivational quotes. 

Frutta Bowls does a fantastic job of utilizing the popular Instagram platform to engage with customers and build a sense of community. The store has run many creative campaigns to spread awareness about the brand such as giveaways featuring free açaí for a year, informational stories on the origins of their unique ingredients, personal employee introductions to meet the team, and relatable social media posts encouraging followers to tag a friend.

As a new store, the company realizes that the customer is always right.  Frutta Bowls uses Instagram’s interactive poll to go a step above and beyond in the market by taking the community’s opinion into consideration for important business factors such as preferred store hours and interest in novel menu items. Additionally, the company does a good job of connecting its digital community to reality by offering deals and free bowls to the first customers to mention specific posts and by posting about in-store events. On event days, the store covers the event through engaging stories that make viewers feel as if they are participating in the fun even from their phone screens. 

Personally, I feel that Frutta Bowl’s digital marketing has taken the Athens’ community by storm and established a great starting ground in the digital community for the company to grow and prosper throughout its first years. I am excited to see where this store goes and am longing to one day be the lucky winner of free açaí for a year! 

What do you think? Comment your thoughts on Frutta Bowl’s digital strategy below!

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40 Watt Silent Disco Becoming a Hit

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You ever just want to dance all your cares away? Do you want to hit the whip and nae nae so hard that everyone in the room stops and stares? Then fear not because silent disco is for you. The latest hit in downtown Athens has been the rise in popularity of silent disco at 40 Watt. You can go and enjoy this dance party by grabbing the headphones and choosing to dance to one of three stations in the headset. This party happens most Thursday nights at 11pm and runs til 1am, sometimes happening on Saturday nights. Even if you’re not 21 years old, you can still enjoy the night at silent disco because of the 18+ age requirement. However, the cover charge for 18-20 year olds is $7 while only $5 for 21+.

Silent disco at 40 Watt does most of their marketing through their website and social media. 40 Watt will post events on Facebook that people can say they are attending, interested, or not going. Once people say they’re attending, the event will pick up more steam and more people will decide to go. Now that silent disco has become a regular occurrence, 40 Watt does not rely much anymore on their digital marketing. Instead, word of mouth is their biggest proponent and more and more people are inviting their friends.

With silent disco the next big hit in Athens, other venues and bars downtown might pick up on this trend. Other places might start to add silent disco, which could draw some of the crowd away from 40 Watt. However, that may not happen for the foreseeable future. As of now, 40 Watt remains the happening place for silent disco.

Check it out:


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A Definitive Ranking of Athens, GA Queso

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1. Taqueria del Sol

“Best in town,” “An Athens staple,” and “5/5 stars” are a few of the ways that UGA students have described Taqueria del Sol’s infamous queso. In the words of Josie Guitton, a third-year Pre-Med student, “Taq queso is the perfect amount of spice and incredibly consistent. you know what you want when you go in and you get just that.”

2. Taqueria la Parilla

La Parilla is affectionately referred to as “La Pa” by locals and sorority girls alike. In the words of Katie Ryan, a junior marketing major, La Pa queso is “the greasiness your body needs and deserves after a 21st birthday rager.”

3. Tlaloc el Mexicano Restaurant

“One word, authentic.” -Katie Ryan

4. Cali N Tito’s at La Puerta del Sol

To get the full experience, you have to go to the Eastside and experience Cali N Titos queso at La Puerta del Sol. The chips are the perfect amount of crispy and crunchy and they pair amazingly with Cali N Tito’s queso, which is smooth with a hint of spice. The best part- La Puerta del Sol accepts credit cards.

5. La Fiesta

A hidden gem of Athens– La Fiesta is on the Eastside, across from UGA’s Veterinary School. Their queso gives you that hometown, local Mexican restaurant feel that you can’t find anywhere else. Add jalapeños for an extra kick.

6. Agua Linda Taqueria

A classic. No jalepeños, no chorizo, no frills. According to Laren Durkee, a third-year Pre-Med student, Auga Linda queso is “cheese dip you can stick a straw in and drink.”

7. The Taco Stand- Downtown

Taco Stand queso is a mix between the usual Mexican restaurant melted cheese and your mom’s spinach and artichoke dip. It’s the only queso in Athens, and maybe the world for that matter, that adds spinach to an everyday favorite.

8. Taqueria Tsunami

The best part about Taqueria Tsunami’s queso is that you have the option to dip chips, tortilla triangles, or tots in it, according to junior Josie Guitton. Definitely a great queso to indulge in when you and your roommates can’t decide between Mexican or Asian food for dinner.

9. Sr. Sol

An escape from the Athens, GA bubble. “Sr Sol is where you go when you want to indulge in your melted cheese fix without being judged by the rest of the UGA student population,” according to junior Katie Ryan.

10. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

A flavor explosion. Fuzzy’s queso is loaded with tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, cheddar, and mozzarella. Their chips add an extra kick with a signature blend of spices that is unique to Fuzzy’s locations. Fuzzy’s earned it’s spot at the bottom of the list, according to junior Carolina Pinckney, who added that “Fuzzy’s doesn’t even deserve to be called queso. It’s just melted cheese.”

*Honorable Mention: Willy’s Mexicana Grill

Willy’s gets an honorable mention for being the best fast-food, southwestern grill queso in Athens. As third-year Engeneering student Ellie Ferguson put it, “Willy’s is the best restaurant in America… don’t @ me.”

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World Champion Dawg: Samara Pattiasina

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An Interview with Samara Talia Pattiasina

Samara Talia Pattiasina is Dietetics major and a former synchronized swimmer for her country, Indonesia. She is the president of the Indonesian Student Organization. She has served as an International Orientation Leader, Campus Kitchen’s research and development intern and UGA Football Nutrition Performance Program intern.

Interviewer: Tell us about the competitions you represented Indonesia in

Samara: I represented Indonesia in SEA Games (South East Asian Games) and 3 World Championships back to back. I was chosen to swim on the national team in 2011, and I was the youngest in the team! That summer, I swam at my first World Championship in Shanghai, China. I swam my solo free, duet technical, team technical, team free, and team combination at Worlds. You may ask what’s up with the “free” and “technical,” but pretty much for free, I can do whatever I want in one routine. For technical, they have set movements that I have to incorporate in my routine. Later that year, I swam at SEA Games in Palembang, Indonesia. I swam my duet free, team technical, team free, and team combination. I was in the national team for several years after that and competed at several other international competitions including 2 more World Championships in 2013 and 2015 at Barcelona, Spain, and Kazan, Russia, respectively. 

Interviewer: What advice would you give to someone new to UGA?

Samara: My advice would be to get involved with what you love and stick with them for a while to build a network and to show that you have dedication! I’ve learned that people like to see how you can commit to something. So make sure you’re involved with what you really liked! You may have to be involved in so many different things before you can finally find “the one!”

Interviewer: You’re graduating in just a few months, what are you going to miss about Athens?

Samara: Cali n’ Titos fish burritos! I’m kidding, apart from the amazing food options in Athens, I’ll miss the awesome people I’ve met. It’s amazing how I can build personal connections to not only my colleague, but also faculties, proctors, staff, and even just local Athenians! I came here to UGA not knowing a single soul, but in two short years, of being a transfer student, I’ve made some lasting friendships!

Thank you so much for chatting with us Samara. We wish you all the best at Graduate school!

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HeAthens Homecoming: Spotlight on the Drive By Truckers

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By: Lindsey Williams

An image depicting the current band members. From left to right: Brad Morgan, Jay Gonzalez, Patterson Hood, Matt Patton, Mike Cooley

Their Story

Many bands got their start in the Classic City, one of these being a tenacious southern rock band known as the Drive-By Truckers. Their start in Athens dates back to 1996 when Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley got together and began their journey to stardom. The DBTs have cycled through many members over the years but consist of a few long standing members – Hood, Cooley, Adam Howell, Matt Lane, John Neff, and Barry Sell.

The Drive-By Truckers are most known for writing raw, authentic, songs that have meaning and tell a story. They do not worry if people think their songs are too truthful because they know their fans stand by them and believe in their artistry. I got the opportunity to see the Drive-By Truckers this week on The Outlaw Country Cruise 4 hosted by Sixthman®. I witnessed first-hand how powerful it can be when a band tells their truth and holds true to their beliefs.

A video of the song “Lookout Mountain” performed by Drive-By Truckers, recorded by my father, David Williams.

The Event

The Drive-By Truckers come back to Athens every year for a weekend they refer to as “Heathen Homecoming” where they play and express homage to the city in which they got their start. This year is the 19th annual HeAthens’ Homecoming which has grown to become a 4 four night event.

Night One (February 13th): Adam’s House Cat (an early band of Hood and Cooley) with special guest Jay Gonzalez at 40 Watt Club

Night Two (February 14th):  a Valentine’s Celebration with Don Chambers opening

Night Three (February 15th): DBT is joined by Eyelids, their good friends from Portland Oregon, who opened for them in Europe

Night Four (February 16th):  The Drive-By Truckers perform at 40 Watt Club with special guests Camp Amped Band and Linqua Franqa

The shows went on presale November 2nd 2018 and have since sold out with the exception of nights one and two. Fans will travel far and wide to support the DBT. I know some people personally who are making the trip from New York and Washington, DC to see them perform.

The Impact on Athens

The Drive-By Truckers have made an impact in the Classic City in several ways. First, DBT supports and raises money for Nuçi’s Space, a resource center based in Athens, Georgia with a mission to end the epidemic of depression and suicide of musicians as well as other services to assist in musicians’ emotional, physical and overall well-being.. The band does a benefit each year during HeAthens Homecoming for Nuçi’s at the 40 Watt in order to raise money and awareness.

Bringing numbers of fans in to the area to watch the DBT perform and selling out the shows undoubtedly impacts the economy. Hotels will have filled rooms, restaurants will be busy throughout the week, as well as expand the amount of people shopping and enjoying the Athens night life.

Truckers Tid-Bits

The Truckers and their Athens “HeAthens Homecoming” has grown so much that many local coffee shops and breweries have introduced Drive-By Truckers themed products which not only market the event but the Truckers as well.

Jittery Joe’s Coffee Roasting Company along with the Drive-By Truckers released a special blend of coffee called Cups of Dawn. This particular blend is a custom blend producing a smooth cup of coffee with a subtle sweet chocolate flavor mixed with a nut finish. The idea behind the product was to simulate just as “When you think of Drive-By Truckers you think ‘Now that is Rock n Roll’ and when you taste Cup of Dawn you think ‘Now that is a cup of coffee!’” says Charlie Mustard, Jittery Joe’s Roaster.

Additionally, the Hanging Hills Brewing Company released a HeAthens Homecoming Pilsner in late January in support of the event. The beer is a collaboration beer worked on with the brewery and the Drive-By Truckers. The microbrewery, based in Connecticut is a long-time fan of the Truckers and HeAthens homecoming and wanted to show their support.

So What?

It is important to know your city and what is has to offer, but also look into the history of it and what makes it so special and unique. One of the treasures of Athens is the music, musicians, and musical acts that sprouted here in the Classic City. They enrich the city with culture, tradition, and something to hold onto and come back for.

I encourage you all to look into what makes Athens special for you. 

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Another Year of Blessings: Athens Brews

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You are probably highly aware of the great breweries around town from Creature Comforts to Southern Brewing Co. to Terrapin. At each brewery new brews come out periodically, making each visit exciting and new.

In 2018 Creature Comforts came out with over twenty new brews, and this year is no different. Just last week I went out one night with friends to Creature and was delighted to have a beer, and get to try whatever everyone else was sipping on as well.

Personally I love sour beers and anything that mimics one be it a saison, a tart/fruity wheat beer, or a cider. I tried grapefruit infused Athena and enjoyed the perfect combination of sweet and sour. My boyfriend Calvin, a beer-or rather any type of alcohol-connoisseur, ordered one of the new 2019 Creature Comforts brews called Athens to Athens Grist to Grist. It’s a “saison aged in oak barrels” so a good mixture of tastes for someone who likes sours and wheat beers and maybe even dark beers too.

Athens to Athens Grist to Grist is actually one of the brews Creature has collaborated on with another brewery. Creature has enjoyed these collaborative projects for years now, and getting to create one great taste from two different flavors and breweries. This one in particular was a project with Jackie O’s Brewery in Athens, Ohio. How neat!

Stop by Creature Comforts next time you’re out for a new taste!

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