Where The Locals Go In Athens, Georgia

Southern Living writer David Hanson spent a day in Athens, Georgia, asking the locals where he should go. Each person led to a great discovery that led to another. He tells us how it played out. Here, he tells us how it played out. 

Ike & Jane

Photo by David Hanson

9:14 a.m. I begin at Ike & Jane, a bakery where I meet pastry chef Lydia Clopton. As I try her bacon-peanut-butter-banana-topped handmade glazed donut, Lydia introduces boyfriend Dean Neff, the executive chef at Southern cuisine outpost Five & Ten. Dean’s brother played with Athens’ hottest act, the Drive-by Truckers. He suggests I head to the band’s favorite local guitar shop. 

11:45 a.m. Scott Baxendale at Baxendale Guitar has built or fixed guitars for Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Jr., and John Mellencamp. He asks if I like trapeze and points me down the street to Canopy.

Photo by David Hanson

Photo by David Hanson

12:45 p.m. Rope swings hang above padded floors in Canopy, a warehouse where pros perform and train, and kids and adults learn the art of aerial dance. Director Melissa Roberts invites me to take a swing, so I heave ho. Stomach properly riled, I mention soul food, so Melissa sends me to Weaver D’s.

Photo by David Hanson

Photo by David Hanson

2:15 p.m. “Automatic!” I hear as I walk in the door at Weaver D’s. It’s Dexter Weaver—owner, soul food chef, and Athensicon. Sweet tea washes down my fried chicken, greens, and cornbread. Dexter, the inspiration for R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People, signs his cookbooks. By this time in the day he’s got coffee on the mind.

Photo by David Hanson

Photo by David Hanson

3:30 p.m. Dexter points me Up the street to Jittery Joe’s, where a long, wooden warehouse smokes coffee fumes. I sip an espresso and meet Charlie Mustard roasting in back. He suggests stone artist Stan Mullen’s quirky old warehouse space, but Stan’s not home and has a big dog. It’s Tuesday, so Charlie sends me to meet Miss Ethel at the farmers’ market.

4:15 p.m. Miss Ethel Collins works the tiny farm stand at West Broad Farmer’s Market, open Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, at the community garden recently planted at the city’s historic black elementary school. She occasionally sells her entire stock of rainbow chard, kale, arugula, and sweet potatoes to Dean Neff at Five & Ten. No surprise she recommends dinner at the restaurant.

7 p.m. Hugh Acheson’s flagship restaurant, Five & Ten,  is slated to move into a century-old house on Milledge Avenue in April 2013, but for now I’m in their Five Points birthplace, sharing the bar with two chatty wine-drinking ladies. But I’m all talked out. My night ends with the shrimp and andouille Frogmore stew and its playful Creole slap.

COMMENTS

  1. Justin

    John Neff is no longer in the Drive By Truckers

    May 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm
  2. Jennifer

    Justin, I think you are missing the key signal “Dean’s brother played”…as in past tense.

    May 9, 2013 at 10:05 am
  3. Raphael

    I think you mean “Ike & Jane.” Cool article though!

    May 9, 2013 at 10:15 am
  4. Becca

    It’s Ike & Jane, actually. It’s hard to capture all the places the locals go, but these are a few of the key ones! Hope you enjoyed them

    May 9, 2013 at 10:19 am
  5. John

    Is Weaver D’s still even open? Last time I went it was a shell of its former self.

    May 9, 2013 at 10:40 am
  6. Andy

    These places are not where any of the locals go. You took the standard tourist tour.

    May 9, 2013 at 10:59 am
  7. Lara

    Athens, Georgia sounds boring as hell.

    May 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm
  8. William D. Pryor

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    May 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm
  9. Kat

    It’s “Ike and JANE” not JAKE

    May 10, 2013 at 7:57 am
  10. Bertis Downs

    These places are definitely where many locals do– we don’t have THAT many tourists. Good story and a nice shout-out to the West Broad Farmer’s Market and Garden, one of the bright stars on our town’s culinary horizon. And a signature project of our Athens Land Trust, the school district and the university and a lot of hard work by individuals has made that from nothing a very short time ago.

    May 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm
  11. Bertis Downs

    sorry that sentence wasn’t very grammatical– can’t seem to edit it– oh well, it’s the internet

    May 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm