Urban Bobcats adjust to Athens’ slower pace

Making the adjustment from high school to college is a big one, but making the adjustment from a big city to a small college town is even bigger.  Many students at Ohio University come from or live near big cities.  When they first move in and experience Athens, it is a complete culture shock. Everything they grew up around doesn’t exist in Athens, a town surrounded by nothingness.  There are no tourists begging them to take their picture, no skyscrapers, and no malls five minutes away.  The transition from big cities to Athens is eye opening, but this small town does have its perks and can teach a thing or two to these urban dwellers.

I am one of these urban dwellers who made my way to Ohio University. I am a proud Jersey girl, and live about 30 minutes out of New York City. Deep down in my heart, I am a New Yorker. Every free weekend I find myself on the next train to New York Penn Station. I am a die-hard NY Rangers, Yankees, and Giants fan. I can easily roll off all the subway routes, and can tell you which NYC pizza places are completely lying to you when the sign on their window says “World’s Greatest Pizza.” Even though I love NYC, its hot dog stands, and its outrageous sales tax on clothing, I thought I was prepared to attend college somewhere new. Like many other Ohio University students who come from big cities, I wanted to have the chance to experience a typical, quaint college town. While my relatives and friends warned me and told me I was making a huge mistake, I rejected their opinions and happily enrolled at Ohio University.

Coming from living in or near a big city and living in Athens for the first time is indescribable. It is an overwhelming experience, full of feelings of confusion and feeling out of place. Why are these creepy people randomly saying “Hi” to me on the sidewalk? And are cars actually leaving the right amount of space between them and the car in front of them? How can people be in no rush and hold doors open for multiple people? Why is everyone so frickin’ nice? To be honest, I hated the niceness and small town hospitality at first. I wanted cars to beep at me for walking across the street when the light was still green. I wanted people to bump into me on the sidewalk and never think even once to apologize. As much as I tried to get rid of my New York/East Coast state of mind and accept the lifestyle of a small town, I simply couldn’t.

I am definitely not the only urbanite turned Bobcat who has felt this way. Freshman Jenna Sopko is a fellow New Jersey native. She lives roughly an hour from the Big Apple, and an hour and 10 minutes from Philadelphia. “I live in the perfect location, between two cities, and was lucky that I could go to them all the time, whenever I wanted,” Sopko said.

Living so close to two large cities has made Sopko believe she belongs in a city. “I practically grew up roaming the streets of New York City. I’ve window shopped down Fifth Avenue. I’ve eaten more bagels and slices of pizza than you can imagine,” she said. “It has become my second home, and it’s the place I can see myself living when I’m older.”

More than anything Sopko misses always having something to do. Whether she was seeing a play on Broadway or shopping in Times Square, her options for fun and having a new adventure in the city were endless.

Athens is a completely different story. The biggest “adventure” Athens has to offer is driving to Walmart. If you’re feeling extremely adventurous, you can drive the 15 minutes to the Fun Barn in Nelsonville to play arcade games and see a movie. Ohio University has made Princeton Review’s Top Party School List multiple times, and no wonder why. What else is there to do in this small town besides drinking? And when drinks cost a whopping $1.50 compared to Yankee Stadium’s $10 beers, how could you not participate in the nightlife?

Bobcat and Washington, D.C., native Katie Linz struggled adjusting to Athens. She is from a suburb in Northern Virginia, on the outskirts of D.C. “I come from a city that is so diverse, and I miss that. I miss being surrounded by so many people from so many different parts of the world,” Linz said. “I miss stores being open past 10 p.m. I miss always having something to do, and as weird as it sounds, I miss D.C traffic.”

I could go on and on for hours about city traffic. At home when I am stuck in rush hour, all I do is complain, but now I miss it. I don’t necessarily miss the traffic. I miss how people reacted. I hate to admit it, but I miss the road rage.   I miss people riding your tail and flipping you off when you accidentally cut them off. And by accidentally, I mean 100% on purpose because their lane was moving faster than mine. No matter what hour of the day or night, chances are you will never experience that much traffic in Athens. Most students walk everywhere, so the amount of driving in this college town is low. Some students do not even have cars on campus, which comes as a surprise to me because there is barely any means of transportation in this tiny town. No trains and no subways. The closest thing you can get is a Green Cab, and you don’t even have to hail it down.

While living in a small town in the middle of absolute nowhere has been a difficult adjustment, it has its perks. Chicagoan and sophomore Maddie Plaster, just like me, wanted to go to college in a perfect, little college town. When she first drove to Athens, she immediately felt that small-town vibe and knew it was the school for her. Living in Athens has made Plaster grateful that she has had the opportunity to live in two places that are so different. “Being in a small town opened up my eyes to a whole different life that I never experienced,” Plaster said. “Athens not only helped me to appreciate my home and my roots, but it also helped me to appreciate small towns and the quaintness and peacefulness of them.”

At times, I am grateful to live in Athens and do feel that in some ways, as hard as it is for me to admit, Athens is better than a big city. The biggest perk that pops into my head is safety. I feel safer here than I do in NYC because Athens is so small. There are two different police stations on campus, and I constantly see police cars driving by. I can walk home alone or late at night without worrying about getting mugged or something much worse happening. I can walk around Athens with a purse and not have to hold it tightly to my body in fear that someone will pickpocket me. Sopko also enjoys this newfound feeling of security. “I feel safe walking down Court Street late at night or walking home from the library at 4 a.m., something that I would never even considering doing in NYC,” said Sopko.

While living the small-town lifestyle over the past two years has been challenging, it has also been rewarding. I have realized that you don’t need to take a cab or taxi everywhere. I can walk to class, or pretty much anywhere else I need to go. Here, when you walk the 10 minutes to class, you are able to experience all the wonderful architecture and nature that come with Athens. Senior Brett Littrell, a Columbus native, also enjoys having everything within walking distance. “Everything is so close and what I love about living in a small town is that I feel like everywhere I go, I run into people I know,” said Littrell. He’s right. I can’t walk between classes without seeing a familiar face, which makes this campus feel so cozy. I have learned that patience is a virtue, and that complaining and going on a rant about how long a red light is won’t make it change any quicker. I’ve also learned that you should be kind on the road, and let a car merge into your lane. (Just because I learned that one does not mean I’m going to follow it, but it’s a good life lesson!) Finally, I’ve learned that there is nothing more powerful than the strength of a small town. Athens has experienced deaths and tragic fires, and because this is such a little, tight-knit community, everyone came together in times of need and supported one another.

Athens and small towns are not for everyone; however, small towns can leave a lasting impression on city people. I have to admit, Athens hasn’t completely sold me on the idea of living in a small town, and that’s OK. I don’t regret my decision to come to school here, and I hope that other city dwellers feel the same way. I’ve experienced so many new things here, and have fallen in love with the Bobcat family. Even though I know that I belong in the city, I have a whole new outlook on small towns. In five years when I am hopefully living in NYC and am running 10 blocks in stilettos to try to catch the train or subway, I can always think back to college and Athens. I know Athens will always serve as my escape from all the hustle and bustle of the city. And I know that if I ever get tired of the bright lights, loud sounds, and casual run-ins with the Naked Cowboy, I am always welcome back on the bricks.

 ***

Danielle Podlaski is a junior at Ohio University majoring in journalism with a minor in sports msanagement. She is a proud New Jersey native, sports lover, and Dunkin’ Donuts fanatic.  When she is not shoveling snow as an Ice Girl for the Columbus Blue Jackets, you can find her interviewing the Ohio University Men’s Ice Hockey Team between periods.  Her dream job is to be a reporter for the NHL Network or NBC Sports. 

3 ways for urbanites to combat homesickness

Sometimes when walking to class, I find myself yearning for home and the streets of New York City. While I have tried my best to adjust to this small-town lifestyle, I still miss city life.  Over the past two and a half years, I have learned ways to cope with my homesickness,m and I hope that these three tips will help you make this small town feel more like home.

TIP #1. STAY CONNECTED

Just because you go to school in Athens does not mean you don’t have a right to know what is happening back home. I follow just about every single New York City news station on Twitter, so I feel that I am still in the loop. I also follow accounts such as Humans of New York and Bald Vinny, the famous voice behind the New York Yankees’ Bleacher Creature roll call. It brightens my day when I scroll through my feed and see tweets that make me feel like I am still connected to home and everything I love there.

TIP #2. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHEN FAMILY/FRIENDS FROM BACK HOME VISIT

Visits from friends and family can cheer me up in an instant. Not only do you get to see your loved ones from back home, but they can bring things from home that you can’t get in Athens. As a girl from Northern New Jersey, Taylor Ham is something that I can’t go without.  Taylor Ham is found only in parts of New Jersey and Philadelphia, and trust me when I tell you that nothing is better than a Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese sandwich in the morning. I miss it and force my parents to bring it with them when they drive down for a visit. I also make them bring that New York style pizza that I crave constantly. And yes, I eat it cold.   It doesn’t even bother me because I will take cold New York pizza over Athens pizza any day!

TIP #3. DECORATE YOUR BEDROOM WITH THINGS THAT REMIND YOU OF HOME

Bedrooms are our private places. We go to them to relax, study, and sleep. My bedroom is where I go to unwind, and it’s the place where I spend most of my time. I wanted my room to feel like home and decorated it with that goal in mind. I have the New York City skyline on my wall and seashells from the Jersey Shore on my dresser. I have street signs that read “Broadway” and “Park Avenue,” and playbills that I have collected over the years. My walls are completely covered with pictures of Madison Square Garden, the Rangers, and more posters of Derek Jeter than humanly imaginable. When I’m feeling homesick, I go in my room and realize that home isn’t as far away as I thought.

Meet Art Oerstrike, the entrepreneur behind Jackie O’s

The Union Street fire on Nov. 16 was the most difficult thing Art Oestrike has faced as the owner of Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery. The blaze stormed a block of West Union Street and rocked several businesses in Uptown Athens, including: Jackie O’s, Bobcat Rentals, Kismet, Jack Neal Floral, Uptown Dog, Smoke Zone Smoke Shop and the Union.

“I have never dealt with anything this difficult in my years as a business owner,” Oestrike told the Columbus Dispatch. The fire forced him to lay off 30 to 40 people at the time, and it took several weeks before he was able to resume full operations.

But Oestrike has a history of staying positive and turning problems into opportunities. I was able to sit down and talk with Oestrike before the blaze, and that discussion shed light on how he handles adversity and seeks out opportunities. His round head was covered by a bandana on top and a scraggly black mustache and beard on the bottom. There was a genuine hunger for success in his eyes. He can be seen wearing anything from a button-down shirt and jeans to a full-blown suit and tie.

While he might defy the stereotype of a successful entrepreneur, Oestrike is just that. He spends a solid 60 hours a week running logistics of the brewery. He also works on distribution, packaging and projections and is currently working to reconfigure the Uptown operations.

Oestrike is a man who prides himself on having been able to sell beer all across Ohio. With Jackie O’s creating roughly 4,430 gallons of beer per week, it’s easy to see how one can reach such an expansive demographic. Oestrike is certainly a man of many crafts, and many beers. Our discussion provides insight into what makes Jackie O’s the business it is and suggests it will rebound nicely from the fiery tragedy.

Andrew “Art” Oestrike , 38, grew up in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. He attended Ohio University and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Russian and a Master of Arts in linguistics. After graduation, Oestrike left the country to teach English in South Korea. After three years, he returned to the community he was passionate about: Athens. It was here he fulfilled his dream: starting his own businesses, Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery and Bagel Street Deli, and teaching linguistics at Ohio University.

DR: What are some of the things that make Jackie O’s unique?
AO: There are a lot of breweries doing the local thing, but I think we’ve been in the lead. Being experimental. The artwork and getting outside of the box is very paramount to growth and success and imagery. We don’t need to make another can that looks like a fuckin’ PBR can. I love PBR, but there are enough of those cans on the shelves. Ours stand out. The quality of the product is another one. Striving for world-class products. It’s not about being the best beer in Athens or best restaurant in Athens. It’s about trying to be the best in the United States. Obviously we’re not there. I don’t think we have that much covered yet, but it’s about seeing beyond our micro-cause and taking it to that next step.

DR: How do you find people to bring into your organization who truly care about the business the way you do?
AO: That’s the hardest part of the whole thing. Treating people as people I think is a big one. Giving people the creative freedom to run their department — their area. No one likes being told what to do. People can be your biggest asset or your biggest problem. I’m losing touch. Every time I go to the brewpub I’m signing someone’s paycheck with whom I’ve never met. I’m not best used in the business meeting the new dishwasher. When they’re coming in on the bottom tier sort of thing, I’ll see them when I see them.

DR: How do you build a successful customer base?
AO: Time and pressure. The longer you’re operating, the more customer base you get. Having a very fluid town like Athens helps as well. Five thousand students graduate every spring. Four thousand of those students stay in Ohio. The students take their experiences with them and share via word of mouth. I think that’s a huge part of our success – the students.

DR: To what do you most attribute your success?
AO: Time and pressure, baby. Keeping an open perspective to hear other’s ideas and thoughts and knowing when and where to pick your battles. Managing your time through people’s ideas. Being able to see the big picture and where you want to steer this thing. It takes a lot of time to turn the ship at this point. I’m not a details person, but the details are important.

DR: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
AO: Apple. In 15 years, they’ve gotten themselves into every third pocket. They’re in every third pair of pants walking around the U.S. and the globe. They’re in your pocket. Unbelievable. I like regional. Supporting our local situation and driving business to an area in need of economic help and development.

DR: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
AO: I probably would have started this earlier — where we’re sitting. I would probably keep things pretty similar to what I’m doing. I like that it’s really just one big gamble right now. Right now everything seems safe and secure like we’re moving in the right direction, but I’ve still got all my financial marbles wrapped into this business and I always have. I keep my day job so I don’t have to take money out of here so I can keep this thing growing and moving forward because I have 100 people who are basing their livelihoods on this place, this business.

DR: Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
AO: I think time will tell. I think becoming synonymous with Ohio beer – Jackie O’s. That’s a goal. A big overarching 10-year plan. We’re getting there, but really it’s not about getting Mystic Mama to California. There are other great IPAs in California. The reason that we can compete with that is because when you go to Kroger in Athens, Ohio, and you want to go buy Mystic Mama, most likely it’s one of the freshest products there because it’s not from 3,000 miles away.

DR: Is there anything you’d like to add?
AO: You have to own your backyard. You have to be synonymous with your backyard. We’re in a very small community, but a very locally engaged, tight community. I don’t know that you have many others that are this much community oriented in Ohio and really anywhere for that matter. Supporting local initiatives left and right and all over the place is so important to what we’re up to. Even if most of the money is coming to us, it’s still coming around here and building that thing where people get to see this lovely little community and talk about the community, not just what we’re up to. I think that helps feed everybody. That puts money in a lot of different coffers. That’s what we’re all about. Without Athens supporting what we’ve been doing for nine years come December, we’re not us sitting here talking to you and you don’t give a shit what we’re up to. A lot of that is from what we’ve done, but how our community has supported us throughout those years.

 ***

Daniel Rader is a photographer currently based in Athens, Ohio. He is a junior at Ohio University studying visual communication with a major sequence in photojournalism and a specialization in anthropology. Rader’s work has been featured in professional advertising and has been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, online publications and websites across the United States including Newsday, Dayton Daily NewsUSA Today College, Muse Machine, WOUB and others. His linked in page is www.linkedin.com/in/danielraderphoto.

 

 

Modern advertising

Projected numbers for spending
Projected numbers for spending

Local Athens businesses are struggling to keep up with advertising trends, which shift each year. While the more traditional way of advertising in newspapers and magazines continues to drop, digital and mobile advertising are climbing.

According to the Pew Research Center, media will only spend $14.97 billion this year on advertising for mobile users in the United States. By 2017, this number will grow to $35.62 billion. Television and digital advertising will still be the most popular means to sell a message, but mobile advertising will pass newspapers, magazines and radio in the next three years.

Digital advertising will become almost as popular as advertising on television. By 2017, Pew forecasts that media will spend $75.25 billion on television and $62.38 billion on digital. This is a big difference from 2012 when only $36.8 billion was spent on digital advertising.

In the next few years, media will spend about $3 billion less to advertise in newspapers but radio advertising will slowly grow, as magazine ad spending will remain about the same.

While these are only forecasted numbers, they exemplify the big changes that companies can expect in advertising.

Positive LGBT activities at Ohio University

My story, a personal essay on my recent feelings of loneliness, is a little bit depressing. It’s hard to write and hard to read. I want to make sure that though I have felt unhappy or disenfranchised, I’m also exploring the options and resources offered to me as a member of the LGBT community. While sometimes our community feels small or far-apart, we have the option to tell our stories, allowing us to learn and to educate those on our campus willing to participate in sharing LGBT experiences.

Ohio University’s LGBT Center offers activities that are innovative and informative, centered on breaking the walls of marginalization in a community with a sparse LGBT presence.

Speakout! Panels
These student-run and organized panels  provide up close experiences in an honest and safe environment. Made up of four or five students, the panels encompass LGBT experiences and bring them close to home. Speakout! Panels can be booked for class times or for out-of-class activities.

SafeZone
SafeZone is a series of workshops or training sessions on becoming a major ally to the LGBT community. SafeZone certification means one is tolerant and willing to listen in the hopes of learning and protecting the experiences of LGBT students. Safety is in the name, and it’s an apt reference to the secure nature that certification brings. A SafeZone-certified person offers a sympathetic ear, advice, or just a word of encouragement. I always feel a little brighter after seeing people on campus wearing SafeZone pins or stickers.

Dine N Discuss
LGBT Center’s Dine N Discuss offers both lunch and conversation. The topics vary, whether it’s a discussion on coming out or trans experiences.

 

Walking home at midnight on Court Street

The cold November air bites at my face as I walk, a dark figure navigating through stumbling students as they head down Court Street toward the bars and I head home, staring straight ahead and trying not to make eye contact with anyone who passes me by.

To be heading home at midnight from the bars on Court Street in Athens, Ohio, is a clear sign of a problem.

“I think I’m just gonna go home,” I whispered into a friend’s ear over the pulsating bass of Pitbull’s confusingly catchy Spanglish.

“What’s wrong?” my friend asked, noticing that I was practically twitching as I nervously bit the end of my straw and hopped off my barstool.

“Nothing! I’m just tired,” I said, using a classically transparent excuse for something I  just didn’t want to explain for fear that I would sound ungrateful, insecure, or even worse, like a boring and whiny buzzkill.

I stop at the corner of the street and wait as cars careen past me and turn onto Court.

Court Street is beautiful. “It’s like a little piece of New York City. It’s perfect for you!” my mom had gushed on my first visit, looking around in amazement at the busy street.

The first time I walked down Court Street, I felt magic. I attempted to hide my awestricken excitement by distancing myself from my mom as she power walked to the T-shirt shops in the hopes of finding an OU MOM!!! <3 T-shirt.

My mother wasn’t with me as I took Court Street on my own, fake ID (about 50 pounds from the truth) in hand and wide-eyed enthusiasm in exploring each of the bars, and learning the ins and outs of Court, propelling me throughout the weekend nights.

“Grilled cheese! Only $5! Want one!?” yells an enthusiastic sorority girl, practically thrusting the piping hot ball of aluminum masquerading as a sandwich into my mouth.

“Sorry, I’m lactose intolerant,” I mutter as I meander down the street toward my apartment, located above China King on Court. The lights of the illuminated China in China King have gone out, so only the word King glows red at night.

My phone chimes with a text as I near my door. Two guys smoking cigarettes outside my building entrance give me a halfhearted nod of greeting as I punch in the code and look down at my text messages.

“Is everything okay?” asks another friend I had been out with earlier in the night.

“I’m just having a weird night,” I say.

I have trouble keeping up false pretenses with my friends when I go out. The truth is I’ve grown tired of the bars, Court Street, and the hook-up and dating culture that permeates them. I’ve become exhausted by going out with my female friends and feeling like I’m holding them back from flirting with boys because I’m the clingy fungus that attracts about as many boys as an undercover cop at the Crystal.

I hate to admit it, but part of my problem is that I haven’t gotten as much male attention as I’ve wanted in Athens.

As my friends have all dated, rejected, or hooked up with boys ranging from subpar to husband-material, I’ve felt stagnant in my complete lack of ability to find a boy who will even text me, let alone spend actual time with me in a romantic way.

I remember telling myself in high school that I would definitely have a boyfriend in college, practically assuring myself that OU was a sea of gay people, the academic equivalent of a pride parade. The piece of the puzzle I was missing, or subconsciously attempting to ignore, was that I was choosing a school with a very sparse gay population in the middle of Southeast Ohio.

Now I’ve been reduced to pity matchmaking in a place where I know almost every single gay person who steps foot on the red bricks of this campus.

“Oh you have to meet my friend,” an eager and well-meaning straight girl tells me as she grasps my hand conspiratorially and searches through her Instagram followers for the man in question.

My mind races for a second. I’m an optimist at heart, always hoping that maybe a cliché mystery man will emerge from some dorm room or Palmer Place or wherever the hell hidden societies of attractive gay men tend to hide.

“Here he is,” she says as she points to the screen, practically giggling with sheer joy at her matchmaking abilities, probably already planning our not-legal-in-Ohio gay wedding.

“Oh yeah, I’ve met him,” I say, hoping not to burst her bubble entirely, and feeling the rush of optimism exit my veins, leaving me a little bit deflated.

I climb the stairs to my apartment, the familiar smell of my neighbors’ weed filling the hallway of the building.

As I reach my door, I dial my mom’s cell phone and she picks up on the second ring.

“You know I’ve never really seen you like this,” my mom tells me after I rant on the phone to her about my grievances.

My mom has been sick my whole life. She pushed for me to go to OU and to leave home, despite my guilt for leaving her. As her youngest kid of four and her only boy I’ve worried about her throughout my time in Athens.

“Maybe this is my fault,” she says, “I’ve made you and your sisters think it’s all about having a man in your life.” My mom’s signature move is to blame herself for things and then launch into an autobiography about the struggles she has overcome in life.

“It’s not that, Mom. It’s more than that. There are only so many boys here and there is only so much room for me here,” I reply, hoping that my mom isn’t coming to the conclusion I’m as dependent on male attention as I sound.

It really isn’t all about boys.

I would compare what I’m feeling to rock fever.

Urban Dictionary (the Webster of my good old millennial generation) defines the term rock fever as “the hemmed-in, claustrophobic, trapped feeling mainlanders get when they spend too much time in Hawaii.”

Athens is my Hawaii. I escaped the mainland, my hometown of Akron, for the freedom and exotic beauty of Athens, a refreshing and unfamiliar island nestled into the confines of a sea of highways, farms, and forests.

There is no denying Athens is a special place. Its magic isn’t definable. Court Street is like Mecca for college partygoers. Fest season is considered a carefree time of nirvana, and the town itself is a community that seems to expand beyond the borders of poverty with constant exploration of culture and hometown pride.

I can’t be the only one who has seen the magic of Court Street slip away from me with time. The expanse of the main street in the small town we call home is only so large, over the years twisting from something that had once made me feel grown-up and carefree into something that made me feel jaded and limited. I can’t be the only one who has wondered if there isn’t more or if I’ve seen and done it all.

After I tell my mom I love her and hang up the phone, I make another call to my best friend, Deven, as I heat up leftover Chipotle in my microwave and attempt to navigate through the mess my roommate has made of the kitchen.

“You know too much,” Deven says after I attempt explaining to him the direction my night has taken. “You know this is all bullshit. You know deep down it should be better and that’s been gnawing at you for a while,” he says.

“When it’s fun, it’s fun, but when it’s not it just isn’t,” I say as I grab my bowl out of the microwave and go sit on my futon and stare out the window. My living room windows face Court Street, a perfect view of the Athena Grand’s lights and the drunken crowds that take over Jimmy John’s Thursday through Saturday.

“You can’t keep pretending to have a great night at the CI every weekend and you can’t keep pretending that some of the stuff you’re doing here isn’t bullshit, but you also can’t keep ignoring the great stuff in order to focus on the negative stuff,” Deven says.

Deven is right. I do know too much. I’ve seen too much.

As a freshman with starry eyes on weekend nights I sought to find out everything there was to know about Athens and what it was like to suddenly have access to bars, guys, and freedom without the worries of my mom or my hometown.

Eventually I found my answers and I learned everything there was to know. I met who I needed to meet and I became who I wanted to be. Athens and Court Street are only so big and there is only so much to find out, only so many possibilities.

In Athens, my possibilities are limited.

Eventually after a long talk, Deven and I say good night and I look out my window as I finish my Chipotle.

I see people walking home from bars and I watch them do what I did an hour ago, try to walk home through the cold almost-winter wind without seeming unhappy or killing the vibe everyone on Court Street is working so hard to uphold.

I give them a silent salute, finish my burrito bowl, and attempt to gather whatever positive vibes are left in my apartment in the middle of it all on Court Street.

 ***

 Louis Baragona is a junior news and information journalism student at Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Louis’ career aspirations are to make celebrities laugh while revealing highly personal information about themselves on live television, to write stories for a magazine, to become Beyonce’s close friend, and to make his mom proud. When not writing, Louis is watching Braxton Family Values, listening to SZA, trying to be funny, or eating alarming amounts of Chipotle.

Athens Farmer’s Market: good food, good for you

One Saturday this semester, I decided to go to the Athens Farmers Market, 1000 E. State St.,  to check out what they had to offer. I didn’t realize how large it actually was. They have more than 70 vendors, allowing for a very nice assortment of food. From fresh fruit to different cheeses to baked goods, the Athens Farmers Market left me with my mouth watering.

In addition to the Farmacy, the Athens Farmers Market is a great way to buy healthy and fresh foods. They are open every Saturday year-round, and during the warmer months they also are open on Wednesday The market is pretty far from campus, but Athens Public Transit can get you there and back for a buck each way.

Here are some of the different vendors that were set up when I went!

[metaslider id=948]

 

Court Street guide for newbies

As a freshman I was intimidated the first time I came to campus. Crazy thoughts ran through my mind.

What if I look like a freshman?

Am I going to get picked on?

How the heck am I going to find friends?

The one thing I was most conflicted about was where to go and what to eat. Where do all the hot guys go to eat? Of course that was a stupid thought because it’s not like they congregate in one place. Or do they?

Now, as an upperclassman, I know a few answers to those questions, but I’ll leave it to the  newbies to figure out the answers. The one thing I will provide is a list of the top five (or eight) most popular spots to eat and drink on the most popular street in Athens — Court Street.

SidebarIn a tie for the No. 2 spot we have Jackie O’s and Bagel Street DeliSurveying upperclassmen about where to go and what to eat is no easy feat. With a small sample of only 46 people, the answers were relatively varied. But as most of America knows, Chipotle is always the place to go, and according to OU students, we Bobcats follow the American way.

I was hoping for some unique restaurant you can find only in Athens as the No. 1 spot, but our taste buds are accustomed to those “bomb-ass carnitas,” as one student put it. I didn’t even need to ask what the newbies should get there because let’s face it, it’s Chipotle, even I know what to get there (and I don’t even like it). Quite frankly, it gives me heartburn that I would like to avoid.

My best friend and roommates are so “addicted,” it’s as if they can’t live without it. After the Union Street fire in November, multiple posts on Yik Yak, an anonymous gossip app, spread the rumor that  Court Street Chipotle would be closed for the rest of the semester. Although untrue, the posts caused some students to start planning trips to Lancaster or Columbus just to get their carnitas. It seemed people were more worried about their burrito fix than the fire itself. So I guess it makes sense Chipotle stole the No. 1 spot.

While I have never been to either location, I have heard rave reviews about both places. Unfortunately, Jackie O’s Public House was forced to close for several weeks after the fire and just recently reopened and is serving food again.

Bagel Street Deli has a long list of almost every bagel creation you can think of. Even though it looks like a hole in the wall, there is so much potential behind those doors. It is definitely on my college bucket list (which you should consider making). Some of the most popular bagels are the Tom’s Turkey, the pizza bagel, and Da Carmella. They have so many combinations on the menu it is almost impossible to not find something you like. Don’t be scared when you walk in. On Parent’s Weekend last year, my family and I decided to try it out. We walked in, saw it was extremely crowded and my anxiety about not knowing what to order got the best of me and we ran out of there. Don’t do that! Just try it and you may become as addicted to it as my friends are to Chipotle.

The No. 3 spot belongs to The Pub. Although it is farther down Court Street, don’t be afraid to venture to the “bar side,” as I call it. There are so many bars on the far end of Court Street that it is hard to figure out which one to try. Take a look at some of the bar pieces on Court Street Stories.com to learn about some of the watering holes around town.

The Pub sticks out like a sore thumb on Court Street, with its wood slats painted an odd shade of green, and the sign looking a little weathered and outdated. According to the survey, one of the best things to get is a burger. It doesn’t matter what kind, it is your burger after all, so get what you want, but they are supposedly delicious. At night is when the fun comes out, with a rainbow usually appearing in multiple shot glasses. If you don’t know what rainbow shots are, either just go and try them or check out Tipsy Bartender on YouTube. The intro is a very pretty collection of rainbow shots. Another item is the Aquarium Beer, which is basically beer in a fishbowl that you can suck down with friends or just get drunk solo. Again, if you are not of age, add it to the bucket list but at least try a burger. I mean, who doesn’t love a good burger?

The No. 4 spot must have been a tough decision because The Pigskin, Casa Nueva and Big Mamma’s Burritos all tied.

The Pigskin is one of the “prettier” bars on Court Street, meaning it doesn’t necessarily look like a typical Athens bar but more of a “restaurant undercover,” so to say. With an all-glass front, it is also one of the most recognizable. One of the most popular items is the Thin Mint shot. It supposedly tastes exactly like the Girl Scout cookie. I don’t know about you, but I love Girl Scout cookies and Thin Mints are one of my favorites, so this shot is definitely on my list.

Casa Nueva is popular among OU students. They have some good food, and I can say that because I have actually been there. Rare, I know. The margaritas are a big hit as well as the nachos. “Casa” features karaoke nights and live bands. The atmosphere is unique and you don’t have to be 21 years old to enjoy what they have to offer.  Big Mamma’s Burritos is also relatively well-known, mostly because a lot of people consider it “drunk food.” They are open late and burritos are pretty easy to carry, so it makes sense. Some crowd faves include the Buffalo Mamma and the Chipotle Ranch Mamma.

Finally, the No. 5 spot is Stephen’s On Court. This restaurant/bar is a little more upscale than others on Court Street, but the pasta is really good from the students’ point of view. The popular shot is a Chocolate Covered Pretzel Shot, which sounds amazing to me. Although they are situated on the opposite end of Court Street from campus, it is still worth a try to get there during your time at OU.

The main reason people chose these places was because of the price. Everyone knows that college kids have little to no money. My only question is how are they buying this food? We complain about how broke we are, but we are still buying $7 burritos and shots every weekend. But here’s the catch — the food is so much better than Ramen noodles in the microwave on a Monday night. A lot of it is locally grown, which supports the community and makes you feel like you contributed something. The atmosphere of these places is also a big draw. Some are a little more relaxed than others, you just have to figure out what you are in the mood for.

Now that you know the top places to eat around campus, and what to get there, you can start working on the answer to the most important question: Where do you go to find the attractive people on campus? If this article hasn’t taught you anything, at least now you know that they are probably as obsessed with Chipotle as the next Bobcat.

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Taylor Feeney is a junior Visual Communications major at Ohio University. Her dream job is to be a freelance web designer or to own a small startup situated somewhere warm and sunny. She loves to read and drinks a lot of coffee so she can stay up late on a Netflix binge while making ugly websites pretty.

What your favorite drunk food says about you

Drunk food is “food one eats after getting the beer munchies,” according to Urban Dictionary, which offers the example: “After 8 beers I sure can go for some drunk food!” Court Street offers an ample array of “drunk food” selections for hungry college students after a night out on the town.

But what does your favorite drunk food really say about you?

1. Jimmy John’s, 16 S. Court Street

Established in 1983, Jimmy John’s is a proud server of “gourmet” sandwiches. I quote gourmet because there is really nothing gourmet about them. Nonetheless, when a restaurant is open past 3 a.m. it’s bound to attract business from intoxicated college students after a long night out at the bars.

If your go-to drunk food is Jimmy John’s, you are the lazy drunk, having your food delivered directly to your door.

“I order Jimmy John’s when I’m drunk because it’s really the only thing I know how to dial in my phone when I have been drinking, not to mention it has freaky fast delivery,” says Jessie Shockler, a senior at Ohio University. It’s no wonder the delivery is “freaky fast.” Who else would really crave a bland sandwich at 2 in the morning?

If you are a Jimmy John’s eater, you might be a picky eater making a drunken compromise. “I don’t even really like Jimmy John’s to be honest,” says Shockler. “I never eat it sober.”

I was shocked to learn Shockler does not order the classic Turkey Tom, which picky eaters tend to love. However, she did mention she orders the Italian Night Club every single time.

If you are a Jimmy John’s eater, you are likely an introvert and would rather eat your food alone in peace instead of rallying the gang to eat out.

2. Pita Pit, 8 N. Court Street

“Fresh thinking, healthy eating.” Pita Pit’s motto says it all. If you are a Pita Pit eater, you are a conscientious health nut and might be a vegetarian.

Lindsey Tennent, a junior at Ohio University, chooses Pita Pit as her go-to drunk food. “Being a vegetarian plays a huge factor in choosing where I eat,” Tennent says while standing at a local watering hole with her hair parted down the middle. She’s wearing dark red lipstick, high waisted pants and Alex and Ani bracelets. Tennent chooses Pita Pit because she says she feels sick if she eats anything else.

If your go-to drunk food is Pita Pit, you are “hip” and a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-own pants” type of person. Tennent doesn’t care if she is drunk or sober, with people or alone, she will eat her black bean pita with hummus anyway.

3. O’Betty’s, 15 W. State Street

According to O’Betty’s website, “O’Betty’s has always been about great food, a great experience, a great fun environment in a great community.” If you go stumbling into O’Betty’s after a night out on Court Street, you are likely to go in arm and arm with your best buddies.

Tory Prichard, a senior at Ohio University, stumbles into O’Betty’s with her friends after a night out on Court Street. If you chow down on a hot dog and cheese fries at O’Betty’s like Prichard, you are an extrovert who chooses to share the experience with your closest friends.

Prichard chooses O’Betty’s because she is a pork lover. “I love bacon, anything with bacon.” O’Betty’s isn’t just on Prichard’s drunk radar, she proudly eats it when sober too. The O’Betty’s drunk eaters, in a nutshell, are fun-loving extroverts who would eat bacon over anything. ANYTHING.

4. Uptown Grill: 11 W, Union Street

I often wonder how the Chicken-N-Waffle sandwich was created. It was like some ingenious decision, and you don’t really know why you like it, but something about it is intriguing, especially when you are under the influence of alcohol.

Sara Portwood, a senior at Ohio University, always sticks with the classic Chicken-N-Waffle sandwich when she makes her pit stop at Uptown Grill on her way home from the bars. “I didn’t even know they had anything else on their menu, honestly,” says Portwood. Because really, what else would you get at a restaurant known for its classic Chicken-N-Waffle sandwich?

When I asked Portwood if she has ever scarfed down a Chicken-N-Waffle sandwich sober, she hesitated, then said, “Yeah I have. It was fine.”

“It’s amazing drunk and good sober.”

If you are among the Chicken-N-Waffle eaters, you have a care-free personality, you’re practical and like to stick with the classics. “I’ll eat Chicken-N-Waffle alone or with friends. I don’t really care,” says Portwood.

Portwood was thrilled to explain that eating a Chicken-N-Waffle sandwich takes her the same exact time it takes for her walk home from Uptown Grill. “It’s pretty perfect actually,” she says, “and it’s the best sandwich to eat when you’re cold to warm you up!”

5. GoodFella’s, 6 W. Union Street & 35 N. Court Street

Last but not least is one of Athens’ drunk food staples, GoodFella’s. GoodFella’s is for the independent “don’t need-no-man-but-pizza,” kind of girl who loves pizza more than life itself.

Katelyn Boyden, a senior at Ohio University, finds her way into Goodfella’s on her way home from the bars. “I love pizza,” says Boyden, plain and simple. She even went to the extent of dressing up as a slice of pizza for Halloween this year.

“I always get ‘two pepps with crust,’” says Boyden. A drunk and loyal customer to Court Street’s GoodFella’s, she has picked up on the lingo by now. However, Boyden, being the pizza lover she is, has never had GoodFella’s sober. “I’d rather get Papa John’s or something when I’m sober,” she said.

The list goes on for the places Court Street offers for the late night partiers in Athens looking for a bite to eat. But watch your step next time you go stumbling into one of these places. You could have someone judging you based off your drunk food of choice. Curious where you fit in? Check out the info graphic and see!

what does your favorite drunk food say about you

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Karlee Proctor is  a Strategic Communications student at Ohio University. She enjoys design and utilizes her strategic communications education in her self-taught design work. Karlee is a coffee enthusiast, loves the outdoors, enjoys travel/adventure and is a self-proclaimed professional music finder.