Located at 27 S Court Street, Bagel Street Deli is home to all things bagel. There’s something for everyone on the menu, and they can even create your own personalized bagelwich. With its cozy brick walls, high top tables and loud music, it makes for a lively atmosphere to enjoy those comforting carbs.
Tucked away off of Court Street and a tad off the beaten path lies a major key to the Athens food scene—Union Street Diner. Located at 70 West Union Street, Union Street Diner is a 24/7, all-day breakfast diner.
Union Street Diner, or USD, is your typical, small-town greasy spoon. If you want some quaint and cozy diner, USD is not for you. The wobbly tables and funky wall art are what make the diner near and dear to the hearts of Athens locals and OU students alike.
So, when you’re bored sitting in your dorm with your friends at 2 a.m., suggest going to USD. This will bring about your first trip to one of many Athens gems. And when you sit down in those green booths, you’ll ask yourself, “What do I order?”
Here are some choices depending on how your first year at OU has been treating you.
Missing home: It’s okay to miss home and miss mom and/or dad’s cooking. But you’ve taken the first step of getting out of your room to have fun with your friends. And USD has another solution for you.
Order: Homemade noodles over mashed potatoes, choice of vegetables, and dinner roll
Price = **Thursday lunch and dinner special for $6.99
Balling on a budget: There might be some days when you feel like you need to sell your kidneys in order to pay for textbooks. That may be the case, but be sure to save a few bucks for USD.
Order: Grilled cheese—any of five cheeses (American, Cheddar, Swiss, Provolone, or Pepper Jack) on your choice of bread and served with fries
Price = a whopping $4.99
Stressed from playing college: You probably thought that high school was the most stressed out you’ve ever been with the ACT and SAT. College is stressful but so much more fun because you’re living on your own and learning how to adult. So just take some deep breaths and know that everyone is just as overwhelmed as you are.
Order: Grilled chicken sandwich on a corn-dusted Kaiser bun and served with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and fries.
Price = $6.99
Starving: There’s always the stereotype that every college student eats Ramen but I have never had a bowl in my 22 years of being on this earth. I do know that you can only eat Nelson and Shively dining hall food for so long.
Order: South of the Border burger—Fresh ground sirloin seasoned with Kosher salt and black pepper, grilled onions, tomatoes, bell & banana peppers, smothered by garden salsa, and melted Pepper Jack cheese and served with fries
Price = $9.59
Happy to be alive: Adjusting to life in college isn’t always a smooth transition. But if you’re loving your classes and making tons of friends, go ahead and satisfy your taste buds.
Order: Three chocolate chip pancakes
Price = $5.89
Indecisive: “What do you want to eat?” “I don’t care. What do you want to eat?”
Order: Chicken tenders served with two sides and a dinner roll
Price = $8.99
Other popular USD dishes include: mac and cheese bites ($5.99), deep fried pickles (5.49), chili cheese fries ($6.18), cheesecake (price not listed), western omelet ($7.59)
PSA: Always order water because it’s the cheapest (free). If you’re feeling rich, go ahead and splurge on one of USD’s awesome homemade milkshakes!
If the pizza deliveryman knows you by name, I’d highly consider grabbing a group of friends and taking a walk to USD. The sooner you go, the better. You don’t want to have the next four years pass you by and be THAT person that says they’ve never been to USD. Seriously, don’t be that person. Oh, and don’t worry, they have free WiFi.
On the sidewalk outside of 8 North Court Street rests a colorful and inviting sign on an easel. It urges a hungry or thirsty passerby to stop inside Fluff Bakery to enjoy one of the daily specials that’s written in fluorescent pink and green marker. Driven by my curiosity—and guilty sweet tooth—I couldn’t help but take a peek inside during the fall of my freshman year.
I fell in love with Fluff that day. Though I’ve been there more than a dozen times, I still have a difficult time deciding what exactly I want to order. The clear display cases and shelves tempt me with assortments of cookies, cupcakes, elaborate pastries, cakes and cannolis. I want it all. After I settle on a baked good, I almost always need a cup of coffee to wash it down with. They offer a spectacular array of roasts and flavors from Silver Bridge Coffee; I personally recommend Jamaican Me Crazy, which is infused with caramel, hazelnut and Kahlua.
Fluff Bakery also serves up some tasty breakfast and lunch options. I have yet to try the Fluffhead Sandwich, but I’m a big fan of their BBQ Pork Business Biscuit. Barbecue sauce is not exactly a common condiment on the breakfast table, but this monster of a sandwich left me full until dinnertime. Bonus: the meals are made-to-order, so they’re hot every time.
This place is a favorite of mine because everything is reasonably priced and the quality is unbeatable; Fluff sources their ingredients from local suppliers such as Snowville Creamery. The seating is great too—customers can people watch at the bar stools along the window or sit down at a table toward the back of the store if they’re looking to snag a quieter study spot.
I highly recommend checking out their Instagram to catch up on daily specials and other promotions, such as Pie Day Friday (free coffee with a slice of their featured pie when it’s eaten in-store). But one tip… don’t scroll through their pictures when hunger strikes.
I can’t lie, I love my Tim Hortons too… Stumbling upon Athens, Ohio your everyday Tim Hortons latte and donut begins to compete a little more with the hidden gems found throughout the bricks of Athens. McHappy’s Bake Shoppe a donut shop that speaks for itself “smiles by the dozen.” It’s actually a funny story of how I stumbled upon this hidden sweet treat gem. Training for the Athens half marathon, I began to run a little more outside the bricks and over the bridge, around mile five I was mind blown by the things that existed just over this bridge. Over this bridge and pass the hocking McHappy’s was almost like grandmas house, a little brick building that sums up the simplicity of Athens, Ohio. Forty years of baking fresh donuts and pastries McHappy’s expanded it’s brand to five locations but the Athens store just felt like home. That feeling of sitting in your kitchen and grandma just baked so many cookies, the smell fills the air and you just can’t pick one. Thank goodness it’s only 9.50 for a dozen because getting one would almost be a crime.
Do you ever have that feeling where nothing is sweet enough? When one “timbit” doesn’t cut it, well McHappy’s Bake Shoppe hits the spot. The wire racks filled with mouth watering donuts glazed to perfection, some jelly filled others maple filled, it wasn’t just a donut it was a taste of satisfaction. One dozen later and I was smiling, ear to ear my sweet tooth caved. The taste of the maple cream filled donut was something you just can’t find at your commercial coffee shop. If you aren’t craving the sweet glazed donut, don’t worry they have fresh made muffins, strong brewed coffee and a drive through for these wintery months. Yes, my mouth is watering thinking about the sweet satisfaction that filled the air of McHappy’s…”donut worry” i’ll be back for more. All in all Athens is pretty “sweet” it gives you this desire to be healthy, to live a fit life but some times that motivation from your half-marathon training leads you to sweetest of them all; a little brick bakery, called McHappy’s.