Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a senior at OU? Here are some memories

When I graduated high school, friends and family encouraged me to have the best time at college, and live it up.  They told me college was going to be the best four years of my life.  I think it’s safe to say I had fun.

Coming to college, I honestly couldn’t tell you how scared I actually was.  I had never been away from my family or friends for that long of a period, I didn’t know what to expect.  I didn’t know how long it was going to take to make new friends and get adjusted to life away from Cincinnati, but I knew if I didn’t think about it too hard, I could make new friends pretty easily.  Luckily, I was rooming with a friend from high school and it wasn’t long before I made, arguably, the biggest and best decision in college – joining a fraternity.

Many students adapt to the new environment and figure out what their favorite places on campus are sooner rather than later…especially in Athens!

As my time at Ohio University is running out, it’s hard not to look back at my four years here on campus, and think about all of my friends that I have met.

When I look back at my time here, there are so many different memories, good and bad, that pop into my head.  There are some that make me want to stay in this little town forever, and some that make me glad I’m leaving.  I’m going to remember strolling all the way back down to west green freshman year after a night uptown and grabbing some chicken and waffle, then only eating half of it and waking up to the other half the next morning.  I remember sophomore and junior year living in my fraternity house.  Honestly, there are too many stories to even reminisce on.  But, what I will say is some of the best memories I had were sitting in a friend’s room on a Saturday or Sunday morning trying to figure out what exactly happened the night before.  Senior year was probably the most interesting year I’ve had in college.  For the first two weeks of school I had no interest in being there, I actually wanted to go home a few times.  I don’t know why I was feeling like this, but I was.  Maybe it was because deep down I knew it was my last year, but I don’t know.  But it turned out to be the best year I’ve had on campus, but it comes with a price.

Being a senior, you get asked the same two questions about 10 times per minute.  “So, are you going to miss Athens?” and, “What are your plans after graduation?” Honestly, I can’t answer the first question with a straightforward reply.  In my four years, I haven’t been away from Athens long enough to know whether I’m going to miss it, besides Christmas break and summer. But will I miss hanging out with friends every weekend? Absolutely! What I won’t miss is having the same routine every weekend, going to the same bars every Friday and Saturday night.  To me, it just gets old after a while.  I also won’t miss the politics on campus.  I was never a very political person until this year.  It’s safe to say it brought out the worst in me.  But I think I get more annoyed with the second question.  I’m in a complicated situation right now.  I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do after graduation.  Not only do I not have a job lined up, but I’m not too sure on what I even want to do exactly, but I think I have enough confidence to figure it out before the stress mode kicks in.  It’s a work in progress.  It just gets a little annoying answering the same thing over and over and over.

Obviously I know how I feel about leaving, it’s a whole mixture of different emotions, but I also think it’s interesting to see how other seniors feel, and how they are going to remember OU.

When talking to different seniors, some in Greek life and some not, there were a few different trends that I noticed, most of which I could relate to.  You could notice some of the bars the younger students would go to, as well as those of the older students.  But, along with some of the favorite bars, you also notice some of the places people liked going to as a freshman and how that differed from their senior year.

 

After talking to these seniors, you notice that OU is a special place not only for partying and going to the bars, but also meeting girlfriends and creating lifelong friendships.  It’s these memories that people will cherish forever and take with them after college.

My personal favorite is listening to the different bars people went to as freshman and how they slowly transitioned to the different bars as they got older.  Most of the people I know started off at Red Brick, but quickly transitioned to The Crystal, or “Stal”, which is the popular spot for Greek life.

The Crystal bar via Pinterest

Once you start talking to a current OU student, or even an alum, about where their favorite spots Uptown are/were, you start talking about the amazing dining spots.  There are so many different spots to grab a bite to eat Uptown, sober or not sober.  Let’s just work our way down Court Street.  If you start at the very beginning right next to campus, you can grab some Chipotle on one side of the street or if you’re in a hurry, you can pick up some Wendy’s.  Then work your way down the street a little more and you’ll find Bagel Street Deli and Brenen’s, two more OU gems.  A little further down you’ll run into an OU favorite, Big Mamma’s.  I personally never got hooked, but I think this is where some people’s paychecks went every weekend.

Big Mamma’s Burritos

After you pass Big Mamma’s you’ll run into the heart of Court Street and the other favorite eateries.  You’ll find Wings Over, which for some is quite delicious drunk and sober, which is simply a win for everyone.  Once you turn the corner by The J Bar, which is known to many alumni as “The Junction”, you’ll find my two personal favorites, Souvlaki’s and O’Betty’s.  I was introduced to O’Betty’s my freshman year and immediately fell in love.  Since my freshman year, the only thing I have purchased from there is the cheesy fries.  It’s a mix of fresh, crispy fries with melted cheddar cheese and topped with shredded cheese.  It’s a little pricey but most nights that I get it I’m not too worried about it.

O’Betty’s very cheesy fries via Food Spotting.

Ryan Lysaght, senior studying communication studies, has had a very different and unique college experience than any other student.  As a senior, Lysaght has spent four years in a fraternity, and has been a student football manager for OU.  His freshman year, he pledged into Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity, and then a semester later accepted a job with Ohio University Football.

Ryan Lysaght (pictured with the whiteboard) sits with his fellow managers before a football game.

“One memory that I won’t forget from college is during spring semester of my freshman year, I started working with the football team and the first day I went in for my interview, and they put me to work right away, and now four years later I’m now going to be doing this as a career,” Lysaght said.

Its memories like this that people will be able to remember forever and speak about them when they’re older.  He also said joining the fraternity has given him so many different memories, skills, experiences and other things that he will be able to take with him and utilize after college.

He said some of his favorite experiences would probably be setting up and organizing events through the fraternity.  He described some of those experiences as learning how to fail fast as a group, but learning how to get through the adversity and figure out what went wrong and be able to turn it around and make it successful.

“Dealing with the fraternity, holding events and hosting them, creating them from scratch and learning from those experiences and figuring out how to host a successful one has been some of the best times,” he said.

When he isn’t helping organize different events for the fraternity or running through practice with the football team, he likes to hang out Uptown with friends.

Broney’s Alumni Grill via Another Food Critic

“My favorite place to eat would probably be Broney’s on Tuesday nights for loaded margaritas and quesadillas,” he said, “I’ve gone for the first 13 out of 15 weeks in the semester, and I plan on finishing the semester strong.”

As we’re counting down the days, all of the seniors are now thinking back on all of the memories we have over the last four years.  The countless of hours we have spent studying…and the countless hours we have rewarded ourselves at the bars.  We’re thinking about the all the friendships and relationships we have made that we will take with us after school.  Leaving home to go to college hasn’t been easy by any means, but it definitely has been worth it.  I wouldn’t have traded coming to Ohio University for anything.  It’s all of my friends, professors and memories that make me proud to say OU OH YEAH!

Court Street offers students a wide variety of options

I focused my video on the multitude of options that Court Street has to offer.  Not only are there many bars that students frequent on a nightly basis, there are also several places to eat, both local joints as well as more well-known chain eateries.  Court Street is usually only thought of as a place where students go to drink, when in reality it offers so much more than just bars and alcohol.

 

Bagelwiches by the bundle

 

If you ever feel overwhelmed with options off the extensive menu at Bagel Street Deli, you can always create your own sandwich.

Or you could go a step further and claim a spot on the menu for your bagelwich masterpiece. All it takes is just a few pickles.

On the second Friday in March, BSD host its annual Pickle Fest, centered around a pickle eating contest.

balls-deep
The ’08 Pickle Fest Champion, Balls Deep: meatballs, salami, banana peppers, mushrooms, provolone, lettuce, and Italian dressing. Photo by Eben George

Participants compete in heats of 10 eaters. Each heat last 10 minuets. When its all said and done, whoever eats and swallows the most pickles at the end of the competition wins the right to create and name their own BSD creation with an eternal spot on the chalkboard.

 

Dads Weekend food from a dad’s perspective

unnamed-1 Dads Weekend gave many students a chance to take their fathers to watch sporting events, go on nature hikes and or even hit up the bars.

I, however, made my dad review uptown eateries.

Now, let it be known that I am a junior and have an older brother who graduated from OU last spring, so my father has spent a decent amount of time on the Athens bricks, but he still hasn’t hit all of the well-known tasty treats.

If you have ever said to yourself, “Hm, I wonder what a dad would have to say about Athens food-and-drink culture,” which I doubt anyone has said, here is what my dad thought of his Dads weekend food:

 

Stop No. 1: The J Bar

jbar
via athensohiobars.com

What we got: I got a pumpkin beer; Bryan went with his favorite drink — a 7 and 7 (7 Up and Seagram’s Seven Crown whiskey).

Bryan’s rating: 4/5

Bryan’s thoughts: Good drink, strong. They didn’t have Seagram’s, but Crown Royal worked just fine.

 

Stop #2: Avalanche Pizza

 

via anotherfoodcritic.wordpress.com
via anotherfoodcritic.wordpress.com

What we got: BLT pizza and half cheese and half mushroom/onion pizza.

Bryan’s rating: 5/5

Bryan’s thoughts: Awesome pizza, hot and delivers under time provided.

Side note: Bryan was a little disappointed because we originally wanted to go to Stephen’s but after an hour and a half wait, we stopped by after a round (or two) at J Bar and found out they had stopped serving at 9 p.m. Bryan suggests Stephen’s calling those who aren’t going to be served or serve food later on special weekends. So there you go.

 

Stop #3: Bagel Street Deli

www.ohiofoodshed.org
via www.ohiofoodshed.org

What we got: I got the True Blue (blueberry bagel, cream cheese, cinnamon); Bryan got the Mihami Vice (salt bagel, hard boiled egg, ham and cheese).

Bryan’s rating: 4/5

Bryan’s thoughts: Awesome breakfast sandwich and salt bagel. Very crowded and hot; decided to take sandwich outside to eat.

Side note: Bryan also likes to go to Bagel Street Deli, order a salt bagel WITH NOTHING ON IT and every time he does it, I just pretend to have just met him.

 

Stop #4: Brenen’s Café

via roadtrippers.com
via roadtrippers.com

What we got: I got the Tuna Time (tuna, melted cheese, cream cheese, banana peppers, green peppers, red onion) and bowtie pasta salad; Bryan got broccoli and cheese soup and Turkey BLT on a croissant.

Bryan’s rating: 4/5

Bryan’s thoughts: Always consistent, good service.

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.