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!

Six times Barack and Joe were totally you and your friends on Court Street

The era of a Barack Obama and Joe Biden administration may be over, but memes of the duo are far from ending. It’s almost a sure thing that you can find a photo of the duo to perfectly describe any situation. Here are six times the former “BROTUS” and his best friend are totally you and your bestie on Court Street.

  1. The Green Cab

OK, you got a little crazy and splurged on a Green Cab ride to Court Street: there’s no way this 20 degree weather is killing your night. Now you and your pals have to act like you didn’t just pregame to Bad and Boujee on a loop nine times.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

2. Only going to Red Brick for Brick Break

Leaving Red Brick literally the second that Brick Break ends. (Thank God you’re not a freshman anymore)

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

 

3. When that one door guy finally recognizes you

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that the door guy sees you so often he doesn’t even need to card you? Either way, you didn’t have to fumble for your ID in the dark, so it’s a win.

Pic via Wikimedia Commons

 

4. Thanking your best friend from pulling you away from oncoming traffic.

We’ve all done it: thinking you’re stealthy enough to beat the oncoming car in your dash across Court Street, but your best friend knows your not. We all know that moment of gratitude we feel knowing that your friend would save your life like that.

Photo via Flickr/ Joeff Davis

 

5. Finally ordering food at 3 am

Whether your late night food preference is O’Betty’s, Wing’s Over, Souvlaki’s, Big Mamma’s or one of the other local eateries, we all know the pure joy of finally grasping our perfectly crafted order in our hands after a night on the bricks.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

6. Watching your Snapchat stories the next day.

It’s one of everyone’s favorite things to do the next day: watch everything you may or may not remember posting to your Snapchat. It’s also kind of comforting knowing that in less than 24 hours, no one will really remember what happened anyways.

Photo via Flickr

Some Bobcats can still be found on Court Street at 2 a.m. on a Monday

On the weekends, Court Street can be so crowded that it’s often difficult to even walk down the sidewalk. But on some weeknights, the only people who can be found on this street are the few who have time to get drunk and those who have to take care of everyone who has time to get drunk.

Veggie-friendly meals available on Court Street for “drunchies”

By KIRSTEN CUPACH

It’s 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

The bartender at Courtside just announced last call, so you and your friend have no choice but to take your watered-down vodka sours to the face. It’s at this point in the night that the drunk munchies – the “drunchies” – begin to take full effect. You stumble up and down Court Street searching for the most delectable of drunk foods. You turn the corner onto West State Street and zero in on O’Betty’s – a chili dog would be the perfect ending to an already perfect night out. It’s then when your friend turns to you and says, “I’m a vegetarian.” As a good friend, you’d think the best move would lead your party towards GoodFella’s to give your friend an opportunity to satisfy his or her drunchies. A veggie pizza should do the trick, right?

Sure, but not always. Luckily for vegetarian Bobcats, several restaurants, including O’Betty’s, scattered up and down Court Street offer vegetarian snacks that are perfect for satisfying a vegetarian’s late-night or early morning munchies. Listed below are some of the best Court Street has to offer.

1 – O’Betty’s

O’ Betty’s is a Bobcat favorite. O’Betty’s hotdogs are just greasy enough to satisfy any tipsy Bobcat’s drunchies. But besides the obvious vegetarian options O’Betty’s offers such as french fries and coleslaw, each and every hotdog on the menu can be prepared vegetarian-friendly. According to O’Betty’s website, “Our own vegetarian Smoky Shy is a Vegan ‘not-dog Soy Boy’ and will stand in for any beef dog varietease at your request at NO EXTRA CHARGE”, which means that even an O’Betty’s favorite, like Dixie, can be enjoyed by a vegetarian, or even vegan, Bobcat. Lily, another hotdog on the menu, is even prepared with vegetarian-style baked beans.

2 – Big Mamma’s

Big Mamma’s was recently featured on Buzzfeed’s “The 43 Best Drunken Eats In College Towns Across America”. Fortunately, vegetarian Bobcats don’t need to miss out on what Big Mamma’s has to offer. The Veggie Mamma Burrito is, according to Big Mamma’s Facebook page, “A giant burrito with your choice of salsa and rice, sour cream, cheese, onions, beans, fresh red peppers, fresh cilantro, and lime juice.” Similarly to O’Betty’s, Big Mamma’s prepares most of its burritos veggie style, including the Chipotle Ranch, Loaded Mamma, and Buffalo Mamma burritos, by swapping the meat with beans, guac, or hummus. The veggie-style Piquito is “similar in size to a soft taco, but with different toppings” and is served with refried beans or black beans, onions, cilantro, red pepper, lime juice, guacamole, and salsa. The Veggie Gringo is a soft taco served with “refried or black beans, fresh red peppers, onions, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and your choice of salsa.” Veggie nachos topped with cheese, onion, tomato, sour cream, and guacamole are also available.

3 – Uptown Grill

Uptown Grill is famous for its Chicken ‘N’ Waffle Sandwich, which, unfortunately, has no vegetarian option. But the Grill offers a delicious veggie burger made with spicy black beans and served with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and American cheese that gives the Chicken ‘N’ Waffle sandwich a run for its money. Uptown Grill also has an extensive french fry menu as well, consisting of cheesy fries with Ranch, loaded fries, and tons of toppings, including jalapenos, sour cream, and garlic seasoning.

4 – Souvlaki’s

Souvlaki’s Mediterranean Garden may be the best place to turn to for vegetarians looking to satisfy his or her drunchies. Souvlaki’s prepares veggie-friendly gyros, pitas, appetizers, and much, much more. The Veggie Gyro is served with tomato, lettuce, onion, American cheese, and tzatziki sauce. The Vegetarian Pita is served with cheese, tomato, lettuce, American cheese, and mayo. Souvlaki’s falafel is junior Molly McIlvain’s favorite veggie-friendly drunken snack. “After years of drunk pizza, it was refreshing to enjoy the falafel at Souvlaki’s. I was pleasantly surprised,” she says. It’s served with tomato, onion, lettuce, cucumber, and tahini sauce. Souvlaki’s also serves homemade vegetarian hummus and spanakopita.

Do you have any favorite veggie-friendly snacks you’d like to share with us? Let us know!

Top 7 relationships in Athens, Ohio

We have all heard about the Hollywood celebrity dating scene, but I bet you didn’t know we have our own celebrity couples in Athens, Ohio. The rich and famous have made their way to our college town and I bet you run into them more than you think. That’s right, I’m talking about the bars and restaurants that are open after dark. We crowd them, take pictures, and follow their every move. You have been so focused on your favorite that I’m sure you haven’t noticed that they are all secretly in relationships. It’s true, and we have the inside scoop for you!

JACKIEOS_UPTOWN

Jackie-O’s and Uptown Grill

Let’s start with two of the most famous establishments in Athens, Jackie-O’s and Uptown Grill. These love birds have been eyeing each other from across the street for years. After hanging out, listening to music, and enjoying the unique beers Jackie-O’s has, you can walk down the street and order the famous Chicken and Waffle sandwich. This is one couple you do not want to mess with.

CASA_MAMMAS

Big Mamma’s Burritos and Casa Nueva

Big Mamma’s Burritos and Casa Nueva is one couple that is juat too hot to ignore. They are both so bold, but together would be a powerhouse. If you start to get hungry after too many margaritas, your next stop should be Big Mamma’s for one of their signature burritos. While there is a separation between them, these star crossed lovers can’t be separated. Te amo!

DP_BRO

Broney’s Alumni Grill and D.P. Dough

Our next couple may be long distance, but Broney’s Alumni Grill and D.P. Dough will always be close at heart. With the word “alumni” in the name, it’s safe to assume that a lot of alums visit while reliving their glory days. Since they are veterans, they know how to beat the hangovers. They can order their calzones and meet it in the hotel, just in time for bed!

TONYS_INSOM

Tony’s and Insomnia Cookies

What is better than cookies and coffee? Nothing. Tony’s and Insomnia Cookies is a match made in Heaven. After drinking a Hot Nut, a mixture of coffee and liquor, the only thing that would make your night better would be a warm cookie! The best part is that Insomnia is open until 3 am, so you can pick it up on your way home!

KISERS_PIGSKIN

Pigskin and Kisers on Court BBQ

Life would be a “boar” without Pigskin and Kiser’s BBQ together. This relationship was a no brainer. Nothing goes together like beer, BBQ, and country music. These two have just that! Kiser’s on Court is now open until 3 am on Friday and Saturday. This combination would be the perfect “cure” for any weekend night!

USD_SKULL_CATSD

Union Street Diner, Cat’s Den, and The Smiling Skull

Here in Athens, Ohio, we don’t judge. When we heard that Union Street Dinner, Cat’s Den, and The Smiling Skull were in a relationship together, we welcomed them with open arms. All three of these places are located on Union Street and you can’t have one without the other. While these bars are considered “townie” bars, students just can’t resist them. After listening to the music and sitting on the patio, the only other logical stop would be the dinner. Thankfully it’s open 24/7.

BW3

Buffalo Wild Wings

And, of course, there’s always that one friend that will fall into the “forever alone” category. That friend is Buffalo Wild Wings. This restaurant serves food and alcohol late into the night. Between the beer, wings, and giant TV’s, why would you need anything else? Don’t worry BW3’s; we still love you!

Since the lifestyles of the rich and famous are constantly changing, what relationships are your favorites? Comment below and tell us your favorite duo in Athens, Ohio. You never know who might be next!

All photos and graphics of Athens, Ohio were taken and made by Hannah Funderburg

The seven stages of a late night Big Mamma’s run

"Big Mamma's" by Dan Bruell is licensed under CC by 2.0.
Big Mamma’s” by Dan Bruell is licensed under CC by 2.0.

We’ve all been there. It’s 1 a.m. on Sunday. You’re craving something that only one uptown eatery can satisfy. You’re not looking for anything fancy or sophisticated. You’ve given up counting calories for now. Maybe you’ll start that diet next week.

Right now, you’re just looking to gorge out on a warm, soft burrito.

But if you’re going to give in to your desire for a late night Big Mama’s run, you’ll have to learn to cope with the emotional burden that comes along with it. Sure, it seems like a good idea at first. But that sense of excitement can quickly give way to a more complex set of feelings.

Luckily, if you know what to expect, you can prepare yourself and hopefully avoid a serious Tex-Mex induced breakdown.

Here are the seven stages of Big Mama’s binging.

1. Fantasizing

No matter how you got here, you’ve found yourself inside the restaurant. The door has closed behind you, you’ve stepped in line. There’s no turning back now. The smell of seasoned beef and spicy salsa wafts in the air.

At this point you only have one thing on your mind: getting your burrito. You can almost taste the smoky, spicy chipotle ranch and feel the satisfying smoosh of the tortilla, beans and meats.

2. Commitment

You’ve made your way to the front of the line, and suddenly you have some choices to make. The time for fantasy is over. Now it’s time to take action.

You scan the menu you’ve peered at dozens of times before. Do you want Chipotle Ranch or Mama Grande? Black or refried beans? Chicken or beef … or should you go with chorizo?

You consider just ordering a Baby, but you decide you didn’t come here to fool around. Tonight you mean business. Make it a full-sized Mamma Grande, everything on it, add guac.

3. Anticipation

A funny thing happens between the time you place your order and when they finally call your number. Time seems to move at an excruciatingly slow pace. It’s been less than a minute, but it already seems like you’ve missed at least two birthdays. You check your phone, do anything to take your mind off your burrito-less state of being.

You check your ticket number — 73.

“68!,” one of the workers calls.

This is going to take a while.

4. The “Honeymoon” Period

Joy of joys, your number finally comes up. You grab the burrito, thank the worker, and feverishly rip the foil off from one end.

Your first few bites are pure ecstasy. You are in love. You’re pretty sure you’ve reached the absolute pinnacle of sensory experiences. This is the happiest moment of your life.

Your friends try to get your attention. They want to go to Wendy’s. But you don’t listen. You’re fixated on your burrito.

5. Disillusionment

Everything started out so beautifully. Now, three-fourths of the way through your burrito, you’re not even sure if you want it anymore.

You know you’re facing an uphill battle. With every bite, you grow more and more uninterested. But you’ve come here on a mission. You swore a silent vow to yourself , and you refuse to give up on the very thing that you once longed for with every fiber of your being.

6. Remorse

You feel it in your gut first. You begin to question everything in your life, but specifically why you were so foolish to think that eating a whole Mamma Grande at this hour of the night would be a good idea.

Eventually, the feeling spreads to your chest and abdomen. It finally manifests itself as a sharp pain in your heart — a combination of profound sorrow and stomach acid.

7. Acceptance

After lying comatose on your stomach for more than half an hour, everything suddenly comes into perspective. The pain you once felt has transformed into a sense of lethargy, resignation and, ultimately, satisfaction.

You pop a couple of Tums and crawl off to bed. In the morning you’ll likely have a bit of a sour stomach, but you’ll be well on your way to recovery. By Monday, it will be business as usual.

The important thing, you realize as your eyes grow heavy, is that for a few brief moments you experienced true happiness. You held it in your hands, in all its warm, cheesy, saucy, spicy, soft, meaty wonder.

Maybe you’ve learned a thing or two from the experience.

But, then again, you know that by next week, you’ll probably go through the entire process again.

Drunk eats madness

Most students have crazy tales to tell about their favorite drunk eats restaurants on Court Street, but so do most owners, managers, and workers.

On top of seeing numerous fistfights in his position as a manager at Big Mamma’s, Jason Hudson has also shrugged off multiple girls who wanted to take him home.

One scenario was intense.

“One night a chick came up and was rubbing my chest and trying to touch my beard,” said Hudson. “She was asking me to go home with her … and I was like, I have a wife! I didn’t know how to get this chick off of me.”

Sometimes, scenarios aren’t as trivial, like what Bob Satmary, owner of O’Betty’s Red Hot, witnessed one night a few years ago.

“Once there was a big fight across the street and the cops had to come and chase the kid who ran up the alley and onto O’Betty’s roof,” said Satmary. “Finally he jumped down and when he jumped, he went straight through the awning and broke his wrist. It was pretty bad.”

Drunk food fanatics dig in on Court Street

When it comes to drunk munchies on Court Street, Ohio University students have a plethora of options, both for dining in and ordering out. In fact, most of their options are just a few feet from their favorite bars.

Students each have different reasons for getting drunk food, whether they have been craving it all night or simply choose to order it impulsively.

Some students say the reason they deserve those chili fries is because they survived three exams in one week, while others order a slice of greasy, cheesy pizza simply because their friends are.

No matter the reason, many students find themselves shoveling greasy food in their drunk faces once they finally give up on drinking for the night. Most of the party-goers have a go-to drunk food and fond memories of the restaurants that they accordingly frequent.

On a typical night at Ohio University, students enjoy half-priced pitchers followed by their regular orders of hot dogs and burritos, while the restaurants on Court Street enjoy the late-night revenue.

Ohio University nursing major Julie Munieo is among the upperclassmen who take advantage of half-priced liquor pitchers on Wednesdays at Lucky’s Sports Tavern, 11 N. Court St.

When asked about her drunk food of choice, she replied enthusiastically, “O’Betty’s.”

On this occasion, it was her birthday and she was feeling 22.

“I’m going to get a chili cheese wiener. Or chili cheese fries. Anything chili cheese kills it, really,” she said. “Maybe I’ll get two and just smash.”

O'Betty's owner Bob Satmary
O’Betty’s owner Bob Satmary

O’Betty’s Red Hot, 15 W. State St., serves hot dogs and fries every day from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

When she’s not drinking pitchers at Lucky’s, Munieo and her roommates go to Pawpurr’s Bar, 37 N. Court St., and order their go-to drink, a Fireball on the rocks.

“If I’ve been drinking liquor, I get drunk food because I’m always hungry, but if I’ve been drinking beer I don’t get food because I’ll feel too full,” she said.

She and her roommates normally head out for their drunk food when they get herded out of the bars at closing time.

“We normally talk about O’Betty’s sober and plan to go there before the night even starts,” she said.

Because only one of Munieo’s roommates also chooses O’Betty’s as her preferred drunk food, she usually follows her other roommates to GoodFella’s, 35 N. Court St., and Souvlaki’s Mediterranean Garden, 9 W. State St., when she is feeling too lazy to walk to O’Betty’s by herself.

“Two of my roommates always order the mozzarella sticks and chicken tenders from Souvlaki’s. They love them. They know Mr. Souvlaki,” she said.

And Munieo is well-known at O’Betty’s.

“I went there so much one weekend and kept calling the hot dog a chili cheese wiener that when the guy who was working saw me he said, ‘Do you want your wiener?’” she said, laughing. “I can’t help it, I’ve always got my eye set on it.”

Sometimes two hot dogs from O’Betty’s don’t quite hit the spot.

That’s why junior Sterling Morrow, an Ohio University marketing major, orders three Dixies — a chili cheese hot dog with mustard and onions. And maybe some chili cheese fries on the side. At $3 per hotdog, he can spend up to $10 per night at the stand.

But he said he feels it is warranted.

“You can’t really fill up on hot dogs in my opinion,” said Morrow.

Morrow said he has seen some crazy things while waiting in line for his beloved Dixies.

“The best stories happen when O’Betty’s is backed up and there is a long line,” said Morrow. “Since their window to order food is high up, you have to reach up and get it and there is always going to be someone that drops their hot dog. You have to be a real rookie to drop a hot dog after waiting in line.”

All day, O’Betty’s workers get ready for the evening shift by prepping the ingredients that will be needed for their voracious patrons. That way, the closing shift has nothing to do but serve food.

Because between 40% to 50% of O’Betty’s sales occur on the weekends between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., serving drunk students tends to become challenging for the late night shift.

“Once the bars close we become really busy and the people are so drunk,” said the owner of O’Betty’s, Bob Satmary. “It’s difficult, so I tell my workers if they can’t understand what the person is saying to just give them a Dixie because who wouldn’t want a Dixie?”

And because the Dixie and the chili cheese fries are the top two items on the late-night menu, he’s probably right.

For some students, hot dogs smothered in chili and cheese do not cut it.

This happens to be the case for sophomore Abby Miller, a strategic communications major at Ohio University.

While sitting at The Pub, 39 N. Court St., drinking a Budweiser, Miller turns to her boyfriend and gives him “the look.”

He knows what time it is. It’s time for drunk food.

It’s time for GoodFella’s Pizza, which has two Athens locations, 6 W. Union St. and 35 N. Court St.

Miller has been thinking about her special order of double stacked pizza slices ever since she walked past the restaurant on Court Street an hour ago.

She can’t resist its temptation any longer.

“If I resist the urge to go to GoodFella’s on my way home, I’ll end up making food in my dorm, so I’m just going to stop resisting and go,” Miller laughed.

While thinking about GoodFella’s, Miller is already daydreaming of the moment when she’ll take that first bite.

“I know it’s bad but, I love it so much,” she said, “I would eat GoodFella’s anytime, even when I’m sober.”

Miller adds that beer mixes best with pizza anyway, even when you’ve had too much to drink.

Thinking back to her freshman year, she fondly recalled the first time she went to The Smiling Skull Saloon, 108 W. Union St., with a friend.

“I was way too drunk and of course I decided to get GoodFella’s on my way home. I had a slice in each hand and one slice fell face down on the pavement and the other piece fell straight down on my white V-neck shirt. I ate it off my shirt anyway,” said Miller, laughing. “I did not save that V-neck, though. The pizza sauce was too much for it.”

Too bad she didn’t drop that pizza slice inside the pizzeria.

“Normally if someone drops their pizza slice in the store or right outside we’ll just give them a new piece,” said Jakob Bottoms, an employee of GoodFella’s.

Bottoms has been working at the GoodFella’s on Union Street for almost three months now and he has witnessed a lot of drunken mishaps.

“We always see people trying to fight in the store. Then there’s the occasional puker outside on our steps, which we’ve actually had a very large amount of,” said Bottoms.

He said that the workers have to adapt to all scenarios and know whether to react or let it play out.

Jason Hudson, assistant general manager at Big Mamma’s, has seen his fair share of fighting while working at the restaurant at 10 S. Court St.

“I’ve seen everything from fistfights to people knocked unconscious, and I’ve been offered to be taken home multiple times,” Hudson said. “I’ve also seen people buy a burrito and not want it on their way out the door so they throw it away.”

Although the crowd at Big Mamma’s gets a little rowdy during the wee hours before the restaurant closes at 3 a.m., Hudson says working at Big Mamma’s is like being at a party.

The restaurant prepares for the late-night weekend rush, when 75 percent of their sales occur, by staffing the restaurant with nine employees, compared to their usual staff of three people.

“There are enough workers to do everything so you get to interact with drunk people, who are happy to get their drunk food, socialize and have a good time,” Hudson said.

Spyro Boursinos, an Ohio University junior majoring in history, finds himself frequenting Big Mamma’s often during his drunken state.

“Every time that I begin a night pre-gaming with multiple shots of liquor, I always end up going to Big Mamma’s later,” said Boursinos.

Boursinos always orders a Chipotle Ranch Mamma Grande — a burrito filled with ground beef, shredded cheese, onion, tomato, lettuce and a special chipotle ranch sauce.

A grande chipotle burrito costs $6.25 and is tied for Big Mamma’s No. 1 sale item, along with the Philly Mamma.

Over the summer, when fewer students lived in Athens, Boursinos said he added to the chaos of the late night rush at Big Mamma’s.

“I was really drunk one night, so of course I ended my night by grabbing a burrito,” said Boursinos. “I explained to people there that I had been eating at Big Mamma’s for years because my big sister went to college here in Athens. I guess I wasn’t saying it normally, though. I was yelling it at everyone in the restaurant. Everyone got pissed off pretty fast.”

Even though late night drunk eats may result in stomach pains the following morning, for most students, grabbing late night grub is the favorite part of their night.

“Usually when I plan to get drunk, I plan to go to Big Mamma’s,” said Boursinos. “There have been times when I’ve been too drunk to leave my apartment and I’ve forced my friends to go to Big Mamma’s with me anyway. I look forward to drunk eating all week.”

 ***

Julie Weller is a junior strategic major at Ohio University. Julie is an avid language-lover, cat fanatic, former track star, and spends her late-night eating budget at Big Mamma’s, and she doesn’t care that guacamole costs extra. Her dream job is to work for a non-profit based in southern California.

Featured image courtesy of: https://anotherfoodcritic.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/obettys-red-hot/

 

In search of the Court Street Stench

Picture it: You’re strolling through Uptown Athens, taking in all the sights and sounds: the glowing marquee at the movie theater, the raucous laughter of buzzed college students, the feeling of weekend excitement in the air. You round the corner off Union Street and step onto Court Street when suddenly it hits you like a 10-ton bulldozer that’s been camped out at Baker all semester: A smell. A smell so foul it stings your nose. An assault so lightning quick that it’s gone as soon as you realize it’s there.

It is the Court Street Stench, and its source is unknown.

How can a town like Athens have such a stench clinging to its charming brick streets? A college town that students sometimes refer to (without a trace of irony) as “the promised land,” smells more like Chuck Palahniuk’s version of hell. How can this be?
I was determined to find out.

In order to determine the source of The Stench, I needed to first classify it. I needed to fully describe The Stench and then theorize about its source. In other words, I needed to really get a feel for the smell.

So I circled trash cans sniffing like a curious dog. I wandered down alleyways, documenting debris with photographs. I researched information on the grossest bars with the most pungent aromas.

It wasn’t enough. I smelled stenches (and lots of them), but wanted more definitive answers.

But maybe I’d been going about this the wrong way. Maybe instead of trying to track down a single stench, I should have been noting all of them.

Maybe the Court Street Stench isn’t just one smell after all. Perhaps it is a combination of smells: a putrid cocktail of bad food and bad behavior that coated our city streets.

To test this theory, I turned to the best noses for the jobs: the general public. If the public could come up with one definitive smell or source, then I’d have my answer. But if I received a mixed review, I’d know I’d been sniffing up the wrong tree.

And so, on Dad’s Weekend 2014, I took to the streets (and to the bars) to interview everybody and their father about their opinions of the vile Court Street Stench.

From hookah smoke and vomit to greasy pizza and coffee, the answers were as strange and varied as Court Street itself.

Ian Slifcak, a junior studying Spanish and Political Science, summed it up best when he said: “Court Street is a lot of smells.”

Athens city officials seem to agree with Slifcak’s statement. When asked for his diagnosis of the stench, Director of Code Enforcement John Paszke couldn’t put his finger on just one smell . . . or one cause.

“I imagine it is a combination of many things,” he replied. “The exhaust fans from the range hoods of the bars [and] restaurants, the large quantity of trash in the dumpsters, cigarette smoke from outdoor sidewalk smokers, vehicle exhaust, vomit, and depending on the weather conditions, odors from the storm [or] sanitary sewers.”

After turning to experts and laypersons, I was both entertained and repulsed by the variety of responses I had received. My sources had helped me take inventory of the smells of Court Street, and confirmed that there was, in fact, a group of Stenches, at large.

Peter Shoup, a junior studying engineering, commented that Court Street is “kind of like a progressive map … you can tell where you are based on what it smells like.”

Inspired by Shoup’s comparison, I decided to map my data, in the interest of public safety. Even the experts weren’t able to make a positive identification of the perpetrators. It was up to me to inform the public about the predators lurking around every corner uptown.

So, again, picture it: You’re strolling through Uptown Athens, taking in all the sights and sounds. You pass Jackie O’s and smell beer and a yeasty beer-making smell.

You pass the Union which used to smell like smoke due to the abundance of smokers who lined the sidewalk but now smells like smoke from the Union Street Fire.

You pass GoodFella’s and smell greasy pizza, or “cheese and floor cleaner,” as one contributor put it.

You round the corner off Union and step onto Court and smell coffee from Whit’s right before stepping into our first danger zone. The trash can on the corner smells like vomit at all hours of the day and night, and citizens are advised to avoid this area, at all costs.

You cross the street to get away and are accosted by another Stench, in the alley by Brenen’s: courtesy of a perpetually wet, dripping dumpster.

You hurry along, keeping your nose forward, trying not to attract any more unwanted Stenches when you pass the alley by Mike’s Dog Shack, which is a known Stench hideout. You hurry on, sniffing over your shoulder every few paces to make sure you aren’t being followed.

You smell cheap burritos and pungent sauce at Big Mamma’s. You smell the mustiness of Red Brick’s damp basement dance floor. You smell incense at Artifacts, gas and exhaust at BP, beer and smoke surrounding every bar, when suddenly it hits you.

You’re surrounded.

The Stenches are everywhere. You can’t hide from them. You can’t escape them. They have representatives everywhere. No one is safe.

Most of the time they won’t give you much trouble. They’re mostly just mildly irritating. They like to get in your face a little, but they don’t usually stay too long, eager to find a new victim.

But sometimes, they’re more forceful. Sometimes they gang up on you and assault you out of nowhere.

Although The Stenches can be terribly unpredicatable, many sources affectionately attribute them to the dynamic nature of Court Street.

“I kind of enjoy the different phases of smells,” commented Slifcak. “In a way, it contributes to that special feeling of Athens [because] Court Street is where it all happens. It will eat you up and spit you right back out.

“After four years, you might miss some of those strange smells.”

Investigation contributors: Ian Slifcak, John Paszke, Peter Shoup, Elisabeth Rosenfeld, Emily Mueting, Doug Mueting, Scott Scheiderer, Jessica Wuensch

***

Juliana Scheiderer is a junior at Ohio University majoring in Journalism and Spanish with a certificate in Law, Justice, and Culture. She loves writing about music, art, travel, and entertainment.