Locavores’ Guide to Athens Eats
Eating food that’s locally produced is good for local businesses, the environment and your taste buds! When you eat local, you prevent food from being trucked across the country. That means less carbon emissions in the air and better food on your plate!
“Locavores” are people dedicated to eating locally-produced food, but eating out and eating local are often at odds. If you’re trying out the locavore lifestyle or just want a taste of Athens, you’ve come to the right place.
The staff of College Green Magazine has compiled a near-complete list of the restaurants in Athens, Ohio that stress the use of local ingredients. The restaurants are not ranked, and this guide is not meant to be critical. Staffers were encouraged to eat at each business, but no writer accepted free food or drink. This guide is only meant to help Athenians find the most locavore-friendly locales. Scroll down to view our staff profiles of each restaurant, or use the embedded map to find a place near you.
Help us better this guide!
Do you know of a locavore-friendly restaurant that’s missing from this list? Let us know! The guide is as complete as possible, but limited resources kept College Green’s staffers from finding every Athens restaurant that uses local ingredients. If you’re a business owner who’d like to be added or a foodie whose favorite eatery got left out, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your restaurant added!
Reader-submitted entries are subject to College Green’s editorial standards and review, and no write-ups will be accepted from restaurant owners or employees.
Use this map to find locavore-friendly restaurants in your neighborhood!
View College Green Magazine’s Locavore’s Guide to Athens Eats in a larger map
Name: Avalanche! Pizza
Address: 329 East State St.
Review: Avalanche, a pizza staple among Ohio University students, features delicious Italian-inspired food that incorporates locally grown ingredients, such as Athens Farmers Market vegetable toppings and flour from Shagbark Seed & Mill Co. For 11 years, Avalanche has provided specialty pizzas, calzones and sandwiches. Dishes such as the signature Avalanche Ranch tempt carnivorous diners, and pies like the San Andreas Fault satisfy veggie-lovers. Avalanche has been recognized in local, national and international competitions, including earning the Sustainability Award for a Cleaner Earth in 2005. Avalanche is a great locavore choice for delivery or, for eco-conscious walking or biking customers, pick-up.
–CG Lifestyles & People Editor Sarah DeCarlo
Name: Bagel Street Deli
Address: 27 South Court St.
Cuisine: Bagel sandwiches
Locally produced items/ingredients: All produce and bakery items
Review: The owners of Bagel Street Deli, or “BSD,” make using local ingredients a priority. All produce and bakery items come from local vendors, such as Fluff, Dexter Run Farms and Dawn Chorus Coffee. The business’ owners said they would like to use local ingredients for all their products, but can’t use local meat because of high demand for their sandwiches. BSD is just a short walk from campus on South Court Street across the street from the Athena Cinema.
–CG photographer Brenna Hettler
Name: Brenen’s Coffee Café
Address: 38 South Court St.
Cuisine: Soup, sandwiches, baked goods, coffee
Review: Brenen’s is the perfect place to have lunch or grab a quick cup of coffee between classes. The prices are reasonable ($6 to $7 gets you a sandwich, pickle and side dish), especially considering that Brenen’s is locally owned and operated. The coffee is delicious as well (I recommend the Milkyway). If you go on a Tuesday and order a medium or large espresso drink, you get a coupon for a free espresso drink that lasts until the next Monday. Jessica Thomas, one of the owners, bakes the scones every afternoon, and the service is always friendly.
–Kelly Doran, CG News
Name: Casa Nueva
Address: 4 West State St.
Locally produced items/ingredients: Honey, beef, herbs, rhubarb, berries, garlic, eggs, sprouts, greens, radishes, pawpaws, black walnuts, spicebush berries, goat’s milk cheeses, beer from Jackie O’s, pork, mushrooms, and many more
Review: Casa Nueva is a very well known restaurant in Athens and comes highly recommended. Its owners refer to it as the “locavore’s solution,” and its staffers are very dedicated to buying local and organic ingredients. The atmosphere is pleasant and unique. Casa, as it is commonly called, also holds art shows and a couple of dance nights every month. Many of their dishes are seasonal. Their tofu fries are great with their homemade ketchup. Meals are decently priced. Their “Hills Deluxe,” which is a plate of rice and beans served with two kinds of homemade salsa, is a bargain at $4.50. Dinners run closer to $8.
–Kelly Doran, CG News
Name: Catalyst Café
Address: 540 West Union St.
Cuisine: Coffee, frozen drinks and pastries
Review: Catalyst Café, which is just a quick hop off the bike path near West Union Street, offers local joe and tasty treats. The menu includes standard coffee drinks, such as cappuccinos and cafe au lait. These are complemented by an array of sweet treats made at the Village Bakery and Crumb’s Bakery. Try the sweet date cake with caramel icing for a melt-in-your-mouth, two-minute staycation. Fresh fruit smoothies are available in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, raspberry and pawpaw (a fruit native to Southeast Ohio). A standard cup of fair-trade coffee costs about $1.95, and sweets range from $.75 for a cookie to $4 for quiche.
–CG Science Editor Audrey Rabalais
Name: Court Street Coffee
Address: 62 South Court St.
Cuisine: Coffee, baked goods, sandwiches
Locally produced items/ingredients: Sandwiches from The Farmacy
Review: Court Street Coffee offers a variety of hot and cold drinks on their fixed menu as well as in-house creations. All items are reasonably priced. The most expensive drink is a large Frozen Court Street Mocha at $4.35 and the most expensive baked good is a cinnamon ball at $2.50. Bags of fair-trade coffee for $10, a variety of knickknacks and jewelry are also available. Even if you’re not much of a coffee or tea drinker, the scones from Stone Hearth Bakery and the sandwiches from The Farmacy are enough of a reason to stop by. The cranberry chicken salad sandwich is especially good.
–CG Photo Editor Elizabeth Linares
Name: Della Zona
Address: 270 East State St.
Locally produced items/ingredients: Everything on the menu incorporates locally grown or produced products.
Review: Della Zona – literally, “of the region” – uses local ingredients to produce delicious Italian-style dishes. While recent renovations to the restaurant have left its menu limited for now, everything offered is undeniably sweet thanks to Della Zona’s homemade marinara sauce and pizza crust. The intimate, welcoming atmosphere makes this restaurant a great spot for an outing with friends or date. Meal prices are about the same as at Applebee’s or Ruby Tuesday. Della Zona’s only drawback is its distance from campus – about a 10-minute drive.
–CG Lifestyles & People Editor Sarah DeCarlo
Name: Donkey Coffee & Espresso
Address: 17 1/2 West Washington St.
Cuisine: Coffee, baked goods
Locally produced items/ingredients: Prepared food items from local, independent vendors such as Snowville Creamery and Crumb’s Bakery
Review: This place just oozes “chill.” It’s very laid-back and sort of indie. Donkey offers plenty of beverage choices including foamy macchiatos, teas and lattes. They offer a “local milk” option and all of their baked goods are purchased locally. While they cannot buy their coffee locally, they do purchase fair-trade and sustainably grown coffee. Prices are comparable to those of Starbucks, but the portions are larger.
–Blake Tan, CG Science
Address: 28 East Stimpson Ave.
Cuisine: Deli/natural grocery items
Locally produced items/ingredients: Tea, honey, coffee, apples, soap, grains, cheese, vegetables, mushrooms, grains, milk and more
Review: The Farmacy claims to be the pioneer of bringing natural foods to Athens. It has been in business for 40 years and counting. Store manager Ashley Eastman said the goal of the store’s proprietors is to help make Athens healthier. The Farmacy is a five-minute walk from Court Street, with reasonable organic grocery prices. Five to six dollars can buy just about any lunch offered at the deli. Customers at The Farmacy can purchase produce from Shade River Organic Farm, milk from Snowville Creamery and cheeses from Integration Acres.
–Olivia Ohlin, CG copy editor
Name: Fluff Bakery
Address: 8 North Court St.
Cuisine: Bakery items, soup, coffee
Locally produced items/ingredients: Star goo’s (similar to buckeye candy), maple crunch cereal, soup from scratch with local produce, coffee from the Silver Bridge Coffee Company
Review: Fluff Bakery offers a comfortable environment complete with an array of ultimate comfort foods. The owners of Fluff pride themselves on serving the freshest and most local foods possible. Fluff is a member of the 30 Mile Meal program and the owners try to stick to this program as much as possible. Their prices are a bit higher than those of most bakeries due to their strict commitment to organic, local ingredients. Although pricey, Fluff offers nourishing food, a convenient location, local ingredients and a hospitable environment.
–Molly Nocheck, former CG commentary writer
Address: 24 West Union Street
Cuisine: Bar food, pizza
Locally produced items/ingredients: Beef, chicken, bacon, eggs, cheese, milk, maple syrup, spring mix and spinach
Review: Jackie O’s is located just north of OU’s campus on Union Street. More than half of their menu items are locally produced and that number is growing. The restaurant and pub tries to buy local whenever possible. Most of the meat is local, and all produce is local in the summer. Jackie O’s has homemade pizza dough and the staff bakes all the bread in-house. They also brew their own beer, which is perhaps what the place is best known for. My favorite dish is the tofu burger (the menu is definitely vegetarian friendly). Jackie O’s also has the best French fries in town. My favorite house brew is the Firefly Amber Ale.
–CG Commentary Editor Lane Robbins
Name: Kiser’s BBQ Shack
Address: 1002 East State St. Suite 14
Cuisine: Slow-cooked BBQ and traditional side dishes
Locally produced items/ingredients: Honey, vegetables, and various meats from local farms. Anything written in green text on the menu is local!
Review: Kiser’s BBQ Shack moved into the near-ghost town of The Market on State in 2009 and has increased traffic in the mall by filling it with the irresistible smell of slow-smoked meat. Family-owned and headed by Sean Kiser, the joint is committed to using fresh and local foods whenever possible. Their homemade sauces span the barbecue spectrum, from Carolina vinegar to a sweet red reminiscent of Memphis-style BBQ sauce. All sauces are sweetened with local Cantrell Honey. They use pork from King Family Farm in Albany and Angus beef from Dexter Run Farms in Dexter. Kiser’s uses locally grown vegetables, so not all are available year-round.
–CG Science Editor Audrey Rabalais
Name: Lui Lui
Address: 8 Station St.
Cuisine: Chinese, pizza, sushi
Locally produced items/ingredients: Seasonal vegetables from the Athens Farmers Market, ground beef from Dexter Run Farms, chicken from King Family Farm
Review: This fine-dining gem is hidden in a shopping plaza off West Union Street. They specialize in Chinese food, but they also offer sushi and oven-fired pizza. The restaurant’s owner goes to the Athens Farmers Market weekly and grabs whatever looks fresh. Of course, the sushi isn’t local (as far as I know, there are no tuna in the Hocking River), but many other items are. They get tomatoes and basil from a local grower and meat for special dishes from local farms. Year round, they get their spring greens from Green Edge Gardens in Amesville. You’ll spend about $30 on a dinner for two, but it’s definitely worth it because the food is great!
–CG Editor-in-Chief Erich Hiner
Name: O’Betty’s Red Hot
Address: 15 West State St.
Cuisine: Hot dogs, French fries
Locally produced items/ingredients: Cheeses and sauerkraut from Integration Acres, tofu dogs, salsa and desserts from Casa Nueva, salsa from Frog Ranch Farm
Review: For just a couple bucks, O’Betty’s Red Hot can offer you whatever kind of hot dog your heart desires. Near the corner of Court and West State Streets, they have great hours and are open Monday through Saturday 11 to 3 a.m. and Sunday noon to 8 p.m. O’Betty’s has used local ingredients whenever possible since they opened. Local vendors are soon to include Fluff Bakery. O’Betty’s is also working with King Family Farm to get local, grass-fed pork. Employees are encouraged to give suggestions for new local farms or ingredients.
–Kate Harris, CG photographer
Name: Purple Chopstix
Address: 371 Richland Ave.
Cuisine: Various ethnic cuisine and traditional dishes
Locally produced items/ingredients: Produce and various seasonal ingredients from the Athens Farmers Market and The Farmacy
Review: Purple Chopstix offers a taste of the world the locavore way. It’s more than willing to accompany selective eaters, making it one of the most vegan-friendly options in Athens. The price range is on the higher end, but it is completely reasonable for a date or night on the town. Purple Chopstix, located just over a mile from the heart of campus, is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday starting at 5 p.m. and presents a special Sunday buffet brunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Reservations, to-go options and catering are available by request.
–Amanda Norris, CG Lifestyles & People
Name: Restaurant Salaam
Address: 21 West Washington St.
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Balkan, North African, Thai, Indian and Pakistani
Locally produced items/ingredients: Eggs from Mark Hanesworth, dairy from Snowville Creamery, salad greens and other produce from Green Edge Gardens, Shade River Organic Farm and the Chesterville produce auction
Review: Salaam has an international flair and warm, attractive interior. The restaurant also has a number of vegetarian and vegan options, sustainably harvested seafood and halal meats for the Muslim community. The meats are not local due to stringent halal standards, as well as available supply and cost, according to Hilarie Burhans, co-owner and executive chef. Salaam’s cuisine is moderately priced. House specialties range in price from $5 for the vegan harira (a Moroccan lentil stew), to $17 for grilled beef and lamb kabobs. Dinner is a little bit more expensive. The appetizers are great for a light lunch.
–CG Commentary Editor Lane Robbins
Address: 9 West State St.
Locally produced items/ingredients: Produce from Athens Farmers Market; eggplant, cilantro, parsley, garlic, tomatoes and cucumbers from local farmers
Review: Owners Hazim and Firyal Quadr make baba ganoush, hummus and falafel in-house with mostly local ingredients. The restaurant also features Mediterranean dishes like gyros, souvlakis and baklava. American flavors blend into the mix as well. Gyros taste sharp but cool as gruff spice and cucumber sauce clash. Souvlakis filled with chicken are sublime and creamy. Falafel looks overpowering in lime green, but it tastes refined and subtle. Spicy French fries leave the mouth smoldering while the fried pickles are awesome. Souvlaki’s is open Tuesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.
–Austen Verilli, CG Science
Address: 66 North Court St.
Cuisine: A little bit of everything
Locally produced items/ingredients: Depends on the season, but they get as much as possible of their vegetables, fruits and herbs from the Athens Farmers Market
Review: There’s something for everyone at Stephen’s, with entrees ranging from steak or seafood to Mediterranean or Italian. Chef Jeremy Reed’s eclectic menu is influenced by seasonal changes – he models his menu based on what produce and herbs can be acquired from the Athens Farmers Market. The staple classics are always offered. In addition to buying from the farmers market and other local farmers and businesses, Stephen’s employs a local baker to create 90 percent of its mouthwatering desserts. With a location on Court Street, Stephen’s is easily accessible by car or foot. Doors open for dinner at 5 p.m., and the classy atmosphere makes it perfect for any occasion.
–CG Lifestyles & People Editor Sarah DeCarlo
Name: Village Bakery & Café
Address: 268 East State St.
Cuisine: Salads, soups, sandwiches, bakery items, quiche, bread
Locally produced items/ingredients: Produce, cheese, milk, eggs, meats, honey, granola, crackers, pasta sauce and much more
Review: One can find a delectable delicacy for the sweet tooth or a satisfying meal for the ravenous stomach at Village Bakery. The owners, Christine Hughes and Bob O’Neil, are dedicated to sustainable ingredients. They founded Village Bakery with the dream of providing business to the local food economy. Every item on the menu uses local ingredients such as eggs from King Family Farm, milk and yogurt from Snowville Creamery, and greens from Green Edge Gardens. Meals are pricey, but soups, pastries and quiches are very affordable.
–Leisha Lininger, CG copy editor
Address: 24 1/2 East State St.
Cuisine: Varied/fine dining
Locally produced items/ingredients: Various produce, dairy and other items
Review: Zoe is a European-themed fine dining restaurant on East State Street. The words “seared,” “crusted” and “medley” fill the menu, which includes many local ingredients. Owner Scott Bradley said he gets ingredients from vendors such as the Athens Farmers Market, Green Edge Gardens, Integration Acres, Snowville Creamery, and Starline Organics. The winter limits the local produce options. But in the summer, Silver Bridge Coffee Company and Cowdery Farms also supply Zoe. Portions are small and prices are steep, but the food quality is very high. Some tasty items on the menu include steak burgers, Spanish tortillas and crisp skinned duck breast.
–Joe Salvucci, CG graphic designer