Part of being a foodie means accepting the fact that you’ll outlive some of your favorite restaurants. It’s a cruel world we live in. Grab a tissue and reflect on all the memories you’ve made at these deceased Athens restaurants.
1. East West Bistro
Just like the name suggests, this restaurant combined Pacific and Southern cuisine. What you may not know is that it also came with its fair share of drama.
Renee Middleton, former owner, sold the restaurant to Joe Yan in 2013. But, in December 2015, Yan ran out with computers, liquor, coolers and more from the restaurant and left Middleton to deal with the aftermath. Apparently, business was less than stellar after the ownership changed.
New Orleans ‘N Athens delivered Cajun classics like shrimp & grits, crawfish and oysters, but closed just five years after opening. Word on the street is that the closing was quite abrupt and left regulars and employees shocked and confused. I guess it’s time to take a road trip to Louisiana… or George’s Lowcountry Table.
Athens used to sport two Yoforia locations (Five Points and downtown), but both closed in December 2014. A few other locations in Atlanta closed, too, so we can’t blame Athens for this one. While we’re on the topic of froyo, Yoguri is also missed. If you think picking a flavor is tough, try running the business. Froyo fanatics, there’s still Menchie’s.
4. Stuffed Burger
Formerly on Barnett Shoals, Stuffed Burger was known for their – you guessed it – stuffed burgers. Some customers even made the bold statement that it tied with Clocked for the best burger in Athens.
5. Rocky’s Pizzeria
Bob Russo is the man we have to thank for this restaurant as well as Gyro Wrap and The Grill. While the latter two are still open, Rocky’s Pizzeria closed in 2004 just one year after Russo’s death. The new restaurant that took over the historic building did restore one of the features Rocky’s was known for: the toy train circling above the dining room. Don’t forget about Automatic Pizza and Transmetropolitan if you need your carbs + cheese fix.
6. Walter’s Bar-B-Q
Ever heard the song, “Walter’s Theme” on Dead Letter Office by R.E.M.? It was inspired by none other than this famous BBQ joint. There’s even a picture on the interwebs of the band eating there. So, if you’re a hardcore R.E.M. fan, the closing of this restaurant was probably a very difficult time in your life. Thankfully, Athens still has some incredible BBQ: check out Pulaski Heights BBQ and Butt Hutt.
7. Dirty Birds
The original Dirty Birds in San Diego is still open, but the Athens version closed in 2014 after just two years. Their goal was to capitalize on the sports-minded town with 22 TVs, 24 beers on tap and free pool. If you’re looking for ways to fill the void this restaurant left, take a trip to Bar South for pool tournaments and pizza.
8. Junkyard Dawgs
Contrary to its name, this restaurant’s food was far from junk. They specialized in hot dogs and hamburgers and served a highly regarded chili dog. In 2014, however, the property on Highway 441 sported a for sale sign. But have no fear, Cook Out is here!
9. Sweet Peppers Deli
This restaurant used to occupy the building at the corner of Pulaski Street and Broad Street alongside Gigi’s Cupcakes and Artini’s but closed after the owners received a substantial offer on their spot. That location may be gone, but there are plenty more… in Mississippi. Until you can make it all the way over there, grab a sub from R.U.Hungry or just hit up Publix.