Ballin' on a Budget - A College Students Guide to Atlanta
Southern Pedaler team member and resident Atlanta college student lifestyle expert, Emily Bunker is taking over the blog to tell you how to live it up in the ATL as a college student! She’ll be telling you all about her favorite places to eat, drink, and be merry around Atlanta over the next few weeks.
Of course, don’t forget that we offer a 15% student discount. Just use the code ATLSTUDENT when you book and present your valid student ID when you arrive to save some cash…at least until mom and dad can send more money!
Hi there! My name is Emily Bunker, I’ve been working as the Southern Pedaler’s social media coordinator since January. I’m a senior at Georgia Tech, right in midtown Atlanta. Over the past 4 years, I’ve tirelessly explored this wonderful city, from dive-bars to brunch spots, park hangouts to historic haunts. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be revealing the best places for 20-somethings to eat, drink, hang-out, and go-out in this wonderful city. This week’s focus is my personal favorite, eating!
Eat and Eat and Eat, then Eat some More!
One of the best parts of Atlanta is it’s diverse, ever-changing food scene. Of course we’ve got the best fried chicken in the world, but don’t limit this Southern city to drumsticks and biscuits. From authentic neapolitan pizza to homemade naan, to latin american-southern fusion, we’ve got you covered on. Lucky for you, I’m feeling generous today— read below for my personal favorites, tips, and tricks to enjoying all that this city has to offer!
When your parents are visiting:
Boy do I love a good parent’s visit! Not only is it good to catch up with your folks, but it also usually means you’re looking for a nicer spot to dine. These options below do an excellent job of of pulling together all the little details to make delicious food and a nice atmosphere.
1. Superica: http://www.superica.com
Superica does Tex-Mex to the Tex-Max. They’re salsas are made with fire roasted tomatoes, their tortillas are made fresh for your order, and their margaritas are the perfect cool, tart beverage to pair with tacos al pastor. What’s more? They’re located right off the beltline in Krog Street Market, so you can walk off that major food coma after dinner!
2. Wrecking Bar Brewpub: http://www.wreckingbarbrewpub.com
Atlanta’s culture is a blend of old and new, and Wrecking Bar perfectly exemplifies this blending. The brewpub has remodeled the inside of a historic home from the 1900s into a microbrewery. (Classic Atlanta, am I right?) Their restaurant is hidden in the home’s basement, and feels just like you’ve walked into someone’s personal wine cellar. The elevate classic pub food; their “O.G.” burger is made with grass fed beef, sharp Wisconsin cheddar, and their special Wreck Sauce.
3. Pasta Pulcinella: https://pastadapulcinella.com
This spot is a personal favorite, partially because my family has celebrated so many special occasions here. Tucked away behind Crescent Avenue (and walkable from Georgia Tech’s campus!!), Pasta Pulcinella whisks you away from the chaos of the city to a quiet, homey escape. They’re famous for their Tortelli de Mele, which is ravioli filled with Granny Smith apple and sausage, topped with browned butter and sage. I promise, this is a meal you will remember for years!
When non-southerners are visiting:
Introduce your Yankee (just kidding, we love you too!) friends to the South, by flaunting Atlanta’s southern charm! A real, southern meal includes biscuits, hospitable waiters, and should take at least 2 hours.
1. JCT Kitchen: http://www.jctkitchen.com
I could write a whole blog post on JCT Kitchen’s biscuits. Their fluffy, savory, slightly sweet. And whether you chose apple butter or salted butter, you’re in for a treat. But the biscuits are really only the beginning of the magic of JCT! The restaurant is split into two levels, the top is more casual with outdoor seating and live music on weekends. The bottom is more fancy; as soon as you walk through the doors, you know you’ve walked in some place special. Either option is great, but for visitors I highly recommend enjoying the top level and ordering a bucket of fried chicken for the table! It comes with mac and cheese and biscuits for the table too. It’s a southern fried classic that you don’t want to miss!
2. Joy Cafe:
A must for brunch!! A husband and wife team own and run this sunny breakfast and lunch spot on Peachtree St NE. Joy, the wife and executive chef, grew up in South Georgia, learning the best southern cooking secrets from her Great-Grandmother. Whether ordering the shrimp and grits or a spicy chicken biscuits, it’s impossible to order wrong. You’ll walk out of the doors feeling filled with joy! (See what I did there?)
3. Greater Good BBQ: https://www.greatergoodbbq.com
It wouldn't be a trip down South if you didn’t have BBQ! The Greater Good BBQ was named on Thrillist list of Best BBQ in America. A new location recently opened on the West Side and their dishing up some of the best ribs, pulled pork, and pimento cheese sandwiches.
When the wallet is feeling extra thin:
As a college student, I know how to ball on a budget. I’m a frequenter of the Trader Joe’s frozen aisle, a firm believer in eating cereal for dinner, and acutely aware of just how much protein is in a tablespoon of peanut butter. But sometimes, even when the bank account is low and the next pay check is not on the horizon, you still need to get out of the house and socialize! Below are the best options for when your waiting on that next check from home:
1. Victory Sandwich Bar: http://www.vicsandwich.com
$4 - $5 gourmet sandwiches?? Craft beer, cocktails, and ping pong?? Yes— all that and more! Victory Sandwich Bar is a great place to hit up for a fun afternoon or a midnight snack. I highly recommend the “Hambo”: prosciutto, mozzarella, apple, arugula, and balsamic. You’re probably going to want more than one 😉
Typically, Fred’s is pretty moderately priced, but by no means cheap. However, at their Canteen Location on 5th street, something magically happens after 3pm. The classic Fred’s stack, beef patties, melted American cheese, Fred’s sauce, and pickles, is only $5! Like I said, MAGIC!
3. Jack’s Pizza and Wings: http://jacksatlanta.com
Jack’s is the definition of “hole in a wall”. It’s dark, grungy, loud, and always a blast. It definitely won’t be the best pizza of your life, but it will be a sufficent carbo load of beer and pizza to fill you up without breaking the bank! I recommend going on Fridays, where $5 gets you a slice of cheese pizza and a 40oz High Life!
This list is just a drop in the bucket! Atlanta is chock full of delicious options, but hopefully this post gives you something to start with! Let us know your thoughts! Which restaurant do you want to try first? What restaurants did I miss? What are some of your favorite spots to eat?