Brenen’s Coffee Cafe

Brenen’s Coffee Cafe is the perfect lunchtime spot. Think Panera Bread, but locally owned and operated [we love to #SupportLocal]. Founded by two Ohio University alumni, Brenen’s offers handcrafted sandwiches and specialty coffee drinks. My favorite combo is the chicken salad sandwich with an iced cinnamon mocha latte [with almond milk, of course]. Brenen’s also offers breakfast sandwiches [from 7:30 a.m. until 11 a.m.] served on bagels, croissants or choice of bread and homemade pastries baked fresh every morning [a stop at Brenen’s isn’t complete until you’ve tried one of their cream cheese danishes or cinnamon rolls]. Pro tip: if you’re a student on campus, be sure to look into getting a Brenen’s meal plan! —Grace

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Donkey Coffee and Espresso 

Since discovering Donkey Coffee and Espresso my first semester in Athens, it has become a staple in my life and I have no idea what life will be like post-grad without the “total package” of coffee shops. From their slogan of “Caffeine with a Conscience” to their strides for inclusivity and equal rights, the atmosphere exudes good vibes. Donkey not only has the best coffee but also the best morals. The local business is sustainable and always getting involved with Ohio University and its clubs. My personal favorite drinks are either the red iced tea or the oat milk latte [hot or iced, depends on the day]. Grab one of those and a vegan chocolate cherry cookie and you’re all set! Make sure you try and grab a table on the porch and ask for a “for here” glass cup [even though their to-go cups are compostable!]. —Alicia

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Jackie O’s

Jackie O’s has been my favorite place to eat in Athens since I moved here a year ago. The environment is inviting— filled with conversation, good company and even better food. Although Jackie O’s is known for its beer and brewery, the food also deserves some recognition. I love starting with one or two appetizers when I eat there, specifically the artichoke and parmesan dip with spent grain crackers and the beer-battered fried pickles with a side of ranch. You can tell they put a lot of thought into creating their dishes and it shows by how tasty they are. For main courses, you can never go wrong with a pizza [my personal favorite is the margherita] or a classic sandwich. If you like spicy food, I’d highly recommend Jackie O’s take on a Nashville hot chicken sandwich; it’s delicious. Overall, you really can’t go wrong with any dish there, and if you’re 21 [unlike me], you can wash it down with one of their many delicious beers! —Sam

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Casa Nueva

Casa Nueva provides the best date-night spot in Athens. Casa offers a wide variety of Mexican-inspired food from chimichangas to enchiladas made from ingredients that are locally sourced. My personal favorite dish is its vegan burrito with a side of vegetarian chili [It’s seriously to die for]!  On top of their killer eats, Casa has a diverse drink menu and large bar, perfect for a night out. They’re always hosting fun events, ranging from live music to art shows. Casa Nueva is a worker-run co-operative, creating a very unique style and giving every employee an important role in running the restaurant. Because of this, its employees make fair wages and don’t even accept tips; if you do a tip they donate it to a charity [how cool is that?]. It’s always better eating out when you’re supporting a mission as unique as this one. —Cydney

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Bagel Street Deli

Bagel Street Deli is the perfect spot for every kind of person. From picky eaters to the harshest critics, there is something for everyone at BSD. Located off of Court Street, this hole in the wall sandwich joint welcomes you with red-brick walls covered in chalk and tin foil art. Featuring a mural with a character from the Simpsons, the college environment screams local and eccentric. There are thousands of bagel sandwich combinations to choose from. From breakfast to dessert, the possibilities are endless. In addition, all of the bagels are purchased from Block’s, a local bakery in the Columbus area. Pro tip: arrive for happy hour between 4-7 p.m. for a free drink and chip combination during the week! —Claire

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