Midway between Birmingham, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee, you will find the city of Athens, AL, on Interstate 65.
The city has a total land area of 39.4 square miles, is home to about 25,000 people, and is one of the best places to live in Alabama.
Originally a town called Athenson, after its incorporation in 1818, it was renamed Athens, after the ancient Greek city.
Athens, Alabama, is one of the oldest incorporated cities in Alabama, having been incorporated a full year before the State was admitted into the Union in 1819.
The city’s historic Downtown, where most of the restaurants, stores, and trendy shops are located, offers unique shopping experiences and dining opportunities where visitors can enjoy wholesome Southern foods or a mix of other culinary experiences available in the area.
Below is a curated list of the restaurants serving up classic meals in Athens, AL, that you can visit with friends and family and be guaranteed a good time with great service and even better food.
Best Restaurants in Athens
1. Whitt’s Barbecue
Whitt’s Barbecue is a local barbecue chain offering hickory-smoked meats, wings & sides in a low-key counter-service setting. Despite its age, it is still one of the top restaurants in Athens, AL, that offers an unforgettable barbecue and customer service.
Whitt’s Barbecue and its tradition for excellence were founded 57 years ago in Athens, AL, originally as a source of income for Floyd and Laura Whitt to send their children to college. Today the dream and tradition are still strong with a 4th generation of the family in place.
The restaurant has a casual, tourist and children-friendly atmosphere good for solo and group dining and also offers drive-through services for customers who are on the go.
It serves a variety of hickory-smoked meats ranging from pork, chicken, and turkey to beef to go with their in-house sandwiches, sauces, sides, and main dishes.
Whitt’s Barbecue opens from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Mondays to Fridays and from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturdays.
Address: 1 S Marion St A, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-232-3385
2. Casa Blanca
Casa Blanca is a local family-owned Mexican chain restaurant offering a menu of classic Mexican in a casual and traditional space.
The first Casa Blanca was opened in Tennessee by Gabriel Martinez and his partner. However, current ownership of the chain in Athens, AL, and the North Alabama area lies solely within the Martinez family who jointly own and run the chain.
With its Mexican-inspired art hanging on the walls, the restaurant is one of the best Athens restaurants, and is intentional about family, offering amenities that cater for family dining as well as solo and group dining, in a warmly lit, casual atmosphere.
Casa Blanca has an extensive menu featuring dishes like Carne Asada, Chicken or Steak and Rice, Grilled Shrimp Quesadilla, Grilled Chicken Tacos, Shrimp Chimichanga, and many more dishes, including a children’s menu.
It opens from 11:00 am every day of the week and closes at 9:00 pm on Sundays through Thursdays, and at 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Address: 1802 US Hwy 72 E, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-771-0130
3. Lucia’s Cocina Mexicana
Lucia’s Cocina Mexicana is a celebration of family and love, and its owners hope that through their food and great service, patrons of the restaurant can also come to feel the love as one family, just as they—the Martinez family—do.
The Martinez family opened the restaurant in 2016 in honor of its matriarch Luce Maria Aguilar Lopez, who had recently just been declared cancer free after two years of battling with the disease.
Guests at the restaurant can enjoy their meals in the premium setting of what promises to be one of the best restaurants in Athens, AL, with its highbrow décor and large picture windows that offer the guests views of the street outside.
The restaurant has an extensive menu featuring dishes like Carne con Queso, Grilled Steak Nachos, Taco Salad, Enchiladas, Fajitas, seafood dishes, a children’s menu, and many more dishes.
It opens from 11:00 am every day of the week and closes at 9:00 pm on Sundays through Thursdays and at 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Address: 208 Market St W, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-998-5451
4. The Village Pizza
The Village Pizza is the perfect place for a family night or date night to enjoy authentic Italian pizzas. Customers are sure to have their orders delivered hot and fast by friendly and attentive staff in an inviting atmosphere.
Over 30 years ago, the idea for the restaurant began as a bet between brothers-in-law Jerry Gilbert and Norm Cluff, two retirees looking for something to occupy their time, and what started as a bet quickly became one of the best restaurants in Athens, AL over the years.
The restaurant is a laid-back, brick-lined joint featuring brick-oven pizzas, hot subs & salads, and a kids’ menu.
The menu offers a variety of pizzas, toasted subs, wings, and salads such as Caesar salad, Garden salad, BBQ chicken pizza, Aloha pizza with pineapple and bacon, and Fajita toasted subs, among many others.
It opens Mondays to Wednesdays from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Thursdays to Saturdays from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, and on Sundays from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Address: 222 Market St W, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-233-7627
5. Sweet Thymes
Sweet Thymes is a small restaurants offering catering, to-go lunches, and a variety of desserts. Despite its small footprint, the restaurant is praised as one of the top restaurants to visit in Athens, with its meals cooked to order to ensure freshness when served.
The boutique restaurant has an inviting and happily painted façade with soft pastel colors, and the doors open into an interior that feels like home after a busy day, with its friendly staff at your beck and call.
It serves a delightful and ever-changing menu of Southern home cooking that includes Teriyaki Chicken with rice, Honey Pecan Chicken, Mississippi Pot Roast, BLT, Hamburger Steak with Sauteed Onions and Gravy, Chicken Casserole, and more.
Sweet Thymes opens from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm from Monday through Friday but stays closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Address: 407 N Clinton St, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-444-4142
6. Ro’s Grill
Ro’s Grill is located just off the highway and is known for consistently offering an eclectic menu with outstanding takes on what might pass as regular meals, all prepared and served by a wonderfully attentive and friendly staff.
Originally the site of Lawler’s Barbecue, the location was taken over by a new owner and christened Ro’s Grill after the new owner’s baby, Caroline Ro, and it has been serving top-shelf home cooking ever since and is a nice place to find good food in Athens, AL.
On the outside, it looks very regular and nondescript, but the doors open up to welcome you into a neatly maintained and accommodating space with the facilities to hold as large as parties of up to six, so you can dine in with family or friends if you feel like.
The restaurant’s eclectic menu offers options such as the Bacon Cheeseburger, Chicken or Beef Philly, Fried Mushrooms, BLT, Caribbean Chicken, Po’boys, and a variety of appetizers and combo dishes.
Ro’s Grill opens on Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10:30 am to 7:00 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 am to 9:00 pm, and on Sundays from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm but remains closed on Mondays.
Address: Ro’s Grille, 300 Hobbs St E, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-230-2716
7. Cash & Jack’s
Cash & Jack’s is a local restaurant that provides tasty foods to satisfy your hunger, from classic American foods to Hawaiian, and Tex-Mex foods, all in an environment you can enjoy with your family and friends.
Locally owned and operated, Cash & Jack’s is named after the owner’s two sons and is a sister restaurant to Ro’s Grille in Athens, AL. Trying to take a new twist to old favorites.
The restaurant is located inside a beautifully whitewashed building with matching interiors well-lit by natural light that bounces of the white walls. It also has a patio dining option for those who want to sit out in the open and enjoy their meals.
The restaurant is one of the best places to eat in Athens, AL, with a menu of dishes such as Loaded Sweet Potato Fries, the Tex Mex, sandwiches, Grilled Steak, and Fried Shrimp, all delivered in true southern style.
Cash & Jack’s opens from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays and from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm on Wednesdays through Fridays. On Sundays and Mondays, the restaurant remains closed.
Address: 1406 Lindsay Ln S, Athens, AL 35613, United States. Phone: +1 256-795-2525
8. 306 Barbecue
306 Barbecue is a full-service restaurant featuring fresh meat and delicious side items cooked daily on-site. The popularity of 306 continues to grow as word spreads about the three guys with a smoker who dish out some fine, southern food.
The restaurant’s journey began in a driveway on the eastern side of Athens, AL, when Justin Burgreen, Lee Noah, and Whitney Skipworth started cooking meats on a portable smoker for friends and family to enjoy during ballgames and special occasions.
Known as one of the best Athens restaurants to grab a quick bite, 306 Barbecue’s clean interior calls back to its humble cookout beginnings, with its long picnic tables for large gatherings and tables set on wood barrels in an airy, friendly, wheelchair accessible space.
On the menu, you’ll find a variety of meaty meals such as pulled pork and rib sandwiches, loaded potatoes, chicken, turkey, wings, and kid-friendly dishes. You can expect nothing less from a place with barbecue in its name.
The restaurant opens on weekdays from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and stays closed on weekends.
Address: 23101 US-72, Athens, AL 35613, United States. Phone: +1 256-444-2306
9. Catfish Cabin II
Catfish Cabin II, just off Highway 72, is an amazing restaurant serving a predominantly seafood menu deeply rooted in the flavors and tastes of Southern cuisine.
The restaurant has always strived to consistently offer great services and good food that easily get its patrons hooked since it was established 35 years ago.
The wheelchair-accessible restaurant features bare white walls lined with bricks and wood paneling, giving off the vibe of dining in an authentic cabin by the riverside, with friendly staff always willing to be of service.
Some of the offerings on the menu include crab legs, fried mushrooms, whole catfish and catfish fillet, seafood platters, and other non-seafood meals like grilled chicken breast and ribeye steaks.
Catfish Cabin II opens on Sundays through Thursdays from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Address: 906 US Hwy 72 E, Athens, AL 35613, United States. Phone: +1 256-233-0803
10. Jiang’s Golden Phoenix
Jiang’s Golden Phoenix offers delicious Chinese cuisine with a modern twist of some classic dishes, and an insistence on excellent service and using the highest quality ingredients to cook for its patrons.
The restaurant, founded in 2015, has continued to deliver on its consistency of quality and service to the community in a relaxed atmosphere.
The restaurant maintains a casual and cozy ambiance, with a courteous staff serving all you can eat and healthy comfort foods to its patrons in a family-friendly, wheelchair-accessible setting.
The restaurant serves dishes like Chow Mein, Lo Mein, Chop Suey, Fried Rice, Kung Pao Chicken, Szechuan Chicken, and General Tso’s Bean Curd.
It opens from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm Sundays to Tuesdays and on Thursdays, and from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Address: 516 US Hwy 72 W, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-233-8088
11. Applebee’s Grill + Bar
Whether you’re looking for affordable lunch specials with co-workers or in the mood for a delicious dinner with family and friends, Applebee’s Grill + Bar in Athens, AL, offers dining options you’ll love.
Known the world over, Applebee’s was founded in November 1980 and has continued to be a full-service grill and bar providing hearty American eats in an informal setting.
Right from the exterior, the restaurant pops out as a lively and informal yet cool place to dine in, and the interior reinforces that appeal with its very colorful décor and interactive and helpful staff.
Truly one of the best places to eat in Athens, AL, Applebee’s has a wide menu that includes Shrimp ‘N Parmesan Sirloin, Bourbon Street Steak, Double-glazed Baby Back Ribs, pancakes, chicken and fries, various pasta dishes, and sandwiches.
Applebee’s opens on Mondays to Thursdays from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm, on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 am to 12:00 am, and on Sundays from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Address: 1331 US Hwy 72 E, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-233-4430.
Want to know more places to visit in Alabama for fun dining? Check out our guide on restaurants in Enterprise, restaurants in Fort Payne, and restaurants in Oxford.
12. D & L Seafood and Grill
D & L Seafood and Grill is a quaint little restaurant located in the French Farms Shopping Center, just off Highway 72, and serving up real deal Southern food that is bound to have you coming back for more.
D & L Seafood and Grill currently employs a staff of 7 to guarantee optimal customer service and satisfaction at its size. The restaurant which was opened in 2019 has positioned itself as one of the best restaurants in Athens, AL with its great customer service repertoire.
Although it is limited in space, the very accessible restaurant offers its guests comfort food in a casual and cozy atmosphere that welcomes diners with open arms.
It serves Jumbo Butterfly Shrimp, seafood platters, fried oysters, grilled salmon, grilled pork chops, grilled rainbow trout & shrimps, and many other seafood and non-seafood southern dishes.
The restaurant opens on Tuesdays to Thursdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm, on Fridays and Saturdays it closes an hour later at 9:00 pm, and on Sundays it opens from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. On Mondays it stays closed.
Address: 229 French Farms Blvd L, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-206-8125
13. Terranova’s Italian Restaurant
Terranova’s is an Italian restaurant serving good Italian food within its very limited, small space, but despite everything it lacks in space, it is still arguably one of the best restaurants in Athens, AL.
Owned by Dan and Kami Oliver, Terranova’s Italian Restaurant opened up in Athens, AL, in early 2018, following the success of the first Terranova’s in Huntsville.
The restaurant is located in a large brick building, right next to UG Mercantile, and on the interior it transports you to a whole new world that almost makes you forget you just came off the street moments prior.
Terranova’s serves dishes like Pasta Portofino, Venetian Grilled Chicken, Shrimp Scampi, salads, Chicken Cannelloni, and desserts.
It opens from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Mondays through Fridays only.
Address: 105 N Jefferson St, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-800-8061
14. New China
New China Chinese Restaurant offers authentic and delicious tasting Chinese cuisine in Athens, AL, in a convenient location with affordable prices that make the restaurant a natural choice for dine-in or take-out meals in the Athens community.
It has established itself over the years since it first opened its doors to the public as a place you can go to and expect good food with continuously improving service.
Although on the smaller side, the restaurant is known for its variety in taste and high-quality fresh ingredients, and for its friendly atmosphere and excellent service, and also among the top Athens restaurants, to explore and dine at.
The restaurant’s menu features authentic Chinese dishes like Wonton Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup, Vegetable Fried Rice, Roast Pork Fried Rice, and a variety of Chow Mein and Lo Mein.
New China opens from 11:00 am to 8:30 pm on Sundays and Tuesdays through Thursdays and from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Address: 645 US Hwy 72 W, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-801-9388
15. LawLer’s Barbecue
LawLer’s Barbecue’s unique selling point is that your search for a good barbecue is over once you step through their door, and a large number of their patrons agree that it is one of the best places get delicious barbecue.
LawLer’s Barbecue is a locally owned restaurant chain with 13 locations, including Athens, AL., where its owners were born, raised, and still live, and have continued to build the restaurant into a family tradition shared by many generations of people at the same time.
The restaurant has free off-street parking, is wheelchair accessible, and has highchairs for when you come dine with your toddlers.
The menu, with its heavy southern influences, offers options such as BBQ sandwiches, St. Louis Style Ribs, Brunswick Stew, and Barbecue by the Pound.
LawLer’s Barbecue opens on Mondays to Saturdays from 10:30 am to 8:00 pm.
Address: 1506 US Hwy 72 E, Athens, AL 35611, United States. Phone: +1 256-233-1818
16. Kreme Delight
If you have been craving sweets and other amazing desserts and you are yet to find a worthy restaurant to sate your appetite, then you should head on to Kreme Delight for a round of tasty desserts and other satisfying meals you cannot resist.
Kreme Delight is a famous name among top restaurants in Athens that locals visit to have their sweet tooth satisfied with its many offerings that are prepared with utmost care and attention to the dietary needs of customers.
This restaurant has a modest appearance from afar, with white paint in and out. There is a large car park for your vehicles and a small interior that accommodates just a few patrons at a time.
Kreme Delight has meals like Dipped Cones, Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakes, Hot Fudge Sundaes, Upside Down Banana Splits, etc.
This restaurant opens from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm daily.
Address: 401 W Washington St, Athens, AL 35611-2535. Phone: +1 256-232-9130.
17. Dubs Burgers
For those who crave delicious mouthwatering burgers made to satisfy even the most hungry of men, this fantastic restaurant is a place you do not want to miss out on as it has a lot to give when it comes to tasty meals you can count on to be worthwhile and delicious.
Dubs Burger has a small interior that is fully functional and nicely structured to accommodate as many people as possible. This incredible restaurant is a usual hang-out hub in the area, so it is common to find locals here, sitting with their friends while they enjoy various meals.
You can also have a taste of what this restaurant has to offer by visiting and ordering meals like Sandwiches, Burgers, Chicken Fingers, Salads, and a lot of other meals.
Dubs Burger opens from 10:00 am to 3:45 pm on Mondays to Saturdays.
Address: .402 S Jefferson St, Athens, AL 35611-2551. Phone: +1 256-232-6135.
18. Logan’s Roadhouse
Logan’s Roadhouse is a great find for those who stumble upon it as it is a beautiful restaurant, you will find interesting, with a lot of goodies to offer customers.
This restaurant is always a beehive of activities because customers never stop coming in to grab a meal or two to get a dose of Logan’s wonderful cooking, which is rich in multiple flavors and has a wonderful taste profile.
No hype, but Logan’s has the best hands when it comes to customer service, as its staff is trained to take care of customers with great attention to detail and their needs.
The dining environment is always neat, and the seating space is carefully structured to make walking in the restaurant easier for all.
Your day can get brighter and your belly happier if you visit this restaurant to have meals like Burgers, Apple Pie, French Fries, Hot Dogs, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pizza, Fried Chicken, Grilled Cheese, etc.
This restaurant opens from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm daily.
Address: 16132 Athens Limestone Blvd, Athens, AL 35613-2215+1 256-216-1880.
Also check out our guide on restaurants in Gadsden and restaurants in Homewood for a fun meal time in Alabama.
Plan a Trip to Athens
Athens, Alabama, might seem like a backwoods place to many, but it packs a punch with its southern hospitality and cuisine.
There is no better place to enjoy the true tastes of southern soul food than Athens, Alabama, and when in the area, these restaurants provide some of the finest dining experiences you could ask for, so head out to these restaurants for an enjoyable dining experience.