Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Grit

The Grit is one of my favorite Athens restaurants. Although not what converted me to vegetarianism, (yeah I will admit it is kind of like a religion), it’s the kind of place that routinely satisfies hard core meat lovers. As to what actually made me go veggie I would attribute that to the fact that when cooked right morning star farms chicken nuggets taste better than the real thing, and not wanting to eat the horrible dry chicken at place near Disney. Of course that’s not why I still am, and no I’m not going to go into that here, but if you ask I will certainly tell you as little or as much as you want to know.

One of the more interesting things about this restaurant is how accessible it is. In fact it’s so accessible that they released a best-selling cookbook that gave away most of their secrets. It didn’t seem to hurt business (it actually seemed to help), so obviously there is more to the Grit than just the sum of the ingredients.

Probably the most famous item on the menu is the Golden Bowl, and while it’s a great introduction to tofu its not the only item on the menu. One of the features is that the Grit has a large selection of rotating items in addition to the special of the day. They always have about 10-15 different vegetables of the day, which can be combined to make a meal by itself. Personally, I think they have the best mac n’ cheese ever, and I order it every time its on the menu. You should also vegetable samosas, and they have excellent split pea dahl. They have a Mid-eastern sampler that’s worth a try too. Recently they added a ruben sandwhich, and while it may not taste exactly like the real thing its close enough and good enough not to really matter. They have specials worth looking for like their chili cheese dogs and lasagna with feta cheese. Most everything on the menu is great. I can‘t think of anything that I would stay away from. At one point I went there so frequently I could recite the menu, but since moving out of town for a while and having to learn how to cook and then moving back incredibly broke, it is a minor regret of mine that this is no longer the case. They also have great desserts - -some of which are vegan (for those of you into that kind of thing). You can also order teas, coffee, sodas, and beer.

The Grit is somewhat of a cult phenomenon. It’s particularly famous with indie rock set and other artists. Many of the more "famous" ones either work their now or have worked there in the past. The Grit is frequently crowded, but not too crowded. On weeknights its pretty busy, but there usually isn't a wait.

The atmosphere is very bohemian chic. There’s always art on walls, but it’s never the same for long. None of the plates, tables and chairs, ect. match which gives the place the feel that it was decorated from thrift store buys (and according to this article in the Flagpole it was!). The Grit was one the first local places to have unisex bathrooms (two of them). The music is nice -mostly indie rock. It used to be really quiet, but they seem to have fixed that problem. At night the light is too low for my taste. Actually, those last two things might be the real reason why I don’t go there very much. Plus, I live with an obsessive-compulsive carnivore that really hates same sex bathrooms.

Whether or not you like the atmosphere, the Grit is certainly worth checking out. If you haven’t tried it yet I highly recommend it. If your veggie or vegan I‘m sure you‘ll find something to awe over, and if not maybe you find that being one doesn’t always have to be as bad as it looks.

2 comments:

Adrian said...

I don't go there much, but some people were recently writing a lot of comments about how bad the food and the service have become over time. Can you tell where there might be such a variety of opinions?

CRC said...

I'm really not sure. It hasn't changed much in the 12 years I've been going there.All I can say is that it's one of those places you really like or you absolutely hate.