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Grab your Jackets Travel Blog: Improving Diets in Atlanta

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NCAA Football: North Carolina at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With both teams now in contention for the ACC coastal after the insanity last weekend, this is looking more and more like this game will be worth the price of admission. I’m expecting a pretty good turnout from both fanbases given what is on the line. I’ll be the first to admit that due to the distance between our schools, I am not the most familiar with the Pitt fanbase. I’ve been told they have some weird dietary habits, so this week we’re going to look at food near campus and around downtown. This will be a bit of a short week since we’re planning to save more about campus and traditions for homecoming down the line. With that, let’s get started.

Travel How To: Getting from Pittsburgh to Atlanta

This is going to be the first one of travels in our series which is difficult no matter how you cut it. The short version is you are either looking at an 11-hour drive or a $350+ flight. I don’t think that will stop the hardcore fans from coming, but if this is your first road trip as a Panther, keep in mind what you’re getting into. Maybe take some extra days away from school or work so you can relax more on the way down.

PGA: Ryder Cup Day Three Rounds Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Google lists the best driving option from Pitt campus to GT campus as going south on I-77 through Charlotte and then turn onto I-85 south the rest of the way. There is also the option to cut across to Cincinnati and go south on I-75 to get to Atlanta. Either option will take you between 11 to 12 hours, so try to bring friends along and make it a road trip and make sure you have a long playlist or set of podcasts ready to listen to.

I was actually planning to go to Pittsburgh before COVID, but then this whole pandemic happened, and I had to cancel. With that in mind, I have no experience with the Pittsburgh airport. Flights are currently listed as $350 round trip from Pittsburgh to Atlanta. I don’t think most college students can swing that, but older graduates may want to take that option.

Syndication: The Enquirer Liz Dufour/The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Just to cover all our bases, there are no seaports in Atlanta (that I am aware of) so booking a boat is a no go. You could hike most of your way down the Appalachian trail. If you decide to hike down, it’ll take you 225 hours if you hike continuously, so it might be too late for you to make the game at this point. There is always next year.

Places to Stay

I’ve covered some of the hotels in the area in my previous blogs. You shouldn’t have a problem looking them up if you have google, just keep in mind they tend to run $150 a night. So if you flew down you’re already running a tight budget if you decide to go with a hotel stay near campus.

Wicked Weed Brewing brewpub and Funkatorium restaurant on... Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you’re willing to stay a bit farther from campus, take a look at Airbnb opportunities near the Virginia Highlands or Little Five Points. While I have made the walk from these places to campus in the past, I wouldn’t really say they are within walking distance, unless you’re used to walking many miles a day (keep in mind once you get to campus, you’ll also be walking around there). Both these areas are a short drive from campus, and both Little 5 and the Highlands are worth exploring in themselves. I would look into checking out if you can stay in those areas, especially if you are of the younger group who like drinking and exploring the food scene.

Things to See: Restaurants

In my first article I already discussed Mary Macs, the Varsity, and the Vortex, so I won’t be covering them here. I bring them up because they are good places and some people will be upset if I don’t list them. Check them out, on to the rest of the list.

Pizza:

Pizza is very common near GT (pizza near a college campus, who’dve thunk it?). Two particular places worth checking out, both of which are very different from each other, are Antico’s and Rocky Mountain Pizza.

Dine out review... Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Antico is more of a traditional brick oven style pizza. It is one of the best Pizzas I’ve ever had, at least top 5. The restaurant is small and very old school. Unless things have changed since I left campus, you have to BYOB and will likely be waiting in line for a bit to get in. I will note, I believe Antico got in trouble recently for not properly compensating its workers. That has since been resolved through a lawsuit, but if it is a moral issue for you keep it in mind.

Rocky Mountain Pizza is more of a pizza joint focused on being a sports bar. Don’t get me wrong, the food there is still good but the atmosphere is definitely less of a traditional restaurant and more of a taproom style. Lots of food other than pizza, lots of TVs, a big back porch area, lots of beers. It’s a neat hangout. It is also the Philly Eagles bar in the area. They aren’t really in your face about it (outside of Sunday), but if you take issue with that as a Steelers fan, be aware what you are walking into.

Shaq’s Grand Opening

There is also a Papa Johns which is owned by Shaq right off of campus… It’s a Papa Johns, I don’t have much to say. There are some other pizza joints like Fellini’s and Goodfella’s that are pretty good. I find those places to be more generic pizza joints, they’re fine I just don’t have much to say about them.

Barbeque:

Oh lord… I’m gonna piss some people off no matter what I say in this section.

So my personal favorite in the area is DBA barbeque in the Virginia Highlands. There are better BBQ for taste, but DBA has options for everyone and tends to be reasonable for the price in my experience. I love their brisket and sausage.

Fox Brothers is probably the most well known and well reviewed BBQ in the area. They are fantastic, it’s been a while since I’ve had their food, but they are popular for a reason. I believe they are slightly farther from campus, with the added benefit of being near SweetWater brewing.

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Moe’s original BBQ is another great spot. I remember their sides more than their main dishes. I personally enjoyed their ribs with a big side of mac and cheese (because who needs to take care of their bodies anyway?).

DAS BBQ is pretty popular. Their pork is fantastic. There are plenty of other American BBQs in the area. No matter what I list someone will be upset so I’ll cut this section slightly short.

Ishigaki Beef BBQ in Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan. 31JUL17 SCMP/Young Wang Photo by Young Wang/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

If you’d like to try something different, Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ is in Atlantic Station. This is a different style from American BBQ but still tastes very good.

Well Known Local Joints:

Cypress Street is an FTRS favorite. It is a few blocks walking distance from campus. They have great drinks and great food. It is one of the ideal places to head back to and chill at after a game as they tend to stay open late (not sure if COVID affected that).

J.R. Crickets is a famous wing spot in the area. If you watch the FX series “Atlanta”, J.R. Crickets is where they get the Lemon Pepper Wet from. I don’t know specifically about Lemon Pepper Wet wings, but the wings I have gotten from that location are fantastic.

Wingnuts is a popular place among students with a myriad of wings flavors. They offer boneless wings by the half pound or pound. I think most students enjoy getting a full pound of wings and saving some for the rest of the week. I don’t really know if this is a good place for gameday, because the amount of food can really weigh you down.

Taquiera Del Sol is a great Mexican restaurant and is also next to Jeni’s Ice Creams. There is plenty of food and shopping near that area, it may be a good sport for family outings.

2013 MLL All Star Game Festivities Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

For the final food place (in this article… trust me there are plenty more I’m not listing) I want to give a shoutout to Moe’s Southwest Grill off of 5th street. That place took way too much of my money as a student. There’s nothing special about it, it’s a chain similar to Chipotle (not sure if they have Moe’s in Pittsburgh). It’s near campus, it’s easy, and all the students go there.

So, in short, there is plenty to eat in Atlanta other than your own excrement. I won’t judge, but come on there is plenty of food to enjoy out there. I hope Pitt fans enjoy the trip until the game starts. It should be fun and exciting, and I hope it delivers everything we expect from college football (and then GT wins). Have a safe trip and a nice weekend everyone!