If you've never been to The Grit, you've never truly been to Athens, GA. It's not only one of the most famous vegetarian restaurants in the country, it's a rock n' roll landmark. Athens has a hopping music scene with some fantastic local history. If one of your favorite musicians comes to town to jam out at the 40 Watt or the Georgia Theatre (before it burned down), your best chance at a sighting is to stake out The Grit. All of them eat here.
There's a good reason they come to The Grit.....it's delicious! I've brought two skeptical omni friends here who left with full bellies and smiling faces. The atmosphere is adorable, there's excellent people watching and the menu is full of great choices. They have everything from breakfast, sammiches, various ethnic specialties and a rotating selection of southern style veggies and sides along with side splitting desserts.
I know this picture doesn't make it appear so but it's a hopping place! It isn't very often that I'm able to go to a restaurant and order ANYTHING on the menu so I always relish the experience. Being able to order a rueben is an exceptional treat!
There are many variations of the vegetarian rueben. Tempeh, seitan... The Grit throws it down with tofu and it is so good that it's almost scary. They slice it in small thin pieces and season it just right. The first time I brought an omni here, he had the rueben and was blown away. In the background is the Baby Dal. My sister Allison was with me and threw me a curve ball by ordering this! She likes the curry my mom makes at home which is of the Golden variety. Indian curry is quite different from this and she isn't a very adventurous eater so I was impressed. She took a bite from the small bowl and said it tasted bland. "Bland" is the exact opposite of how I'd describe a proper dal so I took and bite and, sure enough, I was underwhelmed. What could have gone wrong? We were a bit thrown by the 'dressing' that came with her meal which is pictured right in the middle of the table. I told her to try mixing it in and that was the kicker. It completely transformed the experience. The flavors were distinctly Indian and had a pleasant level of spice. There are a lot of great Indian places where I live but none of them have sauces that you stir in to activate the curry. This was new and thought provoking.
We split a slice of turtle pie which was basically pecan pie with chocolate chips. It didn't photograph well but it tasted awesome. If you don't have the reason or the means to make it down to the Liverpool of the south, The Grit does have an awesome cookbook available to order. I've had a copy for years and it's a great addition to any collection. The book is a treasure trove of Grit goodness that is busting with rock star testimonials. You can jam out any of these recipes and earn some rave reviews of your own.
I'm already looking forward to headin' down the Atlanta Highway again this winter for a repeat performance. It's a little ol' place where we can go together.