Graduation is slowly creeping upon me and many others. Everyone says, “Oh I am going to miss walking on campus,” “I am going to miss hearing the fight song when the clock strikes 12,” “I am really going to miss my best friends," and the list goes on. I am going to miss all of those beloved things about Auburn, but the one thing I am truly going to miss is the food. Seriously… I am not even joking.
My hometown is very small, and we are not blessed with the wonderful, food establishments of the Auburn and Opelika areas. So for all of you students, whether you are already on The Plains, or plan on coming, don’t make the same mistakes I did. My favorite places around Auburn were centrally located (Momma G’s, Big Blue Bagel, Zoes, etc.) However, as I lived off campus and ventured around, I found some of the greatest restaurants that I wish I would've found sooner, resulting in me enjoying them longer, and not missing them as much as I do now that I am graduating.
So, here are my favorite places to indulge the greatest food in Auburn and Opelika. They are in no particular order.
(Disclaimer: I highly advise that some of these locations be eaten in moderation.)
1. Irish Bred Pub.
This great, little restaurant is located in Downtown Opelika in the cutest little plaza/shopping center. It’s perfect for any occasion, whether that be lunch on a pretty afternoon, or a birthday dinner. Get the Shepard’s Pie. You won’t regret it. You might even run into the balloon man while you’re there. Who doesn't like a balloon hat?
2. Veggies to Go.
Want food so good it’ll slap your momma? Go here. It is located on South College across from Zaxby’s AND on Glenn Avenue. Here, you will find your home-cooked meal; Grilled tenders, mac & cheese, cream corn, fried okra, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, fried green tomatoes. The list goes on. (I even got blackberry casserole as a vegetable once, and it changed my life.) It’s like God handed me the Freshman 15 on a two-meats, three-veggies platter for $8.99+.
3. Tenda Chick.
Located on Dean Road, you’ll find some of the best chicken fingers here. It’s like Guthries (another location I highly recommend because it’s an Auburn classic), however, Tenda Chick allows you to have chicken in different forms. They have fried and grilled chicken options, regular, buffalo, or barbecue options, chicken nuggets, roasted chicken, and not only do they have French fries, but you can have potato salad, too. It’s more of a restaurant rather than your one-stop shop for a chicken fingers, toast, and fries plate.
4. Whispering Oaks.
Located in Opelika on Geneva Street, this restaurant doesn't really look like a restaurant. It is inside an old, white, southern home. It is very similar to Veggies to Go in a way, but I personally love this restaurant because of the atmosphere. Sitting on the front porch with sweet tea in your Sunday best with a great meal? Doesn't get any better than that. Needless to say, it’ll put you in that afternoon nap you love so much.
5. Warehouse Bistro.
When I visited this restaurant, I was a bit freaked out because it is literally a restaurant located in a warehouse district, and you would never know. The Warehouse Bistro is located in Opelika, and it is a bit pricey. The atmosphere is fancy, and it is perfect for when your family comes into town, or an anniversary. Maybe a congratulatory dinner to you graduating, or getting into pharmacy school, etc.
A new restaurant to the Auburn area, and it was started by an Auburn grad, so it’s obviously going to be a win in my book. Again, this is a pricey restaurant, but worth it. The good news is that there is a way to make this restaurant option part of your budget. Everything on the menu is fresh, and the atmosphere is very nice, relaxed, and the architecture is beautiful. I went for my 22nd birthday, and it was fabulous.
Going back to a normal budget now. Willies is probably the greatest discovery I have ever had. Whether you are a current student (you have already indulged in it, don’t lie to yourself), or if you’re an incoming freshman, you are going to hear about this place. I promise you. This restaurant is where you want to order from when you seriously need to eat your feelings. On a happier note, (if you’re like me) it’ll last you two meals, and they’ll deliver it for you. My personal favorite is a western sub rolled in buffalo (it’s a giant hoagie bun with chicken strips covered in ranch and cheese), with tater tots.
“For a true taste of Italy;” this restaurant has an open kitchen, and there is an outdoor terrace! It is located inside the Hotel at Auburn University. On the menu, you’ll find a variety of Italian dishes in addition to burgers and salads, but my personal favorite is on Tuesdays when they have an unlimited, pasta bar. Have I sold you yet?
9. Toomer’s Drugs.
How could I forget Auburn’s cutest, little drugstore. Everyone goes to Toomer’s to get lemonade or ice cream, but don’t forget you can get food, too! I thoroughly enjoy a good hot dog and their lemonade every now and then.
10. Momma Goldberg’s.
I know I mentioned earlier that this place was a regular of mine, and it still is. There are franchises in every possible location, and I’ll never be too far away from one, but the original Momma G’s on Magnolia and South Donahue is the location I will always cherish. There is nothing better than sitting outside looking at Jordan-Hare Stadium on a beautiful day with friends. Good food, good view, good people, and good loving. From a Momma’s Love that is.
Now go kill your diet, and War Eagle!
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