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Everybody loves a good burger. With all of the burger joints in and around Macon, it is easy to go out and grab a great burger. But what if you could get gourmet burgers delivered?
Burger IM, in Bonaire, Georgia, offers specialty sliders that can be picked up, delivered or enjoyed on location, just off US 129, about 25 minutes south of Macon.
Variety of Options
Although their menu is fairly small, the options for customizing the sliders make for lots of different combinations. The burger patties range from plain beef to specially produced wagyu beef to lamb. They even have vegetarian options.
Aside from the patties, customers can choose between white or wheat buns, or a lettuce wrap. Toppings come as burger styles, such as California (with greens, tomato, avocado and chipotle mayo) or Cowboy (with cheddar, bacon, an onion ring and BBQ sauce).
We liked all the other burgers we tried, although none stood out as much as the wagyu.
“I had never had wagyu before, and it was a nice first time. It had a great flavor, definitely a higher quality of beef,” said photographer Peter Garcia.
We got to Burger IM about 15 minutes after they opened, and it was already fairly crowded.
“When we got there, it was kinda confusing; we knew there was a line, but it was a little chaotic,” Garcia said.
It took a while for the staff to get through their many customers, but our food was ready fairly quickly. Although we got a number to set on our table, we still had to go pick our food up when our number was called, which was also confusing.
The cashier seemed to be a little new, as she had to put in our orders multiple times to get it correct. They were also out of some items on the menu, such as the dry-aged beef burger.
Burger IM offers party boxes of 16 sliders for $44.99 and family boxes for $34.99 that include eight sliders, eight wings, fries and onion rings. These prices are before tax and before the delivery charge, so the price per slider for the party box actually ends up being closer to the price one would pay at the restaurant.
Two sliders cost $6.99, and ordering three cost $9.99. Adding a side and drink to your meal is $3 extra. There is an extra charge applied to every burger made with special toppings or with a wagyu patty.
“It’s easy to see how the price can just jump up with all the premium add-ons,” Gracia said.
Although the idea behind Burger IM is promising, it is hard to justify the price. The sliders are good enough to make an enjoyable meal, but nothing outstanding enough to make me want to go back.
Sometimes, people eat out to try foods from other cultures that they cannot make at home. Sometimes, people eat out to find tasty and healthy alternatives to cooking.
Sometimes, people eat out to have a big plate of classic American comfort food.
Metro Diner is a great example of classic American eatery. Offering a large menu of diner favorites, from eggs benedict to chicken and waffles to meatloaf, Metro puts a twist on classic favorites. Some of these favorites include a cornbread waffle with maple butter or their Holy Davoli burger, which is served between two grilled cheese sandwiches.
We were greeted at the door, and even though it was crowded, we were taken to a table immediately. Our food came out quickly, and our waitress made sure I always had a coffee refill when I needed it.
“There was hospitality from when we got in until when we left,” said photographer, Peter Garcia.
On top of their long menu, Metro had a chalkboard featuring a few different specials. I ordered the special chorizo burger eggs benedict with a side of hashbrowns. The chorizo patties were flavorful, and the hollandaise on top made for a savory and hearty meal.
Sophomore Dwayne Brown who ate with us ordered the special apple streusel waffles. The Waffles were layered with a cream cheese and apple filling and topped with caramelized apples.
“It’s like a caramel apple river running down two waffle mountains,” Brown said.
Not Necessarily Diet Friendly
Although the items on the menu may be tasty, these are full flavor, full-calorie kind of plates. The fried chicken and waffle contains over 2,000 calories, the daily intake for the average American according to the FDA.
Thankfully, all the items on the menu are labeled with their corresponding number of calories, so those watching what they eat can make an informed decision.
Although the prices of the items vary greatly depending on what you order, the prices certainly reflect the fact that everything is made to order, with higher quality ingredients than a usual diner.
“The prices are about three to four dollars too much,” said sophomore Emily Bartlett, who also ate with us.
The portion of the plates, however, somewhat make up for the fact that they can be a little pricey. Bartlett was able to take home leftovers for another meal, and the rest of us were completely full.
Hard to Beat the Competition
As far as diner food in Macon goes, the name that probably comes to mind is Waffle House.
“The hash browns were pretty good, but I think I enjoy Waffle House a little more. The atmosphere feels closer to Sunday brunch with family than dinner,” Gracia said.
Overall, our group felt that the food was good, and the service was great, but Metro is fairly niche for an American diner. It does not compete price-wise with Waffle House, and the food is good, but nothing hit a home run.
That said, if you are looking for some classic American favorites with that signature diner hospitality, then Metro is a good choice.
Although there are plenty of great places to eat in Macon, the surrounding Middle Georgia area features some amazing food of its own. There are some off-the-beaten-path locations just outside Macon whose restaurants pack a punch above their weight class.
Whether you are a student traveling home for a weekend, or just want to get out of town, here are some restaurants that are worth taking a pit-stop for. North, south, east or west, we have you covered with these road trip worthy restaurants.
12 W Main St, Forsyth, GA 31029
In the small downtown square of Forsyth, just off I-75, there is a coffee shop and European bakery called Bluetick Mercantile. They have everything one could want to refuel on a trip: specialty coffee, house-made sweets and even salads and sandwiches.
It’s well worth it to stop by Bluetick for a delicious snack, but you can also enjoy the small market full of locally made crafts and food-related gifts inside. Bluetick is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday - Saturday.
The Taco Shed
100 GA-247, Warner Robins, GA 31088
Right next to the Museum of Aviation, Taco Shed has everything you need in a road-trip restaurant. Along with dozens of taco options, they offer hearty breakfast burritos for those early mornings on the road.
Tacos range in price from $3.59 to $5.29, but Taco Shed offers a daily special that comes with two tacos, chips and salsa and a drink for just $10.50. Taco Shed is open every day except Sunday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Kai Thai Restaurant
2600 N Columbia St # C2, Milledgeville, GA 31061
Don’t be fooled by its location. Although located in a Walmart shopping center off US-441, Kai Thai serves seriously good Thai food and sushi. Kai Thai is a small restaurant that may seem underwhelming based on appearances, but the flavor is anything but tiny.
The pad thai can be ordered as spicy as you want it, and they do not skimp on portions. The sushi is extremely high-quality for sushi in Middle Georgia. They are open every day except Sunday, but they do close from 2:30-4:30 p.m. between lunch and dinner service.
Tommy’s Bakery and Cafe
5580 Thomaston Rd #10, Macon, GA 31220
Technically, this is a Macon restaurant, but it is far out from the center of the city and located near where Mercer University Dr. crosses over I-475, which is a convenient location for traveling west of Macon. Tommy’s is a quaint, home-style cafe with antique decor.
Whether you want some food like mom used to make, or are eager to try their maple-bacon donuts, Tommy’s is sure to provide a pleasant experience. They are open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with shortened hours on Sunday.
Just like you never need a reason to travel, you never need a reason to eat good food. Sometimes it may take just a little extra time, but going a bit out of the way can lead to delicious food and a good time.
Those who attend Mercer football games or frequent Mercer Landing have probably noticed the bright lights strung up on the rooftop of a new pizzeria and sports bar that opened last summer. For those who have not seen it, Georgia-based franchise Amici opened up a new location at Mercer Landing to serve quality food to Mercer Bears and Macon residents.
As its sign says, Amici is a place for pizza, wings and friends. Along with pizza and wings, they serve pastas, salads, sandwiches and other food to snack on while watching sports.
Not only can visitors watch a game on one of the TVs, the rooftop seating gives customers the chance to watch a game with a great view of the Five Star Stadium.
The pizza tasted much fresher and more flavorful than the fast-food standards of Papa John’s or Domino’s. The crunchy and bready crust, along with quality ingredients, created an appealing pizza experience.
Photographer Peter Garcia and I tried one of the specialty pizzas, the Summer in Turin, with fresh garlic, basil, olive oil and feta cheese. The garlic flavor was present throughout, and it made us want to finish every slice, even the crust.
Not only is this location great for Mercer students and fans of Mercer Football, the rooftop area makes for a fun atmosphere where people want to take the time to enjoy eating and talking with their friends.
Garcia and I split a pizza and an appetizer, and we each paid close to $15. Although we had plenty of food for the two of us, this definitely did not qualify as a cheap-eat.
Nothing Special about the Food
As much as we enjoyed the pizza, it was of comparable quality to Sauced or Ingleside Village Pizza. The appetizer we tried, a spinach and artichoke dip, was good, but not significantly better than you could get elsewhere.
Overall, the experience of eating at Amici is what made it worth going. Their friendly staff, relaxed environment and great food made it a nice night out to eat.
That said, I cannot say that I ate anything special at Amici, and it did not offer any deal that made it particularly alluring. Still, I could see myself going back to eat, drink and spend time with friends up on the roof.
Macon has its fair share of Southern eateries and burger joints, and it also has a few spots to try food from completely different cultures. Le Pho, located on Zebulon Road, offers food entirely unlike typical American fair.
Le Pho offers a variety of Vietnamese dishes, including the satisfying soup that gives the restaurant its name: pho. Every dish plays heavily on the combination of savory meats and freshness provided by greens.
The quintessential Vietnamese food is pho, so I tried the combination noodle soup with a variety of different cuts of beef included with the noodles and broth. The hot soup and noodles left me feeling completely satisfied and surprisingly refreshed.
Junior Gabe Weber tried another Vietnamese dish, crispy pork and egg rolls over vermicelli, which are noodles made from rice. “I ate this flavorful pork that was nicely charred, marinated and super tender. The egg rolls provided a crunch and were also really satisfying,” Weber said.
Customizing Your Food
Each table at Le Pho has a combination of accouterments to make each dish exactly how the restaurant-goer wants it. They have fish sauce to make a dish a little sweeter, sriracha and chili to make it a little spicier and limes to add fresh acidity.
“For someone that has never had pho, it gave me a warm introduction to a dish. Now I’m curious about what else Vietnamese cuisine has to offer,” said sophomore Dwayne Brown, who had never tried Vietnamese food before.
After tax and tip, one bowl of pho is going to cost at least $10. “Anywhere that I pay $15 or less for a nice sit-down meal, and I leave full, is not super great, but not too bad,” Weber said. Everyone who ate with us said that they left feeling full.
Although our party of five arrived on a Sunday afternoon when the restaurant was not particularly crowded, it took quite some time before our food arrived. This is understandable for fresh food made to order, but it was nonetheless frustrating.
It should also be noted that I ordered water and a Vietnamese iced coffee, and although everyone else in our group got their drinks, I did not get water until after I got my coffee and reminded the waitress.
There is something to be said about a restaurant being able to bring another culture’s cuisine to people by offering something a little familiar, but still out of the ordinary. Le Pho does a great job of representing Vietnamese cuisine and sharing culture.
The weakness of Le Pho lies in a combination of details that make an otherwise great food experience a little less exciting, namely, okay service, an uninteresting environment and it being a little pricey. That said, they may be serving the best Vietnamese food in Macon.
Everybody loves pizza. The combination of freshly baked bread, melty cheese and savory toppings are sure to satisfy anyone’s appetite. Your Pie takes these elements and makes an individualized pizza experience that will please anyone’s palate.
The Your Pie franchise uses a fast-casual model similar to Chipotle or Subway where diners are actively involved in putting together their perfect meal. From choosing the type of dough to the toppings, eaters at Your Pie can put together their perfect pie.
I ordered my pizza with basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, artichoke hearts, chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. Photographer Peter Garcia ordered a completely different pizza and was able to have exactly the portions he wanted.
“Especially if you just want your own pizza, or if you go with a group of picky eaters, Your Pie takes the hassle out of trying to find something that works for everyone,” Garcia said.
Great Service and Atmosphere
My friends and I felt the warm atmosphere from the moment we walked in. All of the employees were polite and helpful.
Despite the place being mostly full, “The atmosphere wasn't crazy loud; there was enough space for us to talk and not hear other people’s conversation. It really promoted actually sitting down there and eating,” said junior Donald Williams, who came to eat with us.
A Little Pricey
Customization comes with a price. An individual pizza costs almost $10 after tax, which is comparable to a medium or large pizza at other pizza places.
“It’s a little on the higher side, but I feel full, so I don’t feel cheated,” Garcia said.
We were all full after our meal, and the fresh, quality ingredients felt worth the price to us.
Still Settling In
Although currently, the Your Pie in Macon is not running any specials, they are looking for ways to have special deals for the Mercer community. I spoke with one of the employees while checking out, and he wanted to know how I felt about the price as a college student.
He said that they were particularly interested in creating a Mercer special and that they are currently thinking about running a $10 pizza and beer combo, which would effectively be a free beer with a pizza.
There was nothing bad about our whole experience.
Your Pie’s unique pizza model works great for anybody, but especially college students. Garcia and Williams, who are both involved with various student organizations, said that this would be the perfect place to have student organization dinners.
Of course, Your Pie is perfect for families too. Adults and picky children (and picky adults too) can have exactly what they want. Your Pie is yet another addition to the growing downtown dining on Poplar street.
Downtown Macon recently received yet another addition to the string of restaurants popping up on Poplar Street: Famous Mike’s. With Decadent Dessert Bar gaining popularity and Your Pie getting ready to open, Mike’s is situated in an actively growing section of downtown.
Fans of Mike “Big Dog” Seekins’ old restaurant, Biscuits Burgers and More, already know about the move downtown. Seekins’ new restaurant, Famous Mike’s, brings everything that people loved about the old restaurant to a more convenient location.
Burgers are what makes Mike’s famous. Opting for a variety of simple topping combinations, Mike’s specialty burgers do not go off the path of traditional burger accouterments.
I tried a burger with mushrooms and blue cheese. The burger checked off every box that I look for in a simple burger: well seasoned, not over-cooked, melty cheese and flavorful toppings.
Photographer Peter Garcia and Junior Elizabeth Tammi, who came and ate with us, also tried the burgers. They said they were impressed by how the simple burgers turned out to be quite good.
Offering breakfast all day is definitely an attractive feature to any restaurant. Having quality breakfast makes that even better.
“My omelette was perfect,” said Sophomore Emily Bartlett. Though she ordered a simple omelette with mushrooms, she said it was cooked perfectly and was simple, but great.
A burger and a side at Mike’s costs about $10, which is close to what burger places like The Rookery or Ocmulgee Brewpub charge. Whether or not the burgers are close in quality to these other places is a matter of opinion.
Still Adjusting to New Location
When we arrived at Mike’s, there was a sign on the door saying that their card machine was broken and they could only take cash. This meant that we had to go to an ATM and then come back.
Our waitress told us that some customers had been taking home some of the paper menus, so we had to share menus. However, these are standard issues that can happen to new restaurants.
While we were eating, Mike “Big Dog” himself came over to talk to us. We were positive about our experience, and he said, “It’s going to get even better guys.” Afterward, he got into a conversation with another customer about Southern Rock.
It is clear that Mike Seekins loves what he does. He has Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead Posters on every wall of the restaurant, and I would guess he could tell a story about every one of them.
Although the food at Mike’s is great, Macon has a lot of competitive burger places. With the breakfast menu and Southern Rock theme, it reminds me of H&H Soul Food.
There is certainly enough music history and passionate chefs in Macon to warrant Mike’s, but as of now, he does not stand out from other restaurants. I will be watching Seekins to see what he does with the restaurant next.
Donuts, cheeseburgers and biscuits are all comfort foods that are warm and filling even in their simplest form. Tommy’s Bakery and Cafe takes simple foods like these and takes them to just the right level of interesting without becoming overly complicated or expensive.
Tommy’s serves items like maple bacon donuts, burgers topped with fried jalapenos or pimento cheese and buttermilk biscuits topped with any combination of breakfast staples. Everything evokes homestyle meals, but the food is undeniably restaurant quality.
Their special maple bacon donuts are yeasty and soft, with a maple glaze and chunks of bacon. It strikes a perfect balance between sweet and savory with just enough salt to round out the flavors.
Full breakfast plates only run for $6.99, which makes purchasing an incredible $1.99 specialty donut more alluring. A burger runs for $10.99 with a side and a drink, compared to the Rookery which costs $11 for just the burger and a side.
At Tommy’s, you get to experience Southern hospitality at its best. Their staff is friendly and talkative, but that does not get in the way of quick and efficient service.
Unfortunately, Macon is so spread out that some great restaurants are out of the way for some. Tommy’s Bakery is only 12 minutes down Mercer University Drive from Mercer’s campus, and it is well worth the drive.
“It’s got a quaint atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re eating breakfast at home with your family,” said junior Caroline Kittrell.
The only critique I have for Tommy’s is that I could not eat there more often than I do without putting on weight. Tommy’s has no pretense about serving a variety of healthy options, though they do have salads and fruit for those who are inclined.
Everything at Tommy’s Bakery and Cafe tastes like it is made with love. The hometown-diner feel to the place makes spending time there all the more pleasant.
Tommy has taken good food and made it just a little better without verging on pretension. A great spot for breakfast, lunch or a sweet treat, Tommy’s Bakery is a place that every Macon resident should know.
The only thing that can make a great meal better is a great dessert. A new fast-casual dessert place has recently opened up in downtown Macon, and it has plenty of desserts.
Decadent Dessert Bar is a small franchise whose newest location is on 530 Poplar Street. Not just a bakery, Decadent offers everything from ice creams to cake to specialty dessert skillets.
As expected, the desserts were well-received by myself and those who tried Decadent with me. We tried the S'mores Skillet, made fresh and served warm with marshmallows halfway melting over the hot cookie.
“This dessert is the perfect reward for making an A on my psych exam,” said Junior Haleigh Smith.
The desserts can also be used for making oneself feel better after not doing so well on an exam.
With options ranging from specialty coffee to cannolis, everyone can find something that they like.
Junior Erica Duncan said she tried a blueberry cake because she wanted something with a lighter flavor. She praised the cake’s moist texture above all else.
Deliciousness comes at a price. Though the price of the desserts ranges from around $3 to $8, they often are slightly on the higher side of price compared to buying store-bought ice cream or pastries from a coffee shop.
That said, variety and quality are beyond what one could find at the grocery store.
“My milkshake was good, and I had never seen cannoli ice cream before, let alone a cannoli milkshake,” said photographer Peter Garcia.
Decadent has a clear role: providing great desserts to Macon. It does an excellent job of fulfilling its role, and I expect it will turn into a popular downtown spot.
J. Christopher's is a small chain based out of Atlanta with a location just off Bass Road here in Macon, Ga.
Serving only breakfast and lunch, J. Christopher's strikes a unique balance between cheap diner breakfast and a pricy brunch meal.
Though their menu is huge, everything at J. Christopher’s is tasty. I tried the sausage and gravy skillet, which came piled on a small cast iron skillet. It was hearty and filling.
Junior Elizabeth Daniels tried something from the lunch side of the menu, a buffalo chicken quesadilla.
“That was a really, really good quesadilla,” Daniels said.
Photographer Peter Garcia tried something on the sweeter side and had banana nut bread french toast. The french toast was sweet without being overly sugary, and the texture of nuts came through with each bite, he said.
J. Christopher's is lined from wall to wall with portraits of famous actors, Andy Warhol re-creations and more. Each table is set with multi-colored, mismatched mugs.
“It feels homey, with the eclectic mugs and artwork,” Garcia said. The comfortable feeling is enhanced by good service and constant refills on coffee.
Most items on the menu are around $10, give or take depending on how hungry you are. The portions of the items vary greatly.
My skillet and Daniel’s quesadilla were big enough to take home leftovers, but Garcia’s french toast was closer to the size of a large dessert, even though they were all around the same price.
As is the case with many of North Macon’s great dining options, J. Christopher’s is out of the way for most Mercer students.
Despite its distance away, J. Christopher’s is well worth the drive. Once you get there, it is easy to spend a little while sitting and talking with friends while enjoying mug after mug of coffee.
The food is all around good, and the menu is large enough to please anyone. J. Christopher’s is just a great weekend brunch spot to relax and enjoy without paying too much.
When I think of food in Middle Georgia, I think about burgers and peach cobbler, not shawarma and baklava. Nonetheless, there is a relatively new restaurant in North Macon that brings a variety of Mediterranean foods as a change from typical American fare.
Medi’s Mediterranean Fusion, self-described as the “Healthiest Mediterranean food in all of Georgia,” opened earlier in the summer of this year. With a variety of fresh sandwich and side options, there is a variety of options to try.
The highlight of the meal was easily baklava. With photographer Peter Garcia and sophomore Michal Pacholczyk, we tried a classic walnut baklava, an almond and rosewater baklava square, and a cashew baklava roll.
“I would say the baklava was definitely my favorite part,” Garcia said.
The Customer Service
When we walked up to the counter, the woman taking orders explained all of the different options, making sure we understood what everything was. Later, when we looked at the desserts, she explained what ingredients were in everything.
The other people working in the little restaurant were polite but not overly chatty. They made sure we were taken care of and were happy to let us pay after eating in case we decided to get dessert (which we could not refuse).
For $6.95, the shawarma wrap I tried was pretty good. It was hot and filling, and it is not something that I have very often.
“The meat was good, the tzatziki was great, but it could have used a little more seasoning,” said Pacholczyk.
Everyone at the table agreed that our sandwiches and the babaganoush we tried were good but lacking a little flavor. Everything we tried conveyed freshness and simplicity, but it lacked some punch.
Located on 1687 Bass Road Macon, Georgia 31210, Medi’s is a bit out of the way for Mercer students and those who do not travel around North Macon often.
Though the fresh, straightforward food was a nice experience, I found myself somewhat underwhelmed in terms of flavor. Nothing quite grabbed me to the point that I would make the drive back.
I like what the people at Medi’s are providing for Macon, and at their reasonable price point, it would not be a bad option were it in a more convenient location. Overall, I would say it is at least worth trying for those looking for Mediterranean flare.
With the recent grand opening of Z-Beans Coffee, which is only a walk across campus, Mercer coffee lovers have had plenty to be excited about.
All of this excitement over Z-Beans overshadowed the opening of another coffee shop, which although is farther away, should still be worthy of serious attention.
Cathedral Coffee is a coffee shop located on Zebulon Road, attached to Northway Church. Although the cafe is partnering with Northway, its focus is to serve high-quality coffee and provide a peaceful workplace.
You do not need to have any religious affiliation to eat and drink at Cathedral any more than you would need to eat at Chick-fil-A. The restaurant does have faith-based values, but their expression of the values is only in providing a place for good coffee and community.
Although I enjoy a nice interior or some funky aesthetic, rarely do I feel completely taken to another place. In Cathedral Coffee, I cannot help but feel a little out of this world, yet I am comfortable and inspired.
Whereas Z-Beans combines elements of industrial, farm-to-table and classic cafe tropes, Cathedral plays heavily on Christian architecture. From a beautiful stained-glass window to massive archways, it simulates the experience of drinking coffee in a Cathedral.
“[It felt like an] old world environment in the best way. I love seeing the exposed arches,” said photographer Peter Garcia. As we ate and spoke, Garcia would often look up from his coffee and glance at the lofty designs around us.
The coffee is comparable both in quality and price to Z-Beans. They have a large assortment of coffee drinks, along with various cafe offering such as hot chocolate.
“The hot chocolate was popping. By that, I mean it was really sugary,” said freshman Cameron Wade. Wade continued to explain that he enjoyed the fully sweet chocolate flavor.
Open Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., this location could easily be the perfect place for an all-day study session. Free wifi, plenty of seating and the relaxing atmosphere reinforce that point.
I tried the roast beef and gouda sandwich with their soup special, a chili. The food was nothing to write home about. It was perfectly fine cafe food, but not somewhere I would go just for food.
They also serve a variety of sweets that I did not try; however, they did look delicious.
Although Zebulon is only a 15-minute drive away, 15 minutes seems like a long time compared to the five-minute walk to Z-Beans for those living on Mercer’s campus.
“We are here for everyone who wants premium coffee, outstanding service and a relaxing atmosphere,” according to the coffee shop’s website. I found that they delivered on that promise.
When Z-Beans gets too crowded close to exam time, I could see Cathedral being an excellent alternative. Besides, for those who drink coffee like I do, there can never be enough coffee shops.
Macon Burger Week was an event that brought people out to local restaurants by offering specialty burgers for only $5. Fifteen different restaurants participated in the event, so there were 15 different burgers to try.
I ate all 15 of the burgers in one week. It was a difficult challenge, but I was up to the task. Eating out twice a day in Macon for a week straight gave me some new perspectives.
I try to cook at home as much as possible to save money, and because I enjoy cooking. When I do eat out, it is normally at one of my favorite places, or to try something new.
I have been reviewing Macon restaurants for two years now, and too often when I try new things, I find myself feeling like I overspent or could have eaten better at home. I love Macon and its restaurants, but it can be hard to find a reasonably priced place with good food.
Macon Burger Week was the complete opposite. All of the burgers were creative and filling meals, any of which could earn a spot on its restaurant’s normal menu. At only $5 each, it was not hard to convince friends to go out and try a burger with me.
When you eat great food with great company and do not break your wallet, you experience the reason why eating out can be so great. It is simply a fun, wholesome experience, leaving you feeling nourished physically and socially.
Seeing crowds coming out to both popular downtown restaurants and off-the-beaten-path hidden gems reminded me that Macon is a city reviving its culture. This event gave small businesses well-needed exposure, Maconites a fun reason to get out and me a challenge to conquer.
Alright, so what about the question that everyone is wondering: which burger was the best? Well, I’m not the type to keep score, and it is too difficult to organize the burgers into a list. I do have, however, my Macon Burger Week tier list, which is as close to ranking as I will give.
Summa Cum Laude
These burgers graduated at the top of their class. These masterpieces of burger creation demonstrated innovation and passion. I will not forget these burgers anytime soon. They will be missed.
H&H Restaurant - Meatloaf Breakfast Burger
Parish On Cherry - Southern Delight Burger
Tommy's Bakery and Cafe - Tommy's Donut Burger
El Camino - Quesadilla Burger
Magna Cum Laude
Close to the very best, these burgers were of superb quality. They are absolutely delicious; I wish I could get these throughout the year. They have earned a distinguished position right below the top tier.
Grey Goose Player's Club - The Hole In One
Growler USA - Bulgogi Cucumber Burger
The Rookery - The Truffle Shuffle
Fatty's - Fatty Mac Burger
Ocmulgee Brewpub - The Juliette
Graduating with honors, these burgers went beyond your normal specialty burger. They delivered on flavor and creativity. These truly great burgers earn a special distinction.
Bearfoot Tavern - El Gringo
FOJ An Eatery - Fiery Southern Pimento Cheese Burger
Felicia's Cake Factory - Felicia's Sweet Burger
Steve's Steak and Seafood - O Baby Burger
These burgers were good burgers. I enjoyed my experience with these and would eat them again. In the competitive burger scene, even the lowest tier burgers are deserving of respect.
Spud Dogs - Cap'n 'Shrooms Gravy Burger
Greek Corner Pizza - The Greek God
Burger Week may be over for now, but it will be back in a year. I look forward to seeing how this annual event will expand and how restaurants will continue to push burgers to the next level. Thanks to the Georgia Beef Board and all the participating restaurants for an amazing week. For a full description of the burgers, check out maconburgerweek.com.
Food, at the end of the day, does not depend on ornaments and circumstance to make it great. Sometimes, the best food is that which is unpretentious, tasty and affordable. Ricky’s Tacos is a reminder of that.
Ricky’s Tacos,which consists of a couple of small buildings and two picnic tables located on 3717 Mercer University Drive, is a place where the food speaks for itself. It’s just plain great.
I ordered one of each of their tacos, including a chorizo taco that is not on their regular menu. The tacos were served on two small, soft tortillas with just meat, onions, salsa and cilantro, with lime and radish on the side.
The tacos were everything I could ever ask for in a taco. The meat was tasty and flavorful, the salsa and cilantro gave it a freshness, and the texture from the radish just brought it all together.
Photographer Peter Garcia ordered the special “Ricky’s Burrito,” which is about the size of a small baby. Not only did he think that the burrito was tasty, but he also had enough to take home and eat later.
Everything on the menu is inexpensive. Four tacos only cost around $10, and they were also very generous portions for tacos. The burritos are under $10, and one could certainly make two meals out of one burrito.
“The prices were definitely affordable and worth the money for the great flavor and portion of food served,” Garcia said.
Personally, I do not mind sitting out on the picnic tables, and I look forward to swinging by Ricky’s to grab some tacos to-go so that I can eat them in my dorm or at the park.
Some, however, might be turned off by some of Ricky’s more rustic charms, like the limited seating, only having bottled drinks or having to order at a window. Others may enjoy the ability to quickly get the food through the drive-thru.
“The quick service makes it very convenient for a quick to-go bite or for someone in a hurry,” Garcia said.
The only bad thing I have to say is that Ricky’s is not always open during the hours posted, but that may just be a result of being new.
Those searching for an exceptionally good deal on great tacos need look no further. Just a ride down Mercer University Drive will take you to a place where taco dreams come true.
Macon, Georgia is full of restaurants serving foods from different cultures, from street tacos to sushi. While these restaurants vary in authenticity, there are certainly enough options to create genuine competition. One contender for the best hibachi and sushi is the restaurant Sumo.
On 3850 Riverside Drive, Sumo Steak & Sushi is, at its core, a fairly usual hibachi place. What might distinguish Sumo is an all-around high-quality experience, although the price is slightly above average.
Rarely do I actually consider service when evaluating a restaurant, but this was an exception. The staff at Sumo was accommodating without being annoying, which was especially appreciated considering that photographer Peter Garcia and I were the only ones at our hibachi grill.
Despite being the only ones there, our hibachi chef was engaging but not intrusive. His performance was fun, and it made supper seem like more of an occasion than an obligation.
The walls of Sumo’s interior were decorated in green giraffe print, and there was neon purple lighting coming from portholes on one wall. “The interior design might strike some as odd,” Garcia said. But overall, it felt casual and fun.
True for any good hibachi restaurant, there was more food than can be eaten in one sitting unless you are extremely hungry.
We tried one of the specialty sushi rolls, and I was impressed by the high quality. I would certainly try more of their sushi, although not regularly, as a higher price accompanies the higher quality.
Both Garcia and I had a hibachi meal and were not disappointed. Besides saying that the food is the same as any hibachi, it seemed notably fresher and not greasy. Still, there was not anything groundbreaking.
The Dinner Price
Let me be clear, the lunch price is significantly less and probably a much better deal. The dinner price, however, is fairly hefty. Any hibachi meal with meat costs at least $17, and any two-meat combination costs at least $21.
While I did enjoy my supper at Sumo, and I cannot deny it was a great dining experience, the price per quality of my meal was simply average.
“The hibachi experience was entertaining, like any other hibachi restaurant out there. The prices were reasonable for both the experience and quality of the food served,” Garcia said.
Sumo does have a large menu that could potentially have meals of a much better deal, so there is certainly some potential for value. Overall though, Sumo may be one of the better, if not the best hibachi restaurants in Macon, but it has a price to match.
As much as I enjoy eating out in Macon, there are some restaurants in nearby towns that I just cannot help but try. Such was the case when I heard about the opening of a new family-style Italian restaurant opening up in Forsyth.
At 22 W. Main St. in Forsyth, Georgia, Minori’s Italian Ristorante is serving high-quality Italian dishes in an upscale but comfortable environment.
“Minori’s atmosphere made for a casual and comforting dining experience while still maintaining a classy feel,” said photographer Peter Garcia.
I tried the lunch special, eggplant parmesan. A generous portion of fried eggplant was served with tomato sauce and plenty of melted cheese over spaghetti noodles. The eggplant and sauce were incredibly flavorful, and the noodles were cooked perfectly.
Garcia had the chicken alfredo, and he had high praises for the sauce.
The Lunch Price
Each of our entrees was under $10, making the entrees alone a perfectly fine deal for a nice lunch. On top of that, our meals came with salads, and our pasta dishes were served with large pieces of focaccia bread on the side.
“The lunch menu offered a variety of quality dishes for an economical price with little difference
in price for dinner portions. The lunch portions are sure to satisfy any appetite,” Garcia said, and I certainly agree.
The Mozzarella Sticks
Advertised as Mozzarella di Fritto, this antipasto was simply some slightly above average mozzarella sticks. Nothing wrong with that, but I probably would not order them again.
To get to Forsyth from Macon takes almost 30 minutes, so although it could be a great lunch place, it is out of the way for those who live, go to school or work in Macon.
“The only downside to Minori’s is that it is located in Forsyth, which, in reality, is not too far away. Some people may not want to make the drive, but Minori’s is worth trying if they are in the area,” Garcia said.
It is so rare to find a restaurant that checks all the boxes of being affordable, filling and delicious. Minori’s receives top marks in each of the categories.
The only thing keeping me from making Minori’s my go-to nice sit-down lunch place is that it is so far away. Certainly, though, I will keep it in mind, and I look forward to potentially going back for lunch, or to try what I am sure is an excellent dinner.
Mercer Landing has attracted new restaurants as well as local and national chains. For Mercer students, especially those living at the Lofts at Mercer Landing, restaurants in this prime location are always appealing.
One such restaurant is the small chain Momma Goldberg’s Deli. Momma G’s has a menu full of a variety of deli sandwiches, as well as their famous nachos.
The Groupon Deal
All the sandwiches at Momma G’s are normally $6. With Groupon, that price gets cut in half, so for only $3, one can get any sandwich on the menu.
“The Groupon deal made it worth it to me,” said Peter Garcia, photographer.
The “famous” nachos were actually just Doritos covered with cheese and peppers. The best way I can describe the nachos is that they taste exactly like how they look.
We certainly did not let the nachos go to waste, but for their price, it is hard to say that they were worth it.
The sandwiches had steamed meat, which although had a nice texture, the overall quality and flavor was only fair.
I thought my sandwich had way too much mayonnaise, and sophomore David Stokes’ sandwich was made with chicken when he asked for beef.
The Price (without Groupon)
If the Groupon deal were out of the picture, it costs about $10 to get a sandwich plus chips and a drink.
“The food is better than Which Wich, but that’s not saying much, and I would rather spend my meal plan dining dollars on Which Wich than pay real money for this,” said sophomore James Smith.
Overall, our experience at Momma Goldberg’s can be summed up in Stokes’s words, “It was uninspiring.” Everything you could get there you could get better quality somewhere else, or even making sandwiches at home.
Although there is some merit to a simple restaurant that makes simple food for a fair price, I see little to no reason to go to Momma G’s other than the Groupon deal.
One of the greatest struggles of eating out for me as a college student is trying to find some place that is affordable, health conscious and also actually tastes good. Unfortunately, I often opt to sacrifice on the health conscious part when I am eating out.
Finally, I do not have to make that sacrifice. The Green Plate, located at 440 MLK Blvd, Suite 103, is a new restaurant offering build-your-own salads, sandwiches and wraps.
Ordering at The Green Plate means filling out a sheet of paper with a list of toppings, so you can create exactly what you want. That means you can be as healthy as you want.
They have all kinds of healthy ingredients such as kale, cucumbers, berries, whole wheat bread, turkey bacon, walnuts and more. And if you are looking to splurge, they also have ingredients like grilled steak or mozzarella cheese.
Although they are only open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, they have a happy hour with discounted wraps on weekdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
For just $3 you can get a grilled chicken wrap, with as many toppings as you want. The wraps are not quite as big as a large burrito, but they are still a sizable and filling meal, especially with all the toppings.
The salad that I had was far better than an average cafeteria salad. Every ingredient tasted fresh. Although a salad can only get so complex, each ingredient was of such high quality that I could eat a salad there every day and not get bored.
To-go and Delivery
As if great fresh and healthy food are not appealing enough to go sit down and eat, The Green Plate offers delivery or to-go. The salads to-go are packaged in mason jars, which is a nice touch.
The Green Plate is not a full-service restaurant. You order at the counter and pick up your food, which is packaged in styrofoam boxes.
When photographer Peter Garcia and I went to eat around 3:30 p.m. for the wrap happy hour, we were the only people there, which felt awkward.
Also, the decorations were sparse, and overall it felt as though they had not quite figured out what they are going to do with the interior.
Poor Sit-Down Experience
The Green Plate still needs to work on their restaurant identity. There are some things, like not having drink options other than bottled drinks, which makes it feel only geared toward to-go orders.
Still, they have a nice location downtown, and there is certainly potential to create a more enjoyable sit-down experience. As of now though, I would probably only order to-go.
Quite frankly, I was shocked by how good the food at Green Plate was. Regarding healthy eating on a budget in Macon, it might just be the very best.
Nonetheless, at the end of the day, the restaurant is limited in scope and still needs to figure out exactly what it wants to be before it becomes a legitimate downtown dining option.
Since the completion of the Lofts at Mercer Landing, new restaurants have been seizing the opportunity to open in a location convenient to both students living in the lofts and those who do not mind the short walk from the Mercer football stadium. One of the newest additions is Osaka Hibachi and Sushi.
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Osaka offers a range of Japanese and Asian-American foods in a casual environment. Whether one chooses to sit down and eat inside the small seating area or take out to eat back home, Osaka is a convenient place for Mercerians to fill their Asian cravings.
Although, as the name suggests, the main food items at Osaka are Hibachi and Sushi, there are also plenty of other options, such as soup, noodles and strangely enough, chicken nuggets.
Between Jittery Joe’s, Margaritas and Sauced, Mercer Village is the place to eat for Mercer students. That said, Mercer Landing is beginning to become competitive with all the new restaurants opening up.
Osaka is certainly within walking distance of anywhere on Mercer’s campus, and it is right across the street from Five Star Stadium. The location is as convenient as it gets. The address for Osaka is 1530 Mercer University Drive.
Do not go into Osaka expecting a full-service dining experience. You have to order what you want at the counter, and you must bus your own table.
“I was a bit confused when I first walked in. I did not know where to go, and I did not know we had to bus our own dishes because they brought out plates,” said photographer Peter Garcia.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with this system, especially considering that they will bring the food to wherever you are sitting, and the food came out extremely fast.
“I feel like it worked. Because of its small size, bussing my own dishes was easy, and I like that you can leave on your own terms,” said sophomore Ethan Thompson.
I ordered a specialty sushi roll, that was not entirely deep fried but instead topped with fried salmon, so overall it had a mixed flavor of fresh and cooked fish. I thought the quality of the fish was average.
My roommate Mathew Boldan tried the Hibachi, and he thought it was average, although fairly pricey.
Although there was nothing that I thought was completely bad about Osaka, there was nothing memorable about the experience.
For me, the greatest thing about Osaka is the convenience. The ability to get decent sushi without needing to drive is great, and I am sure other Mercer students feel the same way.
Convenience notwithstanding, Osaka is overall an average Asian restaurant with a large menu of good food items. This restaurant may become the hibachi and sushi place for Mercer students, and to that extent, it has found a great niche.
In a bittersweet moment for Macon restaurant goers, the long-awaited return of Ginger Stir Fry was cut short by the restaurant being bought out by new owners. Ginger is officially closed, and taking its place is Oliver’s Corner Bistro.
In the heart of downtown, the same avenue with established favorites like Ocmulgee Brewpub and Bearfoot Tavern, Oliver’s attempts to distinguish itself from its competitors with an affordable and casual upscale dining experience.
Photographer Peter Garcia ordered the Reuben sandwich. For only $10, this sandwich and side dinner packs in as much value as possible.
“[It was] leaps and bounds better than an average Reuben. It was warm, it had a nice mixture of flavors with the sauerkraut, and the meat was really high quality,” Garcia said.
As a side, Garcia ordered the mac n’ cheese, which was made with a smoky Gouda cheese sauce. Garcia reported that the only reason he was able to finish the mac n’ cheese after eating such a huge sandwich was because the flavor of the cheese sauce was so incredible.
Freshman Emily Bartlett ordered the Nightly Ravioli Special, which was stuffed with shrimp that night. The plate of ravioli was smaller than expected. It had only five shells total, and although the pasta was of excellent quality, the portion size was lacking.
“It needed to be about twice that size,” Bartlett said.
The Appetizers and Dessert
We ordered the sweet frites as an appetizer, which was a plate of sweet potato fries topped with a blue cheese cream cheese and balsamic vinegar. Although the flavor was interesting, paying $7 for what was essentially fancy sweet potato fries felt like too much.
For dessert, we tried the chocolate cake, as a simple chocolate cake is often a good indicator of the overall quality of a restaurant. The cake was certainly above average, but was not mindblowing. Still, not a crumb of cake was left, so I would say it was a nice ending to the meal.
Oliver’s is a brand new restaurant, so although I thought the service was bad, keep in mind that service is easier to improve upon than bad food.
I ordered immediately after Garcia, and I tried to order the Risotto. I was surprised when the server asked me what side I wanted, but nonetheless, I ordered the orzo salad.
When I got my food, I realized the reason I got a side is because she also put me down for a Reuben instead of Risotto. This could have easily been prevented by the server making sure she got the order correct.
Honestly, I was disappointed to find that Ginger was closing indefinitely. That said, I must give Oliver’s credit where credit is due.
The sandwiches and sides are superb quality for their price; they might even be one of the best value deals in Macon. I cannot say the same for the evening entrees, at least in the case of the ravioli.
My experience at Oliver’s wasn’t perfect; nonetheless but I had some fantastic food that evening, and I expect that with the direction it is headed, Oliver’s will only get better.