SEC sports are back. Add some excitement as Gamecock teams start their seasons and take a day (or two) to follow the Gamecocks to Athens, Gainesville and Knoxville. The Daily Gamecock has dinner plans covered. Here are the essential restaurants to visit in nearby SEC towns.
When watching the Gamecocks take on the Bulldogs, visit The Grill, a '50s style diner that has served burgers, fries and milkshakes since 1981.
“I think if we are talking quintessential [restaurants], it would have to be The Grill in downtown Athens,” Katie Fugett, special publications coordinator at the Red and Black, said. “That's a really, really popular one on game days; I mean, downtown is walking distance from the stadium.”
For a new take on a classic crêperie check out Pauley’s Crepe Bar.
“They have, like, savory and sweet crepes, and it's also, like, a bar so it's just always super rowdy on game days,” Nimra Ahmad, the culture editor at the Red and Black, said
You heard that right— a rowdy creperie is the place to be on game days.
“It's kind of a fun experience to go and sort of see what's going on because it's a very nice place but obviously everybody's, you know, dressed up in red and black,” Ahmad said.
For a taste of Athens' legendary music scene — the town that produced the Drive-by Truckers, R.E.M. and the B-52s — head to the 40 Watt Club. A place where, according to Ahmad, one can “feel the history.”
“It's a great bar — it's a great place to stop by, definitely more so in terms of music,” Ahmad said. “Everybody wants to play at the 40 Watt. If you're a band in Athens, that's the goal.”
Gamecock legend Steve Spurrier, who is also notable for his time with University of Florida, has a new restaurant in Gainesville.
“[Spurrier’s Gridiron Grill], it's kind of a haven for, like, football nuts, but it's a little more upscale,” Ryan Haley, the sports Editor at the Independent Florida Alligator, said.
For any fan of the HBC, Spurrier’s restaurant will serve as a trip down memory lane as the restaurant recounts some of the highlights of his career.
“Florida fans probably have to go there at least once, and South Carolina fans who are in town for like a full weekend, it probably makes sense to make a night out of that,” Haley said. “But it's not necessarily somewhere you can stroll into after spending four hours at a football game wearing the same clothes you were wearing.”
For a UF institution, visit Satchel’s Pizza. According to Haley, if one asked students on UF’s campus, the restaurant they would recommend is Satchel's Pizza.
The most famous hamburger in Knoxville may be at Litton’s Market, according to Ryan Schumpert, beat writer for Rocky Top Insider and former sports editor of the Daily Beacon.
“It's got a lot of old timey kind of Tennessee stuff there, and Peyton Manning used to go there all the time,” Schumpert said. “You've got autographs from him, Bruce Pearl, Rick Barnes, you know, a lot of specific Tennessee stuff, and they're really good at burgers.”
Road trips can be about embracing one's identity as a fan. For a place to proudly wear Garnet and Black, Schumpert recommends Gus’s Deli.
“You know, you're on the road, you want to be the bad guy a little bit," Schumpert said. "That's a place that is really famous among old, former students, and it will be ‘poppin’ on game day.”
After a big Gamecocks win, a celebratory steak dinner may be in order.
“Ye Olde Steakhouse is a really good steakhouse," Schumpert said. "It's not quite as fancy as, you know, you typically would think of a steakhouse, but really good steaks; nicer sit down meal.