ATHENS, GA (January 7, 2019) – There will be more to love in Athens, Georgia, in 2019. The community will experience continued expansion in the brewery, dining and hotel segments of the hospitality industry, as well as new entertainment and recreation opportunities. The city’s mix of preservation and constant renewal allows visitors to revisit favorite spots and experience new restaurants and attractions that keep every visit to Athens exciting.
Hotel Boom Continues in Athens: The opening of the 130-room Homewood Suites in late November 2018 brings the total of new hotel rooms in downtown Athens to 1,791. Downtown Athens added 576 hotel rooms in a 12-month period, resulting in a 47 percent increase in downtown hotel inventory and a 25 percent increase county-wide. Additionally, the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Athens is currently undergoing renovations and is set to reopen in July 2019.
FOOD AND DRINK
Condor Chocolates Tour: Chocolate lovers can rejoice! The bean-to-bar chocolate factory and café have begun offering public tours on the third Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. Tours last around an hour and start in the seated Studio 1 room where tour guests will learn the history and background, then proceed through the working factory to see the process of the bean-to-bar chocolate. The tour ends back in Studio 1 for a sampling and tasting of the different chocolates. Tours cost $15/person and can be booked in advance via the Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/condor-chocolates-factory-tour-2019-tickets-53656399736
Alumni Cookie Dough: Alumni Cookie Dough is bringing more sweetness to Athens in the form of edible cookie dough. This café will open its doors in early 2019 in downtown Athens on Thomas St. between Hyatt Place and 1000 Faces Coffee. The owners, Mike and Jennifer Dollander are graduates of the University of Georgia and have dreamt of starting their own business. The cookie dough is made with pasteurized eggs and heated flour, which kills the bacteria making the cookie dough safe to eat. The café will also serve milkshakes, ice cream and other delicious sweet treats. For more information, visit: https://www.alumnicookiedough.com/
I Heart Mac and Cheese: The fast-casual concept restaurant specializing in customizable, made-to-order macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches is coming to downtown Athens near The Mark in spring 2019. The menu combines the creativity of award-winning recipes resulting in a grown-up approach to this classic childhood dish. For information, visit: https://www.iheartmacandcheese.com/
Half Shepherd Market & Cheese Shop: Fritz Gibson’s new cheese shop and market opened in Athens on December 1, 2018. The neighborhood market, located in Normaltown on Prince Avenue, provides prepared foods, cut-to-order cheese and charcuterie and high-quality versions of everyday pantry staples. The shop serves made-to-order sandwiches, salads and soups at lunch as well as retail beer and wine. For more information, visit https://www.halfshepherd.com/
Athentic Brewing: Long-time friends Paul Skinner and Mark Johnson are bringing Athentic Brewing Company to Athens. Located in the heart of Athens’ Normaltown neighborhood, the new brewery is defined by its small batch handcrafted beers that are both unique and easy drinking. The vibe of the onsite tasting room will be “cozy industrial” with a variety of seating options including inside, outside covered patio and outside uncovered patio. The centerpiece of the tasting room will be the self-serve beer wall with 12 taps of Athentic Beer allowing customers to pour by the ounce without standing in long lines. Set to open in mid-2019, on site food trucks and nearby restaurants will make it easy for pairing delicious local food with Athentic beer. For more information, visit: https://athenticbrewing.com/0
Creature Comforts Brewing Company: After celebrating the opening of its second faculty in mid-2018, the brewery will celebrate its fifth anniversary on April 13, 2019 with live music, a food truck, plenty of beer, and much more. Their “Get Comfortable” 2019 campaign, a year-round flagship community impact program, will launch on February 6. The program partners with local nonprofits each year that are addressing the community’s most pressing needs and raises funds alongside other businesses throughout the year. The 2018 campaign wrapped in November generating $290,121 for the Athens community. More information can be found at www.GetCurious.com.
Moonlight Theater Company: The Moonlight Theater Company is going to bring more laughs and joy to the Athens community. The international comedy venue and theater school was founded by Athens native Chase Brantley and plans to bring international and domestic acts to Athens. The company will also offer an educational theater program to serve the local community. The theater is located at Leather’s Building off Pulaski street in suite 1400, but will have its grand opening at Morton Theater on January 5. For more information, visit: https://www.moonlighttheatercompany.com/about
State Botanical Garden of Georgia: The Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden is set to open in March 2019 and is expected to draw 50, 000 visitors a year. The garden will be a destination for children to learn more about Georgia’s natural resources as they plant, climb and explore the two-and-a-half-acre land. From climbing walls, to the fossils of a mastodon—the ancient ancestor of the mammoth—to musical instruments resembling mushrooms and a tree house in the canopy, the children’s garden will teleport children into a whimsical world where nature inspires and delights. For more information, visit http://botgarden.uga.edu/education-childrens-garden/
Additional restaurants set to open in 2019 include: Uncle Ernie’s Grub and Pub, Chuck’s Fish and Lumber Jaxe.