A way to get around this is to go to your favorite restaurants for lunch. I was just at Basil Press on Friday, and had an amazing lunch for $6.95, complete with leftovers. There are a lot of places like this downtown that have the same or similar menus for lunch and dinner, but everything at lunch is half the price as it is for dinner. Besides Basil Press, some of my favorite lunch places in Athens are Last Resort, East West Bistro, and DePalma's. When I go to any of these places, I still feel like I'm treating myself to a nice lunch, but I don't break the bank.
If you are visiting Athens, don't be turned away by the expensive-looking restaurants downtown. Check out the menus, peek in to see what the atmosphere is like. Pretty much anywhere you go, you will have a great experience and an affordable meal.