Located about an hour from Atlanta, Georgia, the college town of Athens – home to the University of Georgia – features some of the best dining experiences available. Its restaurants and bars cover a wide range of diverse cuisines and cultures, and the city is well worth a visit. Among the 20 best places to eat in Athens, as compiled by Thrillist.com, is Kelly’s Jamaican Foods.
Kelly’s Jamaican Foods, which has two locations in Athens, offers a unique dining experience and has been one of the go-to restaurants in the area for more than two decades. The eatery features traditional, classic island dishes, including Jerk Chicken, Grilled Salmon, Oxtail, and Curry Goat. These are served along with a variety of popular Jamaican sides like Mac and Cheese, Spicy Cabbage, and Plantains. Diners visiting either the location on Lumpkin Street or on Epps Bridge Road on the Westside will have a hard time deciding from among the many appealing menu options. The specials, which are available only on certain days, include meat and two side dishes, with tea and cornbread included. Kelly’s also offers catering services.
The chef, Kelbourne “Kelly” Codling, was born in Rock Spring, Jamaica, and helped his parents on their family farm to make sure no one in the neighborhood went hungry. His cooking style and techniques are based on the traditional Jamaican methods he learned from his grandmother. Chef Kelly’s approach does not include measuring out ingredients; instead, he believes the seasoning stops when the food tastes right. His philosophy of customer service is equally down-to-earth. He believes that if you “treat people good” then “good’ll come back to you.” This is the philosophy that has helped him run his two restaurants in Athens for more than 20 years.
The other Athens restaurants listed in Thrillist.com’s “20 Best” include The Place, El Barrio, The Expat, The Table Bistro, Home Made Catering, South Kitchen & Bar, The National, Last Resort Grill, Mama’s Boy, Pulaski Heights BBQ, Georgia Theatre Rooftop Bar, Five & Ten, Trappeze Pub, The Grit, The World Famous, Creature Comforts Brewing Co., Seabear Oyster Bar, Cali N Tito’s, and Pauley’s Original Crepe Bar.