ATLGuide

Where To Eat Near Georgia Tech

The buzz around town is that everything from great pizza to donuts can be found in the Yellow Jackets’ backyard.
Where To Eat Near Georgia Tech image

photo credit: Sarah Newman

At any given moment, the corner of Spring and 5th Street can be filled with Georgia Tech students, Midtown office workers trying to squeeze in their daily steps, or out-of-towners getting turned around on their scooters. But no matter what brings them near the campus, it's the aroma from nearby kitchens that might keep ’em there. From Mexican to Mediterranean, these are some of the dining options near the school that earn the highest honors.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Sarah Newman

Pizza

Midtown

$$$$Perfect For:Quick Eats
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Frozen pizza should no longer define the college years, especially when there are places like Atwoods, which comes through with quick, filling, affordable pies that taste flavorful and fresh. This small pizzeria and pasta stop is glaringly void of any glitz once associated with the 5th Street Biltmore building in which it sits. Instead, a few murals with subtle nods to pop culture, Georgia Tech flags, and giant bags of Caputo 00 flour accessorize the speedy, counter service operation. No white glove service necessary to hand over delicious hand-breaded mozzarella sticks. Instead, just listen out for your name over the easy rock tunes, then pick up your cheese sticks along with a solid mushroom pizza, which comes topped with fresh mozzarella and a sweet truffle balsamic drizzle.

During lunchtime hours, you'll have to be quick on your feet to scoop up a table at Hankook Taqueria. But the effort is worth it since their delicious Mexican-Korean mash-up is one of the most inventive taco plays in the city. The crispy shrimp option that's topped with a hoisin tartar and Korean barbecue sauce sounds busy, but the flavors come together brilliantly. And while the buffalo chicken taco might only pop up on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the semi-spicy meat wrapped in the warm tortilla is a hit at the table, your car, or wherever else you can find elbow room.

If you find yourself wandering in The Collective Food Hall, go to Aviva—the best stall here. Located in the ground floor of the Coda building, the hall is what you’d expect from a structure with offices and flexible workspaces overhead—functional yet frill-free. It’s all a stark contrast to the friendly, colorful vibe created at this Mediterranean food counter. While everything on the line looks like it’s been prepared for a lavish ceremony, we always opt for fall-off-the-bone jerk chicken with grilled vegetables or the salmon salad to get the full burst of flavor and freshness that keeps us coming back.

You’ve heard jokes about the Varsity’s menu of frail burgers and sad-looking hot dogs. But for the Downtown landmark to thrive since the 1920s, they gotta be doing something right. And from where we’re standing, that thing is keeping a nostalgic vibe alive through paper hat-donning servers shouting orders as if the cook’s wearing noise-canceling headphones. Though the aforementioned burgers aren’t terrible, we only recommend the fresh-cut fries, fried apple pie, and Frosted Orange shake.

You know those throwback diners you see on TV? That’s Silver Skillet. No, really. If you spot a place with a vintage counter and waitresses wearing earrings shaped like omelets, it’s probably Silver Skillet, an ATL staple since 1956. If there’s no one inside filming a commercial, order the corned beef hash and soft scrambled eggs cooked just like we remember from our youth. Nostalgia or not, this classic diner makes good food, so it's always on our breakfast rotation and is a top choice to show a warm slice of the Americana to our international friends.

El Burro Pollo’s loud, red-painted stall, also in the Coda food hall, dares you to walk over. But when you catch just a hint of cilantro in the air, you’ll fall for the bait—and it’s good that you do. El Burro Pollo’s ridiculously stuffed burritos are the type that makes you the envy of all your coworkers, but also the traitor to your floor's vending machine operator. When you’re hungry, go with the namesake burrito that couldn’t be filled with more slow-cooked shredded chicken and slaw if the cook was using a shovel.

A V-shaped building that’s stood out by Georgia Tech for decades, Rocky Mountain’s interior looks and feels exactly how a campus pizzeria should look and feel. There are beer signs on the wall, elevated wood booths, and a near-life-sized poster of former Jackets hoops star Stephon Marbury. The pizza—not too thin and generously topped—is good enough to put you in a solid headspace for trivia night. But if you’re not in the slice mood, a menu of other college food staples (burgers, wings, and a delicious smoked turkey po’boy), fair prices, and karaoke nights make this the quintessential Tech hang where even non-students like us can pop in for a good time.

With sky blue walls and a playful logo of a donut with angel wings, Sublime doesn’t hide its intentions. Open 24/7,  this 10th Street pastry shop lets dessert lovers fulfill any random jelly-filled fantasies at any waking hour. Flavors range from the typical (the honey glazed cinnamon swirl and frosted croissant are our go-tos) to the tantalizing (Fruity Pebbles doughnut), and most of them are pretty good. But even the bites that look better than they taste (like the blah apple fritter) will have your followers foaming over your timeline.

The Cypress Street patio is the place you go to hide from coworkers you don't want to have lunch with. There are only views of the backs of Midtown buildings, surrounding parking garages, and a narrow, barely busy street, but the spacious, covered patio is one of the chillest alfresco dining options in the area. Enjoy your wings and cheesy pizza egg rolls in peace. And if the mood hits for a daytime drink, they have a great beer selection as well.

Head to Satto Thai on Marietta Street when your budget is tight but hunger is unbound. The aesthetic isn’t the draw here. The interior is so generic that we forget exactly what it looks like. Just know that'll have a cluster of Tech students and a mood that doesn't make you feel rushed here. What we like most about Satto are their huge, reasonably priced signature rolls, which could easily feed two or three people. Our favorite is the massive Optimistic roll with flash fried salmon, crab meat, jalapeño, and hot sauce.

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Whether for Karaoke Tuesdays or weekend Soul Brunch, every visit to Virgil’s feels like a party for all ages—even though it’s in Tech territory, it’s never swarming with yellow jackets. Palm trees in the outdoor space, strong cocktails that remind you of vacation, and pulsating music transform this normally uneventful West Midtown strip into a beachside hotspot. Order a couple rounds of their dangerously good Geecheerita (a house margarita made with Henneseey and Grand Marnier) and maybe you’ll hear the seashore, too. If nothing else you’ll be hype for karaoke. The lowcountry menu is full of highly-seasoned flavor, but we tend to gravitate to the creamy she crab soup and fried wings each time.

You’ve been hoarding that prized bottle of chianti for so long you can probably call it "aged" at this point. When you don’t want to waste it on your own cooking, head to Gio’s, one of the few BYOB spots in the city and our go-to place to share a bottle and delicious family-style pasta dishes with family and friends. While the casual West Midtown counter-service spot feels like run-of-the-mill neighborhood dining (there’s an exposed brick wall and a few tables adorned in gingham cloth), their juicy lemon sorrento chicken, spicy diablo chicken, and fresh marinara pasta provide the wow. Also, Gio’s allows you to bring in a pie from Antico, their sister restaurant next door, which serves some of the best pizza in the city. It’s a pizza and pasta combo that will make your chianti proud

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