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ATLGuide

Where To Eat Near Georgia Tech

The buzz around town is that everything from great pizza to doughnuts can be found in the Yellow Jackets’ backyard.

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 who got 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 delights, these are some of the dining options within a mile or so of the school that earn the highest honors.

photo credit: Mhandy Gerard

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Aviva By Kameel

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The Coda building’s ground-floor food 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 from the friendly, colorful vibe created at this Midtown food counter. And that energy is equally matched by their Mediterranean menu. While everything on the line looks like it’s been prepared for a lavish ceremony, 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 folks 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.

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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. The golden chicken tenders and buttermilk waffle also make for great props for a morning meal scene.

El Burro Pollo’s red-painted stall, standing out in the subdued Coda food hall near Tech, almost dares you not 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. How else would you know about El Burro Pollo’s ridiculously stuffed burritos? 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. If the poached shrimp ceviche or beef quesadilla catches your eye, just forget about fighting the temptation.

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—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, generous topping portions—is good enough to put you in a solid headspace for trivia night. But if you’re not in the slice mood, mild wings with lemon pepper sprinkles are a fun, salty combo worth trying. The smoked turkey po’boy feels more like a toasted sandwich on ciabatta than the French roll hoagie that we’re used to, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.

With sky blue walls and a playful logo of a doughnut 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.

If Satto Thai’s sushi were a person, it would chug creatine and do two-a-days at the gym. That’s because their signature rolls are huge and could easily feed two or three people, so if you’re balling on a budget, head to Marietta Street on the Westside. Their soft psychedelic playlist and clusters of Tech students discussing upcoming exams set the mood. But you won’t feel rushed here, and you could easily hang out for a few hours without being bothered. The aesthetic isn’t the draw—the interior is so generic that we’ve already forgotten exactly what it looks like. But do you really need decor to enjoy the massive Optimistic roll with flash fried salmon, crab meat, jalapenos, and hot sauce? We don’t think so.

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Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar

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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. Nearly everything on the 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 places in the city and our go-to place to share a bottle and 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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