The Grit

What makes The Grit restaurant such a popular Athens institution? It is a unique vegetarian restaurant between the downtown and the Normaltown areas. I cannot deny its power to fill tables and add to the fame and character of Athens. However, it also has its critics. Some customers are inconvenienced by the restaurant's policy of not splitting checks, and others are annoyed by surly servers. (I will say that I have seen a server persuaded to split a check, and the server at my last visit was quite friendly.)

My own criticism is that the food is usually rather bland. I have tried food from different parts of the menu and found that most everything lacks flavor and seasoning. I am surprised that The Grit specializes in vegetarian dishes yet I've had much better vegetarian meals elsewhere. The sandwiches are a safe choice, but that is about all I would recommend. On the other hand, my wife has made a couple of delicious meals by following recipes in The Grit cookbook.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

That part about the food lacking seasoning and flavor is usually the biggest criticism of vegetarian cuisine. I have yet to try "The Grit", but I have heard from many others that is is really good.

Holly M. said...

Wow, Adrian, the Grit is one of my favorite restaurants! I've never come away thinking my food was bland. And, I've also found (despite our experience Friday & not having asked), the wait staff are always happy to split checks, or, at least run different amounts on several different cards.

Next time we dine, though, we'll pick a place that YOU love :)

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised there are only two comments...

Well, I guess you might have to actually define what you mean by 'bland'. On one hand, I am tempted to agree with you that many of the things I have eaten there are relatively bland in that they may not have overpowering, spicy or complex flavors other than their natural components. However, not everything I've had there is like that. Even so, those items that fall in the former category are not food that I would have thought to label as being bland, because it was quite savory, and definitely had good texture and flavor. And there are definitely things you can order that do have very distinct, spicy or complex flavors.

I am a die-hard meat eater. But I like the Grit. It is a mystery.

I agree at times one may feel a bit of disdain or at least a stereotypical 'hipper-than-thou' vibe from the staff (and from some of our fellow patrons). When I think this though, I wonder if it may be me being a little sensitive or even paranoid. It could also be that part of my personality that so desperately wants to be 'cool' and perhaps is jealous of those who seem more confident in that regard. Nah, probably not that.

Anyway, I guess I think I know what you mean but I still like the Grit and vouch for it as a place to go that should please almost anyone.

I almost forgot: about the check-splitting. Yeah, that is a bummer. I know we are all good at math and can figure it out for ourselves but for a variety of reasons, some of them having to do with a desire for privacy and other social factors, it is not always convenient to do that math with your dinner party at the table and in public. I know usually the staff at the Grit does work with you to an extent though, to help your party take care of business. I suspect that some places like the Grit (and Clocked) have these non-check splitting policies because they don't have the fancy computer systems that usually chains and larger restaurants have which may make the task more painless.

You know I am always down for an old-school pulled pork barbecue.

El Fin said...

I apparently stumbled across the GA Mecca for veggie heads.

My 2nd day in Athens I drive by the Grit on the way to my hotel when I see a cafĂ© maybe diner-looking place crowded tables busy on a rainy Monday night. It was walking distance from where I stayed. Why not check it out? I caught the name Grits or the Grit on the drive-by and I was sold. I can’t pass up a place called Grits in small GA town.

I parked at my hotel and walked into The Grit 15 minutes later expecting the usual diner food, burgers meatloaf, looked like a diner on the inside. What fit the bill for a diner in NY. I ease up to the counter and grab a menu scan the specials. I laughed out loud that it took me that long to figure out it was all veggie. Felt like I creeped into a gay bar without a clue. I’ve seen vegetarian restaurants but never one busting at the seams like this place. Packed, people waiting to sit down, phone ringing off the hook. I’ve visited vegetarian places in the past but never one this busy. Its always been disappointing in the past. Veggie restaurants I’ve tried in the past had lackluster menus. I had to try the Grit though. I sampled a little bit of everything. I had to chuckle that the special of the night was ‘meat’ loaf just like a diner anywhere else. Long story short, I liked everything. Tofu never tasted so good. I had to do a double take. Probably about my 4th or 5th no meat serving restaurant that I’ve sampled. It registered as the 1st veggie place that I ever liked.

Im gonna try it again tomorrow.

Its only my 2nd day in Athens so Ill be sampling and checking out all the local grub and dives while I'm here. Any suggestions would be appreciated. hybridjose@yahoo.com