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The Last Resort, a restaurant located on Clayton Street in downtown Athens, sent a team of chefs to the third School Lunch Program in 2017. The team won the challenge, which resulted in their dish being included in the menu for the Clarke County School District cafeterias. (Photo/McGee Nall,

For most University of Georgia students, parents coming in town not only means quality family time but a chance to eat out at some of the more expensive restaurants in town, since we know parents will be picking up the check. In a survey taken by 100 UGA students asking which of 12 common Athens upscale restaurants they would choose to dine at while their parents are in town, the results aren’t surprising.

1. Last Resort Grill

It’s no shock Last Resort Grill won by a landslide vote in the survey, coming in at 38%, since this restaurant has become a landmark for students and visitors. While this is considered a more upscale restaurant in the city, dinner prices start at around $15, so the prices won’t hurt your parent’s wallet for an occasional evening out. Dinner menu favorites include horseradish-crusted salmon, pralines and piloncillo-and-black-pepper-crusted hanger steak. Along with the dinner menu, Last Resort is widely known for the delectable selection of desserts, including cakes by Cecilia Villaveces Cakes of Athens, and a variety of cheesecakes.

Abbey Stewart, a 22-year-old nutritional science major, said she chose Last Resort because she’s a big fan of their cheesecake, especially the white chocolate one.

2. Porterhouse Grill and DePalma’s Italian Cafe

Tied for second place, Porterhouse Grill and DePalma’s Italian Cafe each came in with 9% of the votes.

Porterhouse Grill, located on East Broad Street downtown, is a great place to eat out with family, as it has a wide variety of starters, steaks and specialty plates in a fine dining atmosphere. Known for its many cuts of steak, the dinner menu includes filet mignon, New York strip steak, hanger steak and prime rib. The menu also includes $8.50 lunch entrees during the week and Sunday brunch for $14.95.

Kathryn Buchanan, a 21-year-old music major, chose Porterhouse Grill as her restaurant of choice when her family comes to visit.

“I chose it because I can never afford a steak on my own budget,” Buchanan said. “And the environment and ambiance is very classy.”

DePalma’s is also an Athens favorite. serving Italian cuisine at three locations across the city: downtown, Barnett Shoals Road and Timothy Road. The dinner menu includes pasta dishes like pan-fried mascarpone ravioli, grilled artichoke hearts, pasta Margherita and eggplant florentine. The menu also includes a large variety of wines to make the experience even more authentically Italian.

3. South Kitchen + Bar and Marker 7 Coastal Grill

Tied for third, South Kitchen + Bar and Marker 7 Coastal Grill came in with 8% of votes for each.

South Kitchen, located on Washington Street downtown, is a favorite for many Athenians, and definitely a favorite for students and parents. The restaurant has an elegant atmosphere that provides customers with a nice fine-dining feel, and it has a bar serving a large variety of beer, wine and cocktails. Dinner menu items include low country shrimp and grits, maple glazed salmon and bone-in Berkwood pork chops.

Marker 7, located in Five Points in a historic Athens house, offers customers a seafood cuisine with oysters from the Gulf of Mexico and shrimp from the coast of Georgia, as well as a bar with dozens of drink choices.

The restaurant has a coastal aesthetic interior that makes eating in Athens feel more like eating beachside, with an exterior that matches many of the historic homes on Milledge Avenue.

Dinner menu items include Cajun seafood pasta, lemon sherry scallops and shrimp and grits.

4. The Place and The National

Tied in fourth place with 6% are The Place and The National, both located downtown.

The Place, on Broad Street, serves a Southern comfort food cuisine in a homey atmosphere, with one floor overlooking UGA’s North Campus. Dinner items include bourbon-glazed salmon, chicken and waffles and grilled pork chops.

The National, on West Hancock Avenue, serves Mediterranean-style dishes created with Southern influences. Some of the dinner items include pan-roasted fish of the day, grilled beef hanger steak and braised pork shank.

Nathan Alligood, a junior entertainment media studies major, chose The National because it has “a pretty diverse menu.”

Next time family comes into town, consider making a stop at one of these restaurants. You can grab a nice meal and your parents can grab the check.

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