A Day in Athens – Part 1

August 24, 2016

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During a recent glorious kid-free week, Mrs. Breakfast w/Nick and I spent a day down in Athens, Ohio. It was only our second time there, after a first trip nearly two years ago (read about it here and here). Our pace tends to be quick as a family, so imagine how much ground we covered without kids! (Spoiler alert: we may have visited four breweries.) We hit the road early in the day to arrive with breakfast still in mind, and trekked straight to Bagel Street Deli.

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The hole-in-the-wall eatery – it’d be easy to walk past the narrow storefront – features bagel sandwiches of all types. We ordered a couple, then hit the road, but not without stopping to admire the brick wall with its chalk drawings and tinfoil creations.

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We drove just outside of Athens proper to Strouds Run State Park. The park features a small lake and miles of hiking trails. You can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats from the little hut next to the lake, so we hopped on a pontoon paddle boat (we’ve learned it’s best for our marriage not to paddle a canoe together) and spent an hour peddling around the lake.

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We took our Bagel Street sandwiches with us and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

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After our paddling adventure, we drove back into town to Jackie O’s taproom. Boy, has that place grown since we last visited.

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We spent some time there sipping beers.

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We tried a few specialty beers like the Matriarch triple IPA and the bourbon barrel-age Oil of Aphrodite stout with coffee, the kind we can’t find in cans or bottles around Columbus. All four beers were pushing 10-11% ABV, and even splitting the flight of four left us in need of a bite to eat.

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One of the big reasons we visited Jackie O’s (aside from the beer) was to see the work of ceramic artist Brett Kern. Mrs. Breakfast w/Nick follows him through her ceramic adventures (you should follow her on Instagram @shamelessclay); Kern specializes in creating ceramic work using molds of inflatable toys. Look at the dinosaurs above: those are made from clay! He just gets the details so right they look like real toys.

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The last time we visited Athens, we didn’t get a chance to go to Miller’s Chicken. I have a soft spot for old school restaurants, especially ones that have been around for decades, the ones with those faded menu signs and, well, mostly fried food.

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We ordered five pieces of fried chicken and a fried perch sandwich. Nothing fancy, simple seasoning, but not altogether greasy. In short: I would gladly return.

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Following lunch, we drove the couple blocks to the West End Cider House. We spent a quiet hour there sipping a handful of house-made ciders and chatting with the bartender; it’s a beautiful old building. The ciders were top notch, ranging from dry ciders to fruit-flavored ones.

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By that time we had decided to extend our stay in Athens, because of some friends unexpectedly coming to town. That meant hitting up another brewery for a couple samples: Devil’s Kettle Brewing, where we found hops crawling up the front wall.

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We passed Devil’s Kettle on Columbus Road on our way into town. The building is unassuming, an old industrial space common to new microbreweries, but it’s comfortable outside and sports a nice patio out front.

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We sampled a few beers, from red ales to IPAs, and loved them all. Notice the wooden countertops.

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The taproom is cozy. A food cart was setting up out front. The brewmaster and owner of Devil’s Kettle was a repeated winner of the homebrew competition at Ohio Brew Week before he transitioned to opening the brewery a couple years ago.

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We hung out at Devil’s Kettle for a brief spell before we went to meet friends, but my interest was piqued by their beer. We’ll definitely be seeking it out again.

That’s part one of our day in Athens! Read part two for the exciting conclusion.

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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