THE GLOBE (199 N. Lumpkin St., 706-353-4721): Revamping a classic is a tough gig. Opened in 1989, this one-time Best Bar in America, according to Esquire, is old enough to start feeling its sciatica. An extended closure due to COVID was a good opportunity to think about what was working and what wasn’t, what needed a fresh approach and what regulars would rather die than see eliminated.
The new version of the bar/restaurant has managed to make its way through that obstacle course successfully, and, if it’s been a while since you’ve been, you might not notice too many specific things that have changed. It feels slightly spruced up. The lingering effects of years of cigarette smoking (back when you could do that inside) are gone. All the tables and chairs are nicely balanced and new, but not so new-seeming that you don’t feel like you’re in a venerable bar. There are more of them, and the seating is well placed. The big Art Rosenbaum (RIP) drawing still hangs above the bar, and many other pieces of wall decor appear to be in their original places.
The menu is simple, with room for change and tradition side by side. Yes, there’s fish and chips—well battered and fried just right, maybe a weensy bit under salted, with a really good, fresh tartar sauce and fat but not mushy fries. There’s also a peach and coriander chaat in the starters section and among the sides. This version of the savory Indian snack food also includes peanuts, raisins and cornflakes in a lime and coriander chutney. It’s wet and crunchy, soggy (in a good way?) and strongly flavored, full of variety. It’s unexpected, smart and fun. Miss the diner burger? It’s still here, along with a double-decker smashburger topped with mustard, lettuce, caramelized onions, thick bacon, house sauce and pickles. You will need to wash up when you’re done. The flavors are good, although sometimes they fight too much, and it’s too strong on the pickle. Maybe raw onion would cut through the richness? If you get the house made potato chips as a side, you’ll be happy. Just thick enough to be substantial, just thin enough to get nice and crisp (and be translucent if held up to the light). They’re well salted and gorgeously fried. The menu makes space for vegetarians in other ways than fries. The barley bowl features roasted parsnips, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower with a house vinaigrette. You can add a protein (egg, chicken, steak, bacon) or have it plain. It could be jazzier, but it’s reasonably substantial and not a salad. There are specials like barbecue braised pork belly served as a sandwich (with pimento cheese and tomato jam) and a Scottish fisherman’s soup. The menu is large in scale and type, but modest in the number of items it contains: six mains, four sides, one soup, one salad, three starters, a bunch of fry options. Hooray for simplicity. Hooray for this place being back in a way that is both very true to its roots and not afraid to try to be better, with real ingredients and quality preparations, plus an emphasis on a good work environment.
The Globe is open for lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and for dinner from 5–10 p.m.
VALLEY’S CREAMERY (1700 S. Lumpkin St., valleyscreamery.com): Joe Nedza loves a pop-up, from his original waffle stand to his donut truck to his brick-and-mortar business (Nedza’s), his smashburger thing that shows up occasionally and now this ice cream shop that sets up inside The Café on Lumpkin Fridays and Saturdays from 5–9 p.m. Named for his daughter, the shop makes a limited number of flavors, all heavy on the add-ins and pretty quality stuff. So far it’s tilted toward vanilla-based ice creams: a pretty intense sea salt caramel; a malted cookie dough with salted fudge swirl; and Valley’s Pie, with chunks of a brown buttery pie and a praline swirl. Are these all in the same flavor ballpark? They are. My favorite so far is the “Tall, Dark and Handsome,” a coffee ice cream with chunks of toffee and chocolate. Your kids will want the “For Lindy,” a birthday cake ice cream with blue frosting and cookie crumbles that is far better than the usual renderings of that kind of thing. There’s an oat milk honeycomb that’s dairy-free but runs out very quickly, and the promise of vegan flavors to come. All of it is pretty rich, and even a small serving ($4 a scoop, $6 if it’s in a homemade waffle cone that’s too soft but has a nice taste) will fill you up quickly. The menu is simple, and you order through a window, meaning you don’t have to go inside. Even if it’s raining, there’s a covered patio. The hours are weird but reliable; you’ll see a sign in the ground outside when ice cream is available.
Like what you just read? Support Flagpole by making a donation today. Every dollar you give helps fund our ongoing mission to provide Athens with quality, independent journalism.