This post is part of a series where we interview prominent Southerners or Southern transplants about what they love so much about this area and why others should visit. If you are interested in being featured, leave a comment or send me an email.
Morgan Cogswell, also known as Morgangster, is an Athens, Georgia-based blogger, photographer, and graphic designer. She makes fantastic mixtapes and is a friend of my sister Sammi’s, which is how I found her blog.
What do you love most about living in the South?
Oh, there are so, so many things… the kindness of people, the weather, the history, and traditions… this might sound goofy but my absolute favorite part about living in the south is the fact that every time you meet someone, they try to figure out other people you both know!
The south is the ultimate 6-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon/small world game. And I can usually find a connection with someone! That’s just the best. The south is like a big family.
Also… the food. I cannot stress that enough. I have a whole section on my blog called Food Coma dedicated to the food of this great city. When people come to Athens to visit… that’s basically all we do. Eat eat eat eat.
What are your favorite places in Athens?
The food is just too good here. When we’re trying to decide where to go, we first have to narrow-down categories because there are too many good options. My absolute favorite meal of the day is breakfast, and Athens has some very choice options.
First, Mama’s Boy. Best biscuits and grits you can find, anywhere. And the peach stuffed french toast is no joke, either. I try to go on the weekdays because on the weekends there’s a line out the door… but even then it’s worth it.
The veggie scrambler with goat cheese is life-changing as well. (Make sure you ask for the poppyseed butter for the biscuit! You will not be sorry!)
Trapeze Pub and Highwire Lounge are two connected bars that are a must-see as well. The beer list at Trap is legendary and nationally recognized and the Highwire Lounge offers fresh fruit cocktails and great music.
Athens is probably equally as well known for its music scene as it is for its food. Catching a show at the recently renovated Georgia Theatre cannot be overlooked. It’s gorgeous and right downtown, with a rooftop bar overlooking the city.
Grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many delicious downtown eateries before a show is one of my favorite things (Pizza at Transmetropolitan, a gourmet burger at Clocked, sitting outside eating paninis on the terrace at Ted’s Most Best… I could go on and on!)
I also can’t stop this section without mentioning The National. They are doing some incredible things food-wise and it’s one of my favorite lunch spots during the workweek. The Power Lunch is my go-to… it’s a weekly-changing dish filled to the brim with local produce and other tasty things that just make you feel alive and, well, powerful!
Also, can I mention the donuts from Ike and Jane? And the ice cream sandwiches from Heirloom Cafe? And the picnic chicken salad at 5 Star Day? Or happy hour and boiled peanuts at Normal Bar? I COULD GO ON AND ON…
What is your favorite Southern meal?
Oof. This is tough. This is like asking my mother which one of her children is her favorite (I know it’s me, Mom. Come on. Just admit it.) But. I would have to say… probably shrimp and grits.
With a cold sweet tea. And a thick slice of caramel cake afterward. You can get this very lovely meal at Last Resort in downtown Athens…. With a Cecillia’s cake. Trust me on this one.
What are your favorite Southern traditions?
Football tailgating done right, that’s for sure! Being a UGA grad, I have seen my fair share of tailgating, and there’s definitely a right and a wrong way to do it.
We get there early and make a big deal out of it: table cloths, tons of food so you can invite all your friends and passersby over, good music, plenty of blankets to picnic on… and enough Red and Black to make your head spin. It’s all very magical! GO DAWGS.
I also just love that southerners put so much care into the things they’re passionate about: Food, Family, Football, Faith… it’s all there.