There’s a terrific building in Athens, south of the campus and adjacent to one of the athletic tracks on Lumpkin. For many years, it was the home of Cruiser’s, which served up some of the city’s best burgers. Later, it was Achim’s K-Bob’s, the ancestor of Keba Spitfire Grill. Around 2006, Cali-N-Tito’s, a Central American restaurant that had, if I remember correctly, been serving up Cuban sandwiches, tamales, and burritos from a little trailer on Tallassee, moved in and turned the old concrete patio into a pebbled beach with palm trees and playground equipment for kids. Inside, the lights are low and the line is long.
In the previous two chapters, I explained in painful detail how the late breakfast and the early lunch that I had in Athens were just far too fatty and greasy for my liking. What I’d like to have done was find a nice tree out in the Botanical Gardens, kick off my shoes and take a long nap, but instead I decided that some vegetables would do me good. Then I remembered how well-seasoned the chorizo is here, and so I sort of compromised. I’d have one veggie taco and one chorizo, a decent and small snack to enjoy the flavors, and then I’d head home.
Parking is always a pain in the neck here. I’d gone visiting and walking since lunch and it was almost three hours later when I pulled up – three pm – and this place was still packed. I drove somewhere else to stretch my legs a little more and came back twenty minutes later and got the only available space, and then waited twenty more minutes in line.
The food is very good. No, I didn’t need the additional grease and butter of the sauteed veggies on the taco. There are lots of vegetarian entrees here, and I’d have done better to have a salad, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to finish one. The food here is so incredibly flavorful and tasty. Athens was once home to more Tex-Mex joints than anybody knew what to do with, serving up cheese dip and margaritas by the truckload. There are still a few around, but I think that Cali-N-Tito’s was one of the principal reasons that many of the town’s El-This-Los-That places started closing. Who in the world would want that flavorless, dry ground beef from Sysco of Yucatan when the kitchen at Cali-N-Tito’s is seasoning everything so right, and serving up so much juicy and wonderful food?
I still ate too much and didn’t eat healthy at all. Nevertheless, I was glad to end my day with something so remarkably tasty. I drove home feeling much better, and then, then I napped.
Other blog posts about Cali-N-Tito’s:
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s terrific for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!