Mama’s Boy

Good luck getting a table on the weekend, on a game day, during any music festival. Okay, good luck getting a table any time during the period defined as “brunch” in a college town—in other words, the operating hours (7-3:30, seven days a week) of this homey Southern-themed cafe.

A favorite with students and townies alike, Mama’s Boy was named “best breakfast” five years in a row by readers of alt-weekly “Flagpole.” The kitchen dishes up standbys like eggs and grits, corned-beef studded hash, and fried-chicken stuffed biscuits. Tables of sorority girls indulge in comfort food extravaganzas: “Chocolate Cake for Breakfast” is a menu fixture, and yup, the dish is exactly as billed. You can order granola topped with whipped cream or get there early on Pancake Tuesdays to carbo load.

Lunch options are hearty farmhand-sized portions: pork chops, fish and grits, meatloaf sandwiches. And, of course, this is Athens, so there are vegan-friendly options (we love the hearty tofu stir fry and consider the veggie plate a cut above the standard Southern cafe fare) and a few more ambitious items, such as the oxymoronically rich and light salmon cakes Benedict.

Whatever meal you’re indulging in, leave room for the main attraction: a massive square biscuit, buttery and flaky and drizzled with tart raspberry preserves served in a squeeze bottle.