Marti's at Midday. For the past 3 months they've been teasing me with their chicken salad and pimento cheese during commercial breaks. Does it taste good? The ad sure makes it sound tasty (although even a McDonalds burger looks somewhat edible on TV). Just who is this Chef Marti? Is it as good as everyone says it is? I want answers, delicious ones, and I want them now.
Located on Prince Ave. across the street from Ike & Janes is Marti's at Midday. If you're somehow unable to find this bright, white-colored house then just look for people lined-up outside of a building. This place was absolutely packed when we arrived at noon. Unless you've called in your order beforehand, prepare to wait a little bit for your food. Like I already said, this place is busy - a good sign indeed if you're ever in a restaurant. Why? You know food is being prepared fresh and that it is good before even tasting it.
(chef Marti - far right in the purple)So who is Chef Marti? Why, she's right there in front of you! Expediting, running back and front of house, she does it all with artful elegance. There's nothing better or more beautiful than seeing blue-collar work being done by the owner and you can see the passionate effort she puts into the business with your very own eyes. Needless to say, I was already impressed without even tasting the food. The staff she manages is equally impressive. Friendly and tentative all while showing a sense of urgency.
Now, let's talk food friends. Starting with those giant cookies and muffins you see above. The cookies give the ones at the Athens Farmers Market a run for its money in terms of size and the blueberry muffin pictured above was so moist. But what about the sandwiches and the salads? Rest assured. They're big. Oh yes. Real generous portions indeed. When I was glancing over the menu, I originally thought that $8 for one sandwich was kinda pricey especially in a college town. Perhaps it's just that good? It's good alright but they aren't skimping on the portions either. Do you see the sheer size and intimidating thickness of that pimento cheese placed between 2 slices of homemade bread (pictured below)? The chicken salad was no different in size and the turkey slices were thick and generous as well on the Tami. The Big Salad (which pretty much had everything and anything between feta cheese, potatoes and boiled eggs) filled the entire serving basket too - definitely no complaints here on the portion sizes.
(the Rinne - pimento cheese)
(pimento cheese cross section)
(the Mary Frances - chicken salad)
(the Tami - smoked turkey pita)
(the big salad)
The pimento cheese was smooth, creamy, sharp and combined with just the right amount of mayonnaise (nothing worse than a pimento cheese overpowered by mayo). The chicken salad has a creamy, almost thick-puree like consistency, is simply prepared and has good flavor. I've had the cubed chicken salad variety for so long that the texture caught me by surprise but Marti's just left me wanting for more. Perhaps the curry chicken salad next time. If there's a single, inherently-impossible complaint that could arise (and it shouldn't) it would be the ratio of filling to bread as it's a little uneven but I'm perfectly fine with the way it is. One whole sandwich should give you 2 meals,
for a normal person, as the sandwiches come with fruit and baked pita chips on the side.
Marti's at Midday is now a new, personal Athens favorite. Great staff, incredible owner and good food. Although there is a little wait time when it's busy, it's well worth it and the patio outside is a great way to enjoy the crisp fall air. It's a real cutesy place so I don't know if I could say to one of my guy friends, "Hey let's go to Marti's to eat teehee!" without feeling a little less manly but who am I kidding - this place is going to be one of my guilty pleasures. Just like that Mariah Carey song (or greatest hits album) you have on you iPod, you can't help but like this place. And you know what? I'm perfectly fine with it.
- Only open on weekdays for breakfast and lunch
- They do take credit/debit cards (Visa and Mastercard please!) but they have a $10 minimum
- Sandwich orders come with pita chips and fruit
- Popular items like the pimento cheese and chicken salad can be purchased by the pound