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Just east of Atlanta, you’ll find the Hollywood of the South in Covington, Georgia. It’s known as a popular filming location, and if you explore the town, you can’t help noticing all the references to the hit show Vampire Diaries in nearly every business. Today, we’ll talk about the 15 best restaurants in Covington and why you’ll want to try them.
15 Best Restaurants in Covington, GA
Covington is only about half an hour away from me – Madison, GA – and it’s a drive I make regularly to see my stylist over at Beatnik’s Salon. While I’m there, I usually manage to stock up on olive oil and balsamic vinegar at Town Square Olive Oil, grab a latte from my favorite coffee shop (to be revealed shortly), and — if time permits — to stop for lunch.
I’ll tell you all about my personal favorites and the favorites of local residents and town visitors. Our first stop is, of course, Mystic Grill.
1. Mystic Grill
My personal favorite in historic downtown Covington is Mystic Grill, which is also a popular stop for fans of Vampire Diaries. You’ll find this restaurant at 1116 Clark Street Southwest on Covington’s historic square.
It was built back in 1906 and was once the location of the Bank of Covington. Before becoming a restaurant, this building had several other lives — as a dress shop, department store, billiards room, bakery, grill, law firm, saloon, and a filming location for Vampire Diaries.
Although I haven’t gotten around to trying everything on the menu, I do have a few dishes I can recommend. The chicken and waffle sliders are delicious, as are the fried green tomatoes — both small plates offered as appetizers.
The clocktower burger is divine, and you might want to try their sweet tea fried chicken on your visit. The fried chicken mac and cheese is also a favorite. Don’t forget to ask to see a drinks menu; their cocktails are amazing!
2. Social Goat Tavern
You’ll find Social Goat Tavern in between Local Coffee House and Axe Town at 1115 Church Street. In fact, it makes the perfect location for a date night. That’s why Social Goat is coming in at number two on my list even though I haven’t yet tried it.
It has rave reviews on social media with the highlights being the atmosphere and the food. The only issue I’ve seen might be the speed of service. Reviews vary where that is concerned.
You’ll find your typical pub grub here with everything from chicken tenders to burgers, but you’ll also find street tacos, gluten-free items, and vegetarian options.
If your mouth isn’t watering after you’ve reviewed the menu, double check and make sure you’re in right place. Combine your visit with Axe Town next door for a truly amazing night out.
3. City Pharmacy
City Pharmacy is what I like to call farm-to-table, but fancy. You’ll find it on the historic downtown square at 1105 Church Street beside The Soap Box. They offer both brunch and dinner in an upscale environment.
You can make reservations online to secure your spot, and you’ll want to check out their drink menu for the full listing of cocktails available.
I’ve only been to City Pharmacy on a date for brunch. While the date could not be considered a success, the brunch was pretty amazing. I can recommend their City Mimosa and the buttermilk pancakes. Plus, the service was efficient and friendly. You’ll have to check it out for yourself.
4. Ichiban Ramen
Ichiban Ramen and Sushi has an impressive 4.6 star rating on Google. Its only disadvantage that I can see is that it’s not in walking distance to downtown. In fact, I wouldn’t have known it was out there just passing through the area.
With plenty of ramen dishes, rice bowls, and sushi, it’s the perfect place to go to either dine-in or carry out to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. The menu is extensive, so you’ll have plenty to choose from.
They’re serving up excellent food and service, according to their Google reviews. You’ll find Ichiban at 4152 Washington Street Southwest.
5. Donut King
Donut King might seem like a strange contender for best of Covington restaurants, but don’t count it out. It might be the Donut King in the morning, but it transitions into the Deli King to serve up some delicious lunch. You’ll find it at 3198 Elm Street Northeast.
I can recommend Donut King as both a breakfast and lunch location. My kids would never forgive me if I ventured into Covington and didn’t stop to bring home some donuts. We’ve never had a donut here we didn’t like, and the service is always fast and friendly.
For lunch, I’ve only gotten around to trying the Covington Club Sandwich, but the menu also offers stuffed sandwiches, 6-inch subs (with a Philly cheesesteak option!), BBQ, wraps, and hot dogs. They even have pizza here!
Plus, they managed to earn 4.7-stars in Google reviews. It’s easily one of the most affordable lunch locations, and it has options for dine-in or drive-thru.
6. Kobe Hibachi & Sushi Japanese Restaurant
Kobe Hibachi and Sushi is also serving up an average of 4.5 stars on Google. This location offers hibachi-style meals and sushi rolls for carryout or delivery. The prices are reasonable, and the menu offers plenty of variety for every taste. You’ll find this hibachi and sushi restaurant at 3161 Elm Street Northeast.
This location flies under the radar because it’s in a busy shopping center beside Ross. It’s easy to overlook, and that’s why I haven’t yet given it a try. Although reviews mention that there’s sometimes a wait, delivery options are also available if you don’t feel like waiting in their location.
7. Pinches Tacos Shack
This restaurant really had me at “tacos,” especially since Madison just lost my favorite taco joint when Mad Taco closed. It’s a short drive from downtown Covington, and I wouldn’t have known it was there if I wasn’t looking for it.
However, with a 4.6-star average rating on Google with reviews that mention amazing food, service, management, and portion sizes, I couldn’t resist checking it out.
The restaurant might be small, but the menu is impressive. Pinches offers street-style tacos and burritos, seafood entrees, and more.
Although you won’t find it in walking distance, it’s worth the short drive if the rave reviews are to be believed. You’ll find Pinches Taco Shack at 7108 Washington Street Southwest, Suite D.
8. Butcher Block Deli
Stalvey’s Butcher Block serves up an old-school vibe, but that’s because it’s one of the longest running restaurants in the area. Expect a friendly greeting when you walk in the door.
The decor and food might seem straightforward and simple, but it hits the spot when you’re looking for well-made comfort food. This is the perfect place for a quick and casual lunch. It’s not an upscale dining experience, but the prices are easy on your wallet, and the food is sure to please your tastebuds.
You’ll find indoor and outdoor seating at The Butcher Block. The menu offers chili dogs, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and more. Don’t forget to check out their dessert menu to add cookies or a slice of pie to your order. You’ll find the Butcher Block at 6171 US-278.
9. Tava’s Diner
Tava’s Diner comes in on the list with an impressive 4.7 Google star reviews. You’ll find it at 6154 Washington Street Southwest. If you’re looking for homecooked, simple food in a pleasant location, you’ve found it at Tava’s.
The menu offers burgers, hot dogs, and wings at shockingly affordable prices. In this economy, it’s the perfect place to eat out without breaking the bank or busting your budget. Reviewers rave about the vintage vibe, old-school menu, and friendly service.
10. El Chaparro
You’ll find El Chaparro’s Tex-Mex Cantina at 6193 US-278 in Covington. Although it’s tucked away in a corner of a shopping center, it’s got 4.5-star reviews on Google. Nachos and fajitas are among the most popular orders here, and there are over 1,400 reviews attesting to the satisfaction of diners.
Both the service and menu get solid reviews, and the prices are reasonable. Because Covington offers several Mexican restaurants, it might be hard to choose. Consider giving El Chaparro’s a chance.
11. Amici Covington
Here’s the honest truth: The above photo was taken at Amici in Monroe rather than in Covington. While I haven’t eaten at the one in Covington, it’s got an amazing location, and I can already tell you that the food is just as good as the ones in Monroe and Madison. It’s always a crowd-pleaser with my family.
It’s got a 4.1-star rating on Google, but I put it a little further down the list because of reviews commenting on the service. To be frank, the service in Madison is equally slow with the restaurant in Monroe probably outranking them in overall service speed.
If you have the time to wait, Amici is consistently good. I love the Blonde Greek pizza, and my children rave about the simple delights of a cheese or pepperoni pizza. You’ll find this Amici location at 1116 College Avenue in the historic downtown area.
12. Lucky Day
Lucky Day Taco and Tequila Shop came highly recommended. You’ll find it in the historic downtown area at 1113 Floyd Street Northeast. As I was traveling during the day and with children, I wasn’t able to try out the tequila aspect of this restaurant, but I did order up some tacos. We enjoyed the chips served with queso, and my children were happy with their cheese quesadilla and fries.
Lucky Day has street-style tacos, which I prefer. They do a great job of serving up hot, fast, fresh-cooked tacos with a kick of spice. This might not be my favorite taco shop, but you might want to give it a try if you find yourself in downtown Covington craving a street-style taco with a margarita. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the service is both friendly and fast.
13. Mamie’s Kitchen Biscuit
You can find Mamie’s Kitchen Biscuits serving up delicious food in Covington, Lithonia, and Social Circle. You’ll find it at 7121 US-278 in Covington. It’s got an impressive 4.4-star rating on Google with over 800 current reviews.
They offer both breakfast and lunch in all locations. Breakfast plates are under $10, and lunch combos are $11.49 with a meat, two vegetables, drink, dessert, and bread option. That’s a lot of food at an affordable price!
To make it even more convenient, this location has a drive-thru. Expect the equivalent of homecooked food served up at shockingly affordable prices in this economy. It’s not fancy, but you come here for good old-fashioned comfort food, not an upscale dining experience.
14. Little Phillies
I’ve been spoiled by my experience trying Philly cheesesteaks in Philadelphia earlier this year for the first time. Since then, I haven’t stopped craving one. While this might not be the real deal, it comes pretty close if you want to satisfy your craving while in Covington. You’ll find Little Phillies at 10255 Industrial Boulevard D. It’s serving up 4.3-star reviews on Google.
Reviewers note that it’s not exactly authentic, but it’s still a great little dive restaurant that’ll help you get your wings or Philly cheesesteak fix. It’s a little restaurant in a shopping center, and you might not notice it at first. However, if this is the food mood you’re in, you won’t find better in the area.
Stalvey’s Fine Foods is a dining institution in downtown Covington. It’s been serving up mouthwatering dishes for over 35 years. While it might rank last here on my list, it gets 4.1 stars on Google with over 1,000 customers rating it. This steakhouse is all about country cooking with an old-fashioned feel. It’s like stepping back in time to venture into Stalvey’s. You’ll find it at 3132 U.S.278 Northwest.
You might be wondering why I’d rank a local institution this low, and I’ll remind you that Covington has tons of restaurants. They couldn’t all make the cut. While many people enjoy Stalvey’s, I’ve eaten there with family and came away satisfied but not wowed by the experience.
The decor needs updating, and the food probably hasn’t changed in 35 years. While that’s a plus for some, old-fashioned southern-style meals aren’t my preference if I’m dining out. However, as we are in the Deep South, many may find this consistency comforting rather than boring.
Bonus: Best Bakery – Bread and Buttery Bakery
I should mention that Bread and Butter Bakery also serves up a delicious lunch, but I thought it deserved its own category as the best bakery in town. You’ll find it in historic downtown Covington at 1124 Monticello Street Southwest. You’re going to want to linger over the bakery counter and do your best to choose which delicious baked goods you’d like to try. Believe me: everything looks and tastes so good that it’ll be hard to choose.
You’ll also find that they serve coffee and lunch in the bakery. The coffee is good, but the service is consistently slow. Try The Fred latte with oat milk if you visit during the holiday season for a delicious treat. Their breakfast and lunch options all earn rave reviews, but it’s their baked goods that have me coming back for more. Plus, it has a relaxing atmosphere with plenty of places to kick back and relax. Check out the study room in the back for a quiet, cozy corner to read, work, or study. It’s got a 4.4-star rating on Google for good reason.
Bonus: Best Coffee Shop – Local Coffee House & Study Lounge
My absolute favorite coffee shop in Covington is the Local Coffee Shop & Study Lounge. If you’re in the area during the holidays, you absolutely have to stop in and see their decorations. It’s a whole experience.
Last year, they made it Whoville with a Grinch theme. This year, it’s everything Elf, which is my personal favorite. No matter what the theme, you can expect some holiday cheer served up with your beverage of choice.
You’ll find it right in the historic downtown square at 1109 Church Street. It’s got 4.5 stars on Google reviews with guests raving about the atmosphere and beverages. They have an extensive menu of drinks, but I always choose from the seasonal specials.
This is the perfect place to work, study, or read — or just to meet a date or hang out with friends. I cannot recommend it highly enough, and you’ll find that the service is friendly and fast.
The pictures above don’t even capture the full holiday vibe at the Local. They were in the middle of putting up decorations during my visit. This is it half-decorated, if you can believe it! That’s how impressive they are during the holidays with their decor. They make the effort, and it shows in everything they do. No one is paying me to say this, but I wouldn’t turn down a free latte either. 😉
Bonus: Best Ice Cream – Scoops
Scoops is another prime location in downtown Covington. It’s definitely top of the list for ice cream and dessert. It’s got a 4.7-star rating on Google. While I haven’t been inside this location, we have the flagship store in Madison, and I’ve also been to their shop in Monroe.
Although it is a franchise, you’ll only find it in the state of Georgia. The cast of the Vampire Diaries often visited here during filming of the hit show.
It turns out that Covington was the second location of Scoops. All ice cream is made locally in small batches with natural ingredients. This shop also offers homemade chocolate, old-fashioned candy, cookies, caramel apples, and many other sweet treats. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this is the place to be in Covington!
Dining in Covington
There are many restaurants available in Covington, Georgia. You’ll find plenty of chain restaurants, but I will always recommend dining and shopping local to support the small businesses in the community.
Not only does it support the local economy, but it helps family businesses stay operational in the face of larger corporate restaurants. Plus, why eat somewhere you can find anywhere when you can get a local specialty served up with a friendly smile? You’re sure to find plenty of those in Covington.
Don’t forget to bring an appetite!