33 North Court Street
Athens, OH 45701
Mon – Sat: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Mon – Wed: 5:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m.
Thurs – Sat: 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Appetizers: $5 – $7.50
Soup & Salad: $4 – $9
Entree: $9 – $20
Dessert: $5 – $7
Athens finally has a new place worth talking about. And no, it’s not the new O’Betty’s, which I’m happy to boycott since it ran out my favorite Chinese restaurant run by a very good friend of mine. Ok, done venting, onto the new place.
It’s called Sol and it sits back in a tiny alleyway that you can miss if you blink. It’s worth searching for, though. The theme is Cuban fusion (though I’m not sure what they’re fusing it with, but that’s beyond the point) which is something Athens has yet to experience.
Although the place just opened it was pretty packed. It only has a few tables so reservations are a must. I just happened to get lucky! The ambiance is pretty great as well with its dark brick walls, red table cloths and nice wood fixtures. Overall the place is pretty cozy.
The menu matches the space – small – but that’s perfectly fine. I’d rather have a few good menu options than a lot of bad ones. Tim’s choice was the Picadillo (Cuban comfort food as it was put) and I had the Lechon Asado (marinated pork). Both served with rice, plantain chips, salad and black beans. Both of us passed on the black beans but I’m sure they taste good to someone!
The customary bread and butter came out and then our salads. I chose the chimichurri dressing which was pretty impressive. It was cream based, which isn’t the typical for a chimichurri, and was heavy in garlic and spice. It bit back and I loved it!
The courses were nice as well. For the price though I would have liked to see a bit more on my plate. Athens people really want a bang for their buck, so I know this will be an issue to them as well. My pork dish also wasn’t as warm as I would have liked it. I’m guessing they waited for Tim’s to be done and sent them out at the same time. It wasn’t bad enough for me to complain though, and I could see they were still breaking in the staff.
My one regret is not bringing a bottle of wine! Since they don’t have their liquor license yet, they have a bring-your-own policy with a $1.50 corking fee. I would suggest they just keep it this way, since they’re short on space to store wine and don’t need the extra overhead. Many Athens businesses just want to sell alcohol and the food really suffers. Let’s promote good food for a change!
Another nice aspect is the new lunch menu. A good lunchtime in Athens can make or break a local business. Again, Sol seemed to deliver with a shortened menu of easy to serve items including sandwiches, soups and salads (what more do you really need from lunch anyway?) The price hovers in about the $8.50 range as well which is a decent price for a good lunch.
Overall, I want Sol to make it. Too often I see good places with good people go out of business because someone didn’t give them the chance. Yes, they’re a bit hard to find, and they need a little breaking in, but there’s a lot of potential here. From classy to casual this place will have you covered. Just remember to call ahead!
Verdict: Cozy Cuban Fusion
Sol Restaurant is a cozy Cuban Fusion restaurant tucked in an alleyway on North Court Street. The inside can be casual or classy with its dark brick walls, warm red table cloths and wooden fixtures. Despite being small, the menu offers great dishes at somewhat reasonable prices. We would have liked to see more on our plates, but it still tasted really good.
Reservations aren’t required, but we highly recommend doing it if you want to visit since the restaurant is small and gets packed quickly. It is also BYOB (there is a $1.50 uncorking fee) so if you want a drink with your meal be sure to pick a bottle up elsewhere first.