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Y’all know we love Athens, Ga., here at Pretty Southern.

We’re die hard Dawg fans, have brunched with Hugh Acheson, and even have a UGA student blogger. All that being said, it was a treat to find out that a UGA alumni, Juanina Kocher, has authored Classic City Cooking.


Juanina lives in New York City – Brooklyn to be exact – but truly she’s a Southerner at heart.

Her hometown is Athens, and she’s also a graduate of UGA. Red and black are definitely her signature colors, and yes, that was a reference to Steel Magnolias. This work is a labor of love and an homage to her Georgia roots. For her first cookbook, Juanina interviewed Athens legends including SEC football all-star Bill Bennett, and musicians Darius Weems, Widespread Panic and the Whigs. The Foreword for Classic City Cooking is written by Athens restaurateur Peter Dale, who apprenticed at 5 & 10, the very joint which helped to Athens fine dining on the map. Dale also co-owns The National in downtown Athens (along with Acheson) plus Seabear Oyster Bar in the Bottleworks and Condor Chocolates in Five Points.

Classic City Cooking features recipes from some of the most well-known establishments in Athens including:

“All of the recipes are my favorites,” she said. “We had a lot of help from our family and friends with the recipe testing, a lot of them we tested at home ourselves.” The stunning food photography by JP Bond is a perfect compliment to these delectable recipes. Here are a few of Juanina’s personal favorite recipes from Classic City Cooking:

1) Seafood Charmine from DePalma’s. “This dish was one of my favorites while I lived in Athens and continues to be a dish I crave when I’m back home,” she said. “I was thrilled when the DePalma’s team agreed to hand over the recipe for the book. The Charmine Sauce was perfect on the first try and just as good when made at home as in the restaurant.”

Depalmas Pasta Athens Classic City Cooking


2) Scotch Egg from The Branded Butcher. “I love eggs and a Scotch Egg is a particular favorite,” she explained. “The recipe is super easy and oh-so-good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The celery root remoulade is an incredible (and genius) accompaniment.”



3) Bangers and Mash from The Royal Peasant. “My husband insisted we test this one ourselves. It’s elevated comfort food at its best. The flavors in this dish are amazing. The savory turmeric really stands out and is a wonderful compliment to the creamy mash.”

Bangers and Mash Royal Peasant Athens

The official book launch for Classic City Cooking is Saturday, May 14, at LRG Provisions in Athens.

Purchase tickets here! The ticket price of $40 includes a copy of the book (a $29.95 value), open bar, and tasty passed bites from the talented chefs at LRG. Classic City Cooking can also be purchased from Avid BookshopFor more information, like Classic City Cooking on Facebook and follow Juanina on Instagram. We’ll also give away one ticket to the book launch party. Leave a comment below to enter!