The battle of Mercer Village Restaurants

With the expansion of the Lofts at Mercer Village, students and community members now have a variety of dining options in the Village. Luckily, the restaurants are so conveniently located to one another, that one does not have to answer the age-old question: tacos or pizza? But which restaurant rules them all? The Cluster has information on each Village restaurant to help you decide.
Francar’s Buffalo Wings
Carl and Sharon Fambro moved their wing restaurant from Log Cabin Drive to Mercer Village three years ago, proving that married couples can make good business partners. Francar’s offers more than 40 original sauces for their wings, strips and chicken fingers. The most popular? According to Carl Fambro, Mercer Gold is popular on anything. The restaurant also features Southern favorites like macaroni and cheese, fried okra and collard greens. Fambro says the restaurant is unique because it has a college theme. “We invite students to bring in college T-shirts, pictures,  (and)hats to make it a place they’re comfortable coming to,” saod Fambro. Fambro also tries to keep up with the ever-changing demands of college students. To accommodate vegetarian patrons, he has added veggie burgers to the menu and introduced the chicken strips because of their popularity. The restaurant has also added fried pickle chips, grilled chicken and vastly increased the amount of macaroni and cheese to keep up with demand. Francar’s is now offering two new sauces: Smoking Teriyaki and Flaming Caribbean, and patrons can now get their strips with spicy breading.
Jittery Joe’s
This popular coffee shop was introduced to Mercer Village in 2008. Caleb Morton, a barista at Jittery Joe’s, said the shop is unique because all of their coffee is handcrafted. As a matter of fact, everything in Jittery Joe’s is homemade, and they will have homemade soups to add to the mix soon. Morton also believes Jittery Joe’s has unique customer service. “We’re so willing to talk to people…it’s a welcoming environment,” he said. While students can get an astonishing variety of coffees, frozen coffees, fruit shakes, teas, muffins and pastries at Jittery Joe’s, they can also pick up a sandwich and chips. The most popular sandwich is the classic turkey and cheese, Morton said, and the Frosty Joe (the answer to a Frappuccino), is always a hit as well. Senior Matt Townsend frequents Jittery Joe’s “because it’s convenient and the prices are cheaper than other coffee shops in Macon. Aside from the food, Jittery Joe’s is a favorite meeting and studying spot for Mercer students.
Margarita’s at Mercer Village
This Mexican restaurant opened a branch in Mercer Village in August 2011. It is one of the restaurants housed on the first floor of the Lofts at Mercer Village, and it has become a favorite of Mercer students. And with its lunch specials and happy hours, it’s not hard to see why. Several social fraternities and sororities have also rented it out for functions. It is the only restaurant in Mercer Village to feature a full bar. Some favorites include any and all nachos offered and the “taco loco,” a huge taco shell filled with taco goodness and topped with melted white cheese. Senior Emily Garrott is a frequent visitor of Margarita’s.
Fountain of Juice
This sandwich, soup and smoothie shop has been open since mid-July 2011. Employee Brandon Bish said the restaurant is unique because it features fresh ingredients and all produce is organic and bought from local farmers. The most popular menu items are the turkey apple swiss Panini, the California club and the classic chicken salad sandwich. Along with a variety of smoothies, the shop features carrot, apple and celery juice. Patrons can choose from a variety of sandwiches, salads, soups, smoothies, breakfast foods and entrees like pasta and fish tacos. Bish said the most popular smoothies are the Ultimate Breakfast (made with banana, orange, blueberries, flax and protein) and the Detox (made with pomegranate, orange and banana). Supplements like protein or flax can be added to any smoothie. “It’s really fresh and delicious,” Bish said. He also said the restaurant does not feature fried food, which he says is prominent in the area. Another former employee said he has not worked at FOJ for several months but still visits to get food regularly. “It’s addicting,” he said.
Ingleside Village Pizza
Another restaurant transplanted from another Macon location to Mercer Village, Ingleside Village Pizza has been open in its Village location for about four years. Their pizza dough is made on site daily, and they also serve salads, subs and breadsticks smothered in garlic butter and Parmesan cheese. Patrons can build their own slices of pizza or choose from the special options like White pizza (with spinach, garlic, ricotta cheese and mushrooms) or the Ultimate Village (with…well…everything). IVP also has the self-proclaimed “largest selection of imported beer in Macon.” The restaurant also has a selection of domestic beer and wine. Senior Kruti Desai visits Ingleside frequently.