Severo Avila

Severo Avila is Features Editor at the Rome News-Tribune.

My friends will be mad at me for telling everyone about it but I feel like the rest of the community needs to know about this place.

It's a little Mexican restaurant called Antigua and it's right next to the East Rome Walmart.

If you already know about it, great. But there's some folks who I'm sure have never been there. I hadn't until recently. But I highly recommend it.

First of all, I judge most Mexican restaurants on three things — the freshness of their tortilla chips, how good their street tacos are and if they wipe down their menus with that gross dishwater rag so that they're sticky and smell terrible when you open them.

Well this place passes those categories with flying colors. The tortilla chips are thin and crispy with the perfect amount of salt on them. It's like the chips at Chili's. I could eat a million of 'em. And the authentic or "street" tacos are ON POINT — in particular the Tacos Al Pastor (seasoned pork) are delectable.

You know how sometimes you'll go to a restaurant (of any type) and you can tell they just now wiped down the menus before you got there? They dipped that same rag in that same container of water and wiped down the pages of the menu. So when you go to open the menu the pages stick together and smell like dishwater? Well that hasn't happened to me at Antigua and I've been there several times.

Anyhow, they have a little outdoor area and a little bar. And I guess because it's not a huge place, there aren't so many tables that you're sitting there for an hour waiting for service. I've always had great service when I've gone there.

So if you get a chance and you've never been there, give it a shot. Y'all know I love finding good food all over Rome and Floyd County. I'm adding Antigua to the list of places I'll go and tell my friends about.

Switching up gears a little, have y'all had a chance to see the inside of the Vogue building on Broad Street? The newspaper has done several stories about its renovation and published photos of the outside but until recently, I hadn't been inside.

My first time seeing it was at a recent fundraiser, Rome for the Rescues. Y'all it's a beautiful space and perfect for hosting events of all sorts. The hardwood floors are beautiful and it's so open and airy and spacious. At the event I went to, there were a couple hundred people upstairs and downstairs, there were bars upstairs and downstairs and a DJ was playing upstairs. The big open space was perfect for schmoozing and dancing.

Y'all actually have a chance to see and experience the space this coming Friday. On July 27 Rome International Film Festival is hosting its inaugural summer fundraiser, Starstruck to help raise funds for this year's festival. Tickets are $45 and are available online at Tickets include entry to the event, drinks and a specially themed appetizer menu provided by Harvest Moon.

So get your friends together, buy tickets and come out to the event. I'll be there. Come say hi. Come support the film festival AND see the inside of this very cool building.

My third local discovery (which I'm sure many people have known about for quite a while) is the River City Antique Mall. I had never been there till a few weeks ago. Y'all, this place is pretty dang cool. Remember that cavernous antique mall that used to be on North Broad Street that was torn down? Well this one's similar. It's on Spider Webb Drive and it's essentially a massive warehouse partitioned off in sections. Individual booths are set up by people who hunt around at estate sales and other places for the coolest antiques and collectibles, then they sell it out of this place. If you're looking for interesting or old pieces for your home, give this place a shot. There are some very unique and cool items for sale. May I suggest, in particular, that you visit the booths run by the beautiful Kathy Mathis, wife of Lindale Mafia member (and all-around great guy) David Mathis, as well as a lady named Joyce Lewis. They both have a great eye for antiques.

So if you've never gone to any of these local places, give them a try. Explore our city and our county and you might be surprised at some of the things you'll find.


Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune