Get the story on this legendary Atlanta food joint.
The Varsity has been an Atlanta, Georgia icon for over 85 years. It has a deeply entrenched history in Atlanta. The restaurant was started in 1928 by Frank Gordy. After dropping out from Georgia Tech and taking a cross-country trip, Gordy observed ways of serving fast food from all over and incorporated them at the Varsity.
Gordy bought a little building just across the North Avenue bridge from Georgia Tech’s campus and started as just a hot dog stand. It wasn’t much, but it would continue to grow over the next few decades. By 1950, the Varsity had claimed the title of the world’s largest drive-in restaurant.
The parking lot still can hold 600 cars, and inside the restaurant, 800 people. On busy days, the restaurant has been known to serve over 30,000 people. That’s a whole lot of chili dogs.
Another classic part of the Varsity is the ordering lingo. The restaurant is known for it. Apparently, it started in the 1930s when customers flooded the registers, and employees needed to get through them quickly. Sayings like “what’ll ya have?” and a variety of nicknames for entrees are expected when you go to the restaurant.
In Atlanta, a lot of things have changed over time. The Varsity, however, has been a staple of the city, sitting in the heart of downtown for almost 90 years.
Visiting the Varsity before a big game, or anytime for a quick, delicious meal is more than just dining out, it’s experiencing an iconic part of Atlanta’s culture. Now, with six locations and growing The Varsity is the nearly 90-year-old fun place to eat that keeps getting better with age.
This downtown treasure keeps things simple and keeps its patrons coming back decade after decade. What’ll ya have?