The Varsity, Atlanta

3.5 out of 5 stars 17 Reviews

61 North Ave, Atlanta, GA 30308-2103 (404) 881-1706

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  • View of the restaurant from street
    View of the restaurant from street
    by BruceDunning
  • Smal portions in the box...
    Smal portions in the box...
    by balint01
  • Eating The Varsity food at the drivers' seat
    Eating The Varsity food at the drivers'...
    by balint01
  • balfor's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: The Varsity, A local legend!

    by balfor Written Sep 2, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Varsity

    The Varsity is one of the top money making restaurants in the U.S. If I recall correctly, it is in the top 10 money making restaurants in the U.S. And it does it sheerly on volume as it's primary customers are students from Georgia State University and Georgia Tech University.

    It opened in 1928 selling hamburgers and Cokes to Georgia Tech students and was called The Yellow Jacket. The location and name proved to be too limiting, so it was relocated to a bigger facility and renamed The Varsity to accomodate more than just the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

    It is a must experience type of location, but remember it is not Haute Cuisine! They do, however, offer TV viewing rooms in addition to their main dining room. It is truly an Atlanta landmark!

    Favorite Dish: I don't know that I have a favorite dish at The Varsity as I don't go there too often. However their chili dogs and onion rings are staple of the place. And where else can you go to get a pimento and cheese sandwich?

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  • tatyanap's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: Don't forget to experience the Varsity!

    by tatyanap Updated Sep 16, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Best hot dogs, slaw, fries, anyone? Head to the Varsity!!!

    If you are not in Atlanta, just go to their website -- you will love it!

    Favorite Dish: Heavy Weight Dog -- imagine a juicy hot dog covered by hot chili and mustard! Yummy! No, not healthy! Yes, very messy!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • School Holidays
    • Study Abroad

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  • amybrooke's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: Get the Orange Drink

    by amybrooke Written Aug 28, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Varsity is an Atlanta favorite. The burgers and hotdogs are wonderfully greasy. Try the Orange drink.

    Be ready to order before you reach the counter b/c they will literally yell at you if you make them wait.

    Always a busy place right across from Ga. Tech

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: Signature Restaurant

    by grandmaR Updated Jul 8, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Varsity from the parking lot
    1 more image

    My friend came and picked me up and took me here for lunch. The restaurant has been here since the late 20s and it is a drive-in but it also has counter service inside.

    It's very tied in to the local education institutions and the local sports teams.

    It's a BIG place, but the A/C wasn't on and it was a hot day.

    The wait staff has a kind of cant that they speak and they have a special lingo/slang that they use (you can look on their website to see what it is).

    After you order, you find a table to sit.

    Favorite Dish: They have hot dogs, chili dogs, hamburger, and steak sandwiches, but they also have egg salad and tuna salad. I think I may have either had a hot dog or egg salad.

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  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: Curb service is still alive

    by rexvaughan Written Jul 21, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A

    The Varsity is an Atlanta institution. It was founded in 1928 across the street from Georgia Tech by a Mr. Gordy. Legend says the dean called him into his office to tell him he had flunked out and Gordy told him, "I will become a rich man within sight of your office window." He did in fact leave Tech, although I don't know the circumstances, telling his classmates that he would have $20,000 by the time they graduated. He had $40,000.

    There is nothing fancy (or healthy) about the cuisine. Their main claim to fame is hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, onion rings and fried pies. All are delicious.

    Favorite Dish: My favorites are the chili burgers and onion rings. As I said they are not healthy but they are all freshly prepared. The fries and onion rings are not frozen, but cut fresh on the premises. The food is no more greasy than any fat food and probably less fat than some of the chain burger places.

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  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Varsity Restaurant: Traditional Hotdog

    by BruceDunning Updated Jan 29, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View of the restaurant from street
    1 more image

    When VT fixes the upload problem, I will add pics.
    If you bad moth this place, the locals may not let you come back to town. The place has been a congregation point for locals coming downtown, and visitors going through. Frank Gordy started in 1928 as a drive-in place, in a small building. It now holds 800 inside and parking for 600 cars. You get in line inside and walk you way down the line.

    Favorite Dish: Hotdogs with chili is the necessary staple, along with a side of fires-and yea-Cherry Coke. Prices ofr the hotdogs are $1.50-2.25 and hamburgers only $1.50 to $2.60 loaded and double. So the price is right for sure. Quality is -well what do you expect for all the volume they have; it is okay. You need 2-3 dogs or burgers to fill up.
    The volume is unbelievable, but they say they can put through 30,000 a day during a Georgia Tech game. A large number of local residents stop by many times when coming to town, and keep bringing new generations.

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  • sulu88's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: World's Largest Drive-in

    by sulu88 Written Apr 6, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I went here thinking it would be the biggest drive-in in the world, but really the "drive-in" part is kind of small. The inside is really big though for everyone to eat inside. The food was pretty good. This place was really good considering the price and experience.

    Favorite Dish: The Orange slush they have is GOOD. The chili-dogs were also pretty good.

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  • dustmon's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: everybody's got their fave

    by dustmon Updated Jun 3, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    OK, everyone has their favorite meal from the big V, but this is the real deal-----
    for meat eaters, get a chili steak, a slaw dog, order of rings, and an orange drink or an FO (frosted orange)
    Veggies can get rings, cole slaw and some ketchup. :>>>
    I live closer to the Kennesaw location which has all the same stuff as downtown except the local folk are different. I also went to UGA and loved the 2 locations (at the time) in Athens.
    The main location is--61 North Avenue, downtown Atlanta, right off I-75/I-85 at 10th St.
    404-881-1706

    Favorite Dish: cheeseburger with pimiento cheese

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  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: What'll ya have?

    by goingsolo Written Apr 24, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Atlanta

    The Varsity is an institution which is more of a place to be experienced than one to visit for consumption purposes. The original Varsity opened in the 1930's I believe, and was known for its fast food and fast talking servers, who greeted customers with the now famous phrase, "What'll ya have?" This tradition continues to this day although the operation has expanded.

    Much like the movie "The Matrix", no one can be told what The Varsity is. It must be experienced. That's how I started to feel after hearing about it from so many folks in Atlanta. Finally I decided to avail myself of the Varsity experience.

    Given The Varsity's popularity and location adjacent to Georgia Tech, its a popular place. Long lines form at the walk up counter as Atlanta's faithful and curious tourists line up for a plate of heavenly grease. The menu consists of the hot dogs and hamburgers which made the place famous, along with french fries and onion rings (all are described by the order takers in Varsity slang, such as "yellow dog" for hot dog with mustard). To appeal to those who'd rather dine at The Flying Biscuit, The Varsity has added salads and chicken sandwiches to its repertoire.

    The food here is also pretty cheap, which is probably the reason for many of the repeat customers. And, for those who want the drive in dining experience, you can park at one of the

    I was told that the true Varsity experience means a chili cheese hot dog, presumably served with a free pass for a quadruple bypass, which is what I decided to do with the experience of eating a Varsity Dog.

    Favorite Dish: I opted for the bacon cheeseburger instead, served with a side of onion rings, feeling that that was a sufficient amount of grease.

    The food was great. I'd recommend The Varsity over standard fast food fare, but, all in all, it was still a burger and onion rings and nothing more. I think the experience of this place is a better reason to go. Its part of the true Atlanta experience.

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  • cvilla007's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: You must go to the Varsity - bring iron stomach!

    by cvilla007 Updated Feb 22, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Varsity is the epitome of American fast food. That being said, you know it's going to be greasy, fried, & fattening. But who cares! If you go to only one fast food spot while you're in Atlanta, please go here. Warning: it gets crazy crowded at times & it's in downtown (& it's a tourist spot) so it's best to go in the daytime. This place gets a huge crowd whenever Georgia Tech (located across the interstate bridge) has a football or basketball game.

    Favorite Dish: Chili dog, it's so good & bad for you. Only eat one a year :-)

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  • Out.in.MN's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: Skip This One

    by Out.in.MN Updated Jan 18, 2005

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nothing destroys the fun of a trip faster than stomach/digestion problems.

    Avoid this restaurant.

    The VT recommendations for this restaurant are primarily given by locals - living in/near Atlanta.

    Favorite Dish: Avoid the greasy food. Avoid the long lines.

    Take photos of this historic spot, but don't waste valuable time or risk your health.

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  • balint01's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: A Real American Experience

    by balint01 Updated Jan 14, 2009
    The Varsity box on my
    2 more images

    Even though you can take-away, or dine in at The Varsity, you definiately should choose the Drive-In solution, as it gives you a true, real American experience in the South, in the middle of Atlanta, GA.
    You drive your car in the designated area of the Parking lot, order through your window and get all your food from the guys walking around the cars on a plate, that they will install on your rolled down side window.
    You shouldn't drive away, but eat your food there, in your car - this is America...

    Favorite Dish: The food is not a long remembered culinary experience, but it's eatable every once in a while if you live close, or once for the rest of the surrounding experience if you're on the road and just drive by.
    I had a chili-cheese dog and a chili-cheese burger, with onion rings to go on the side. All servings were not relatively small as you can see on the picture as well. I chose to drink a large Chocolate shake, but of course in the shadow of the very close Coca Cola Company Building you should probably opt for Coke if you want the real American experience, they are partners since 1928 - when The Varsity was opened. Or go for the strange Varsity specialty, the orange drink if you're really brave...

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  • The Varsity: Junk food heaven

    by davidyng Written Jul 27, 2008

    I have lived in Atlanta for fourteen years.

    This place serves a lot of junk food and they do it very fast. If you have a teenage digestive system this will not be a problem. Work with me on this and think lots of grease. I do punish myself at times here.

    If you want junk food hot dogs you will be fine. If you are of Polish or Slavic descent and are wanting a weiner, expect to be sadly disappointed.

    As previous posters mentioned, take a camera and some nice shots of you standing in front of the sign. Then, eat somewhere else.

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  • alsport's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: It's certainly a dive.....

    by alsport Updated May 4, 2007

    I read some of the virtual tourist comments about this place and wasn't sure if I would have the chance to stop by for a visit but since my hotel was right across the street, it made for a convenient stop.
    I walked into the place (about 1:30 p.m. on a Friday) and the place was packed. There were people everywhere, especially in line to place their orders. It didn't take long and I got my food quickly enough. I proceeded to the back where I found an unoccupied (but dirty) table and sat down to eat.
    The burger was small.....not White Castle small....but still smaller than what I was expecting. The french fries were in one big, greasy clump. I had to literally peel the fries off of the clump to eat them. They were greasy and I'm sure there was nothing healthy about this meal but I ate it nonetheless.
    Overall.......the experience was great. The food was good. Would I go there again? Absolutely!!!!

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  • MatthewMetcalfe's Profile Photo

    The Varsity: The Best Grease in the South!

    by MatthewMetcalfe Updated Apr 8, 2005

    The Downtown Varsity is a mecca for fast food fans. Once the meal is over you can top off the oil in your car with the grease at the bottom of your Onion Ring Bowl.

    There are other Varsity restaurants around Georgia but this is the classic. It's always crowded but they move the crowds through quicker than the food will move through you (and that's fast!)

    Favorite Dish: Dogs are the favorite. Chili Dogs with a squirt of mustard and a nice bowl of onion rings cannot be beat.

    The other classic is the Frosted Orange. Try one and you'll swear it tastes like a baby aspirin smoothy.

    The VARSITY ROCKS! But don't tell my cardiologist.

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