On everyone’s list of top to-do’s in Atlanta, the Varsity has been in operation since 1928. With its retro decor, tiled walls and famous greeting of “What’ll ya have?” this little hot dog stand is a true icon. Originally set up with nearby Georgia Tech students in mind, they have been serving customers in Atlanta since 1928.
Good to Know:
As the largest drive-in fast-food restaurant in the world, the Varsity covers almost two city blocks!
The most famous employee was Erby Walker, who worked there for 55 years until his death in 2008. He worked his way up from sweeping floors to the kitchen to the line. His line was, “Have you’re money out and your food on your mind, and I”ll get you to the game on time.”
Two miles of hot dogs, a ton of onions, 2500 lbs of potatoes, 5000 fried pies and 300 gallons of chili are made from scratch every day.
If you don’t want chili and mustard, order a “naked dog.” And a Joe-ree is coffee with cream.
Nipsy Russell started his career here in the 40s as a carhop. He earned extra tips telling jokes.
The chili dogs are usually bought in twos. Other popular items include burgers, fries, onion rings, and the Frosted Orange. This sweet, creamy, citrusy shake was aptly described by our friend Mike, in town visiting from Portland, as “a giant creamsicle in a cup.”
There are seven additional satellite locations in Georgia, but the one downtown is the original.
The Varsity Downtown
61 North Avenue
Atlanta GA 30308
Hours of Operation:
Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.