The Varsity

The Varsity - Atlanta, GA - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

“What’ll have? What’ll have? What’ll have?” Those words have been ringing out at the Varsity on the corner of Spring Street and North Avenue since 1928.  Before moving to the south I had never heard of the Varsity.  Becky rectified that situation and took me to the landmark on one of our first trips to Atlanta.

Since that first trip more have followed with Mason and Miss Julia in tow.  Each of their first trips was something special and I vividly remember them each eating a hotdog while wearing a white paper Varsity hat.

The Varsity - Atlanta, GA - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

While back to Florida from a business meeting in Atlanta my co-worker, Pattie, confessed despite living in Atlanta for a period of time she had never eaten at the Varsity.  A look of disbelief crept over my face as we slowly made our way along I-75, and I knew where we would be eating dinner.

Slashing across several lanes of traffic I swung the car off the highway and towards the Varsity.  We parked under the deck and made for the Spring Street entrance.  Evening was settling in on Atlanta and the neon letters above the doors glowed in a warm red.  The familiar call from the cashiers echoed through the expansive lobby as we queued up and mentally prepared to order.

The Varsity - Atlanta, GA - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

Pattie is a notoriously finicky eater and decided to go with a plain hamburger and fries.  I ordered two chili dogs, a side or rings, and a coke.  Before scanning my debit card I added a slaw dog to the mix.  Our food was ready in minutes and we made our way towards the upstairs dining area and settled at a table on the side of the walkway.

The two chili dogs peered at me from the bright red paper plate.  Each was slathered in meaty chili and topped with a line of yellow mustard.  The slaw dogs covered in bits of cabbage, carrots, and mayo-based dressing shared a plate with a stack of onion rings that teetered out of their small cardboard holder.

The Varsity - Atlanta, GA - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

The steamed buns were soft and both the chili dogs and slaw dog tasted very good.  The greasy crunchy goodness of the piping hot onion rings doused in ketchup made a perfect sidekick to the three dogs, and I happily snacked on them until my plates were clean.

“I can’t believe you ate all of that,” remarked Pattie as she worked on her burger and fries.  I was happy to hear her give the Varsity her seal of approval, and after we bused our table we got back in the car and  headed south towards the Sunshine State.

The Varsity - Atlanta, GA - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

The Varsity is open Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.  The restaurant can be found online at, Facebook, Twitter @varsitydrivein, and contacted by telephone at (404) 881-1706.

Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating:

Atmosphere: A
Taste: A
Presentation: B
Service: A
Cleanliness: A
Price: $

The Varsity on Urbanspoon

4 thoughts on “The Varsity

  1. Hilarious. I just took my husband for our first Varsity experience on Monday. My mom went to college in Atlanta, and my dad went to school in Macon, so I’ve been hearing about it for decades. I went with one chili dog, one slaw dog, and rings. Oh, and a fried apple pie. Worth every calorie.

    • It was timely post! I love the atmosphere of the place, especially on a weekend. The food is also good, though I have never had the fried apple pie. Next time I stop in, I will have to give it a try. 🙂

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