Atlanta Dining: The Varsity

The Varsity
61 North Ave NW, Atlanta, GA

I’m in the Atlanta metro area this week. Having heard about The Varsity on a number of travel and food shows on TV, I knew I had to make a pilgrimage to this place. Now in its 80th year, the legendary fast food restaurant is most known for the fact that it is the largest operating drive-in restaurant in the world — Sonic couldn’t even try to hold a candle to this place, even if it tried.

As it turns out The Varsity has a branch in Alpharetta, right across the street from the Marriott Suites where I am staying. So what exactly would possess me to drive over 20 miles south down GA-400 to go to another one? Read on.

The original Downtown Atlanta location of The Varsity.

The big V sign can be seen very clearly off the highway. V for Victory! I found it!

Are you ready for some legendary Atlanta hamburgers and hot dogs? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

A view of the Varsity drive-in lot from the upper parking level for the eat-in restaurant.

The Varsity is known for its friendly car-hops. You can hear them walking the lot with their calls of “yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-elp?” Which can be roughly translated as “Are you being helped?”

Downtown Atlanta’s tallest buildings surround the classic drive-in.

And this particular corporate headquarters looms ominously.

The menu, which is fairly self-explanatory.

According to the Varsity website, every day, the original location sells more than two miles of hotdogs, a ton of onion rings, 2500 pounds of fresh cut potatoes, 5000 homemade fried pies, and 300 gallons of chili, all of which are made from scratch.

Slaw dog and French Fries. The fries, which still have the skins, are quite good indeed.

The slaw dog is a very Southern variant of the hot dog, and its mighty tasty too.

The double chili and cheese burger. Outstanding.


A view from inside the restaurant.

Today was St. Patrick’s Day, so it was particularly busy.

Drink Dr. Pepper! Yeah, right. Not these days!

Now that’s a serious queue.

Boy am I glad I got my food outside!

Maybe I’ll save that chocolate shake for the branch in Alpharetta!

Which, later on that day, I did. I’m not sure if there is a quadruple-thick or quintuple-thick shake category, but if there was, this would definitely rank high on that list. It’s so thick that the ice cream essentially laughs at the straw that’s stuck into it.

Shake, after allowing to melt for ten minutes.

11 Responses to Atlanta Dining: The Varsity

  1. Jon says:


    So you find any good Fried Chicken yet?

  2. Melissa says:

    Tuesday will be a trip to Watershed in Decatur which holds the title of Atlanta’s best fried chicken … Watershed is owned by Scott Peacock, cookbook author and chef of all things southern …

  3. I have actually had good fried chicken, at Mary Mac’s tea room. Will be posted shortly.

  4. daland says:

    Whadaya have!!? The Varsity Rocks! We go at least once per month, whether we need it or not. Oh, and welcome to Atlanta ya’ll!

  5. John Fox says:

    How was the actual dog itself? I know the Varsity is known for chili dogs and slaw dogs, but did you taste the dog naked? How would it compare to what we have in N.Y./N.J.?

  6. You didn’t get a frosted orange!!! I am very disappointed. You can’t go to the varsity without trying the frosted orange. Shame on you.

  7. gam22222 says:

    Yep, being an Atlanta native, you missed out by not getting onion rings & a frosted orange. Man, I miss The Varsity – although will admit that I can’t go there more than once every couple of months.

  8. I can still get a Frosted Orange, the Alpharetta Varsity is across the street.

  9. […] that Chili Burger craving. Hell, the last time I had a real chili burger was back in August at The Varsity in Atlanta. This one was just as good, and nowhere near as bad for you. The only way I could […]

  10. FinanceBuzz says:

    Varsity is awesome! I eat there mostly in the falls before Georgia Tech football games. The football stadium is just across the interstate down North Avenue. GO JACKETS!!

  11. Jeff says:

    You were right heading to the Varsity downtown instead of the Alpharetta location. It’s more about the experience than the food, although the food is worth the trip alone. I’ll still give the Alpha location my business when I gotta have what’ll ya have…. that and when traffic to downtown is backed up to Tennessee!

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