The Varsity

The Varsity

Combo Meal #1 on a Varsity car hop tray, 2016.

Frank Gordy opened the Varsity as “The Yellow Jacket” in 1928, catering to students of nearby Georgia Tech. Eighty-eight years later, the Varsity claims to be the “world’s largest drive-in” and is a must-do for locals, tourists, and visiting dignitaries. Everyone is still greeted with the Varsity’s signature welcome, “What’ll ya have?” and on game days the restaurant serves over 30,000 people.

Curb men attend to hungry customers under the canvas awnings at the drive-in, 1941.

Over the years, the drive-in’s “curb men” have become part of the Varsity experience. The most famous was Flossie Mae who sang the menu to customers for fifty years. Television and movie star Nipsy Russell got his start at the Varsity as car hop #46.

"Many people do not pass through Atlanta without stopping for a chili dog and Varsity Orange drink."
—Michael McPherson, Community submission to Atlanta in 50 Objects

The ordering lingo for this Atlanta icon is another part of its charm:

Naked dog walking – plain hot dog on a bun

F.O. – frosted orange

P.C. – plain chocolate milk always served with ice

Glorified steak – hamburger with mayo, lettuce, and tomato

But the Varsity is perhaps best known for its chili dogs and onion rings.

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