Although not officially part of Georgia Tech campus, The Varsity restaurant that is currently located on 61 North Avenue is always regarded as an important dining tradition of Georgia Tech community since the day it opened for business in 1928. It is one of the most popular places to eat at after a Georgia Tech football game and is regarded as one of Atlanta's hot spots for food listings. Serving fast foods including their signature "chilli-cheese dawg", and classic-cut french fries, this is certainly an Atlanta favorite.
By Tech, For Tech
The restaurant was opened at the corner of Lucky and Hamphire in 1928 on a 70' X 120' lot with a white picket fence by a man named Frank Gordy; a man with a $2000 nest egg and "million dollar taste buds."Gordy graduated from Reinhardt University before beginning his studies at Georgia Tech, but he dropped out of Tech in 1925 to start his restaurant. The restaurant was originally named the Yellow Jacket, which can be easily associated with Georgia Tech and its mascot, Buzz. As the business grew, he was forced to move the restaurant to where it is now due to the crowd from Tech, and changed the name of restaurant to The Varsity, reflecting his ambition to expand the restaurant chain to other college campuses. While he didn't manage to graduate from Tech, Mr. Gordy showed his love for the college by providing fresh, cheap, yet delicious food for Tech community. Mr. Gordy created the restaurant for students who enjoy the homey environment and hot dogs at the restaurant. He always extended Tech boys credit by cashing a check and then holding it until the student could cover it.
The World Famous Drive-in
In 1950, The Varsity had 100 car hops and was titled as the world largest drive in. Now the Varsity is on more than two acres and can accommodate 600 cars and over 800 people inside. On days when the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets are playing a home game, over 30,000 people visit The Varsity.The volume of food production line is legendary: two miles of hot dogs, a ton of onions, 2500 pounds of potatoes, 5000 fried pies and 300 gallons of chili are made from scratch daily.
The Car Hops!
Identifying cars by number has always been an integral part of the Varsity Drive-In system. "Curb men" would sing and dance their way to fame. The most famous of our car hops was a man named Flossy Mae, who sang the menu to customers for over 50 years. Well known TV and Movie star Nipsy Russell also got his start at The Varsity as car hop #46.He began his entertainment career at The Varsity in the 1940s, known as The creative and resourceful Russell.He dressed in a flamboyant style and peppered his order-taking duties with jokes and amusing songs, thereby earning him extra tips.
What'll Ya Have?
"What'll ya have? Have your order in your mind and your money in your hand!" is the constant chorus one hears above the crowd noise when you walk into The Varsity. Along with 'What'll ya have?" the Varsity staff, as was common practice, developed their own jargon when calling out orders. Being a restaurant with an open grill, the customers could overhear the staff's slang and eventually began adopting it as their own when placing orders. Since there is a large number of people visiting Varsity everyday, knowing these jargon make the orders goes much smoother and in a more enjoyable way. Recognizing that the customers enjoyed being 'in on the joke' the Varsity eventually began listing its items with both their conventional and jargon references on both their overhead and printed menus Here's a list of lingo so you know they got your order right.
|Hot Dog||Hot dog with chili and mustard||Heavy Dog||Hot dog with extra chili|
|Naked Dog||Plain hot dog on a bun||MK Dog||Naked dog with mustard and ketchup|
|Regular C Dog||Hot dog with ketchup||Red Dog||Naked dog with Ketchup|
|Yellow Dog||Naked dog with mustard||Yankee Dog||Plain dog with mustard|
|Walk a Dog||Hot dog to go||Steak||Hamburger with ketchup, mustard and pickle|
|Chili Steak||Hamburger with chili||Glorified Steak||Hamburger with mayo, lettuce and tomato|
|Mary Brown Steak||Hamburger with no bun||Naked Steak||A plain steak|
|Varsity Orange||The original formula||MK Dog||Naked dog with mustard and ketchup|
|Squirt One||Varsity Orange||N.I. Orange||Varsity Orange with no ice|
|F.O.||Frosted Varsity Orange||Yankee Dog||Plain dog with mustard|
|Jow-ree||Coffee with cream||P.C.||Plain chocolate milk always served with ice|
|All the Way||With onions-Can be a hot dog, chili, steak, etc||N.I.P.C.||Chocolate milk with no ice|
|Bag o' Rags||Potato Chips||Ring One||Order of Onion Rings|
|Strings||An order of french fries||Sideways||Onions on the side|
More information on The Varsity can be found by viewing this video about Georgia Tech Traditions to see an example of The Varsity's interaction with Tech.
- ↑ The varsity, retrived from http://www.thevarsity.com
- ↑ Frank Gordy, retrived form http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Gordy
- ↑ What ya'll have:a history of the varsity
- ↑ Varsity lingo,from http://www.thevarsity.com/history.php?action=lingo