ATLANTA — "What'll ya have? What'll ya have? What'll ya have?" That mantra is as familiar to Georgians as the Pledge of Allegiance, and many have heard it since childhood. Since 1928, The Varsity restaurant has been welcoming diners with that question and serving up fresh, made-from-scratch fare like burgers, dogs, french fries and maybe the world's best onion rings from its landmark location at North Ave. and Spring St. in downtown Atlanta.
Billed as the world's largest drive-in, the downtown Varsity serves as many as 30,000 people per day, dishing up two miles of hot dogs, 300 gallons of chili, a ton of onion rings, 2,500 pounds of potatoes and 5,000 made-from-scratch fruit turnovers daily. The restaurant is the single-largest dispenser of "Coca-Cola" in the world and has been for years.
The two-story building seats 800 diners in a handful of rooms configured to accommodate everyone from singles-on-the-go to large parties. The five-acre lot covers two city blocks, with room to park 600 vehicles. Carhops — comedian Nipsey Russell got his start here — still provide curbside service, and about 10-15 percent of diners take advantage of that.
Entertainers (even Elvis Presley) and a long list of U.S. presidents have long loved The Varsity. It's well worth a visit. Open Sunday to Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Friday to Saturday until 11:30.