A pic I don’t think I’d come across before — Atlanta’s storied Varsity, on North Avenue by Georgia Tech, back when it was new.
The Varsity is a restaurant chain, iconic in the modern culture of Atlanta, Georgia. The main branch of the chain is the largest drive-in fast food restaurant in the world.
Originally named “The Yellow Jacket,’ The Varsity was established in 1928 at the corner of Luckie Street and Hemphill Avenue in Midtown Atlanta. Its founder, Frank Gordy, a Reinhardt University graduate, briefly attended The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) but dropped out in 1925. Then, as now, the restaurant catered heavily to Georgia Tech students.
As the business grew, Gordy was forced to move the restaurant to 61 North Avenue (on the northwest corner of Spring Street) to accommodate the crowds; the present structure now covers two city blocks. It was here that the name was changed to “The Varsity,” reflecting his desire to expand to other college campuses. During the drive-in era, The Varsity began its curbside service, which continues to this day.
The current location in Atlanta is now adjacent to the Downtown Connector’s interchange with North Avenue. When that freeway (now I-75/85) was built by GDOT, it took out several blocks of Williams Street and much of The Varsity’s western parking lot, forcing a parking garage to be erected as a replacement. The restaurant and the Georgia Tech campus sit on opposite sides of the Connector, linked by the North Avenue bridge.