Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Restaurant Review... "The Varsity", Atlanta, GA

Established in 1928, by Frank Gordy, The Varsity is most definately an Atlanta landmark that you MUST take visitors to when you visit this particular city.

It is touted as the world's largest drive thru 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.

I have been to The Varsity quite a few times in my life, mainly when I was a teenager. At the time I loved it! Huge onion rings, chili dogs with slaw, cheese and onions all over it. Shakes, fries, and of course... Fried Pies!

You go up the counter where the men and women taking your order practically yell at you asking your order. Then they turn around and yell at the cooks, with lots of cute "code names" like when you go to a little diner. The conveyer belt bringing out the food was fun to watch too, I never figured out how the servers knew when to turn around and grab that particular item off the conveyer belt. I'm assuming it's part of that secret code chatter they're always throwing around.

Of course, part of the fun of the Varsity was that I was actually going into Atlanta, which was a rare treat in itself.

I have been back just once as an adult. The reason? Age has caught up with my gastrointestinal system!

And I discovered maybe I don't like the pressure of being yelled at (even in a nice way) to give my order right quick.

I happened to have an opportunity to venture to Atlanta a while back with my entire married-into family. Family that had never had the fine cuisine at The Varsity. I went on and on about what a landmark it was and how great the food is and what an experience it would be, etc. etc.

We pulled up, and yes, for downtown Atlanta, there was plenty of parking. We walk into this huge room, filled with tables, a huge counter to order at, at least 20 lines, fully staffed, to take orders, and a souvenier shop.

I take them up to the counter where every one of them appear startled that they're suddenly being yelled at by the man behind the counter. But we persevere and place our orders. We ordered chili dogs, chili burgers, fries, onion rings, orange shakes, and the final work of art, hand made fried pies.

The tray with the order comes and we grab it and find one of the many, many tables to sit at. They have different rooms with different channels on each one... CNN being a main room of course. But then I realize my possible error. Remembering the Golden Days of Youth, without realizing that perhaps you see things in a different way when young.

I am looking at food that you need an iron stomach for. The chili appears to give me heartburn just looking at it. The onion rings drip with oil. Everything looks limp and greasy and fattening.

I will honestly admit here that I did not enjoy the meal at all, but mainly because I was on a health kick and had recently lost a lot of weight. I was looking at 5 pounds and clogged arteries on a plate. No one else seemed to enjoy it either.

So I think the thought here is that The Varsity is a lot of fun to go to, a fine landmark, with a nice, loud atmosphere, but you need to go there with the thought in your head that you are going to enjoy the food, not count the calories.

Oh, and pack the Tums.