The Varsity food is demonically passed in both flavor and presentation. This disastrous time capsule of segregation and unseasoned food used to have Black people working inside, who had to eat outside because they weren’t allowed to dine indoors. Reading articles about their old Black employees reminiscing about the good old days in the AJC articles was both insulting and infuriating. I wonder if they’ve ever made any attempts to deal with their racist past. Can someone tell me if they issued an official apology for that bull#$%^ or if they’re pretending it didn’t happen by slapping southern nostalgia on the wall like their culinary cousin, The Cracker Barrel and writing articles about a nearly 90-year-old Black men who just LOVED working for good ole Mr. Gordy!
The brand started with Mr. Frank Gordy slinging burgers and hotdogs near Georgia Tech and now it’s grown into a sheer temple of disgusting food and service delivered by workers best described as the characters from “Get Out” come to life.
Now, let’s get into the stuff they call food here. I would take McDonald’s any day over almost any item on this menu. How in the world could they have existed from 1928, until now, and never fixed this menu? Like, not even try.
We started out with their ghastly chili. I’ve had canned versions better than this. The breads tasted like a super cheap private label baker for Family Dollar. I ordered almost everything off the menu and the onion rings were the only thing halfway edible. Even the super salty, ultra-processed French fries were nasty. Like, how? The watered down cream smoothie thing was gross.
This food is so bad, if you visit ATL and someone suggests going to the Varsity, you need to seriously reevaluate your relationship. If you do go, prepare for one of the most unflattering culinary experiences of your life. You’re in for a real treat. Dog treat that is. The food in many respects, and I know it’s mean, tastes like dog food. (Yes, I’ve eaten dog food before. Long story on that one.)
Like Cracker Barrell, the space has all types of “Good Ole Days” décor. There is not a smidgen of meaningful nostalgia or ode to the civil rights legacy that Atlanta is known for. They don’t even have a vintage Black model in this museum devoid of anything Black. Yet, just like in 1928, Black folks with major “Get Out” vibes work here, feeding droves of folks who don’t look like them. I have no idea why Atlanta likes this place. It is a disaster through and through and I am only smiling in this photo because I love life.
In fact, the only reason we visited was because several folks, including a really compelling woman, told us they had a Black co-owner. What a lie that turned out to be. The only time this place mentions Black folks is if referring to some old servant from the days where Mr. Willie or some name like that, would yell across the counter how hard he works to get the Georgia Tech students to the game on time.
Because of its age, The Varsity may account for the many underwhelming spots in the city. Maybe some sort of contagious curse or hex from their racist past. The first thing they need to do is publicly apologize for their racist past with some form of reconciliation inside, followed by a complete overhaul of that disgusting menu before anyone Black eats here. Unless and until that happens, I wouldn’t come back here if they gave this stuff away. We give the varsity a .5 out of 5.