'What'll ya have?' The Varsity celebrates its 90th anniversary

The Varsity celebrates 90 years of 'What'll ya Have'

ATLANTA, Ga. — ”What’ll ya have?” One of the metro’s most iconic restaurants is turning 90 years old.

The Varsity has been an Atlanta institution since Calvin Coolidge was in the White House.

Louis Frank Jones got his first job as a carhop at the tender age of 17.

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"You could make more money in tips than the average person was making on a job,” Jones said.

“Mister Frank” is now 87, and he still works at The Varsity.

"What'll ya have?  What'll ya have?" That’s how every customer has been greeted here since 1928.

The midtown Atlanta eatery became the largest drive-in restaurant in the country.  It was founded by Frank Gordy.

"I think he would be surprised that we were able to keep it going because he thought he was the only one who could do this,” said Gordon Muir, the president of The Varsity and Gordy's grandson.


It’s the kind of place where you might run into your mailman, or maybe a President of the United States or ‘The King’ Elvis Presley.

"Get to meet new people every day. Yes, sir. Then I get to eat the frosted orange too,” carhop Fred Stewart said.

And a chili dog. And a slaw dog. And onion rings.

"I think it's just that your grease 'low level light' comes on and you gotta get greased up a little bit,” longtime customer Joe Bartenfeld said.

Now, The Varsity celebrates its 90th birthday. It all began three years before Mister Frank was born.

"Well, I wish I could answer why it has endured. There's something about it. They're still coming to get those hot dogs," he said.

The Varsity is throwing itself a birthday party on Saturday. Every item on the menu will be 90 cents from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. The restaurant is also raising $90,000 for the Shepherd Center to help veterans with brain injuries.