Revisiting the Past, Every Summer

Varsity-What'll-ya-haveBy Steve Alexander • Photography by Kelley Timms

OK, we realize it’s now officially winter, so we’re here to prevent you from slipping into those “I miss the summer” blues. What better way to do that? By focusing on a summer activity, of course! We’re sure there are plenty of burger joints out there that host car shows throughout the summer months (heck maybe year ’round), and we’re here to tell you about one of the coolest!

Every generation has that special thing that they do on weekends. Could be the local barn dance, drive-in movie, or cruising the local hamburger joint. One thing they all have in common is they give you a chance to show off your prized ride. Recently, my fellow Eckler’s buddy Kelley Timms and I found that hanging out at the local burger joint, enjoying some tasty food and showing off your prized ride is alive and well at The Varsity drive-in, Athens, GA.

Varsity-car-showEven the oppressive summertime Georgia heat and humidity cannot keep the faithful away. As I looked around, I saw most of the attendees had the appropriate items required for a car show – a nice brimmed hat, sun block, sunglasses and a lawn chair. The parking lot was full with all kinds of awesome rides, including a one-owner 1965 327, 4-speed Impala with 65,659 original miles, a 1957 Chevy with a blown big-block and flaming skull quarter panel inserts, and a new C7 Corvette. Classic oldies music filled the air, and prizes were being awarded courtesy of Tommy Landrum’s “Cruzin to the Oldies”. Let’s not forget the tasty food that is only a step away. As you walk through the door, you are greeted with, “What’ll ya have? What’ll ya have? What’ll ya have? Have your order in your mind and your money in your hand!”

One of the main perks of attending a car show at the Varsity is naturally, the food. Equally important is knowing the proper nomenclature when placing an order. Let’s decode some of the magic required for their ordering system. Naked Dog = plain hot dog, Walk a dog = hotdog to go, Glorified Steak = hamburger with mayo, lettuce and tomato, F.O. = Frosted Varsity Orange, N.I.P.C. = Chocolate milk no ice, Bag of rags = potato chips, and Strings = Order of French fries. If you do not place your order correctly, you are faced with a look of distain and scorn.

The Athens Varsity opened in 1932 downtown across from the famed UGA arches, and then relocated in 1963 to its present location on Broad Street. You won’t find car hops any longer, or .5 hotdogs, but you will find people still meeting together on a Saturday night to enjoy good food, music, and comradery. Some of the cars may be newer, and some of the participants may be a little older, but a good time is had by all.

varsity_0878The Varsity hosts car shows the first Saturday night of each month, all summer long. Visit The Varsity online at The Varsity has 8 locations in and around the Atlanta, GA area.

Got a favorite burger drive-in that hosts car shows? Tell us about it: