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‘What’ll ya have’

Varsity Jr. opens local site

POSTED: May 11, 2011 4:00 a.m.
Michele Hester Dawson Community News/

Frank Huber, left, and Jason Jarrett were the first through the door Monday when the Varsity Jr. opened in Dawsonville. Jarrett, who sported a shirt he made to mark the eatery’s opening, said he wanted to be able to tell his grandchildren about the accomplishment.

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Growing up in Atlanta, Joyce Harris remembers being “courted” at the world-famous Varsity on North Avenue.

 

“When I dated, we would always go to the Varsity,” the Cumming woman said. “I’ve been waiting 20-something years for today, so I had to be here before they opened.”

 

Harris was among about four dozen people waiting outside when the Varsity Jr. opened Monday morning in Dawsonville.

 

“Nobody believed I’d do it and be here — somebody take my picture,” she said.

 

It was childhood memories that brought Frank Huber of Dawsonville and friend Jason Jarrett to the new eatery at 6 a.m. They were first in line.

 

Huber said he always looked forward to special shopping trips to Atlanta with his family, because he knew he’d get to go to the Varsity.

 

“We’d get a new pair of blue jeans and a new pair of shoes, and then we’d go to Varsity to eat and that was the big deal,” Huber said. “I mean that was something back then.”

 

More than 50 years later, he still orders the same meal: “Two chili dogs, onion rings and chocolate milk.”

 

Varsity is a tradition Huber has shared with his children and grandchildren, who will be in town next weekend and are planning a trip to the restaurant.

 

“When I said they were opening, they said, ‘Good, we can take the grandkids,’” he said.

 

That so many Georgians have memories of the Varsity was part of the lure of a Dawsonville site, according to company president Gordon Muir.

 

“When we built the store in Alpharetta, we kind of had that feeling that people really didn’t know what the Varsity was – the demographic was a little different,” Muir said. “We felt like up here, there are a lot more born and raised Georgians, and I think that’s going to be really beneficial for us — having the people with the history.”

 

The 4,550-square-foot restaurant near Ga. 400 and Carlisle Road features a new layout that is complemented by fixtures and décor typical of Varsity in Atlanta.

 

The signature Varsity lingo is also ever present, as Douglas Bibbs, yells out “What’ll ya have” when customers walk up to the counter.

 

“They call me ‘Mr. Varsity,’” said Bibbs, who has been serving up favorites for more than 27 years and is considered the face of the company.

 

“I love this new Varsity. It is so beautiful on the inside. And I love the customers I’m serving already here.”

 

Varsity Jr. also hired about 30 new, local employees who have been in training the past month.

 

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