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Varsity announces plans for restaurant in Dawson
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If all goes as planned, the words “What’ll ya have?” will begin ringing in Dawson County before Christmas.


Last week, the Varsity announced plans to open a Varsity Jr. location along Ga. 400 in Dawsonville, though no plans have been submitted to the county planning department.


“We have had some preliminary discussions, but no plans have been submitted,” said Dawson County Planning Director David McKee.


Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County, said the organization has been working for several months with an architect for the Varsity.


“In this location they’ll be bringing a new version while maintaining the Varsity Jr. look with a new style and a new floor plan,” Auvermann said. “Pretty soon, they’ll be coming to the planning staff with the plans and the new concept for the building.”


The Varsity has owned about 2 acres on Ga. 400 north of Applebee’s, between Auto Zone and The Outside World, for about four years, according to John Browne, company vice president.


“We’re in the process of trying to work with authorities [in Dawson],” Browne said. “We’re hoping to have something in front of them very soon, hopefully by the beginning of September. We’re very excited to get the process started.”


The official announcement to open the Dawsonville location came at the heels of the city of Atlanta placing restrictions on plans to remodel the Varsity Jr. on Lindbergh Drive.


According to a letter to customers on The Varsity’s Web site, an agreement with Atlanta could not be reached and the Lindbergh location will close Aug. 22.


“This has been one of the hardest decisions the Varsity family has had to make in our 82 years of operation,” management wrote in the letter. “The Varsity Jr. has been around for 45 years and is a favorite of northside Atlantans.”


Mike Berg, chairman of the Dawson County commission, said he’s sure the Varsity’s world-renowned “naked dogs” and signature Varsity Orange soon will become favorites in Dawson County.


“We’re extremely happy they’d pick our county,” he said.


On Monday, Browne said contractors are ready to break ground as soon as the permitting is in place.


Auvermann said he does not anticipate any roadblocks in the permitting process.


“They already own the land. It’s pretty much construction ready. The roads, sewer and water are there now,” he said. “It should move quickly, and we’re quite thrilled they decided to move forward.”


Browne said he was not sure how many jobs the new restaurant would bring to the county.


“We will be hiring locally ... a wide range of employees,” he said.


According to Auvermann, the restaurant will be a major attraction for shoppers and draw customers from the entire region.


“The Varsity is not just an Atlanta icon, it is a Georgia tradition,” he said. “They know a thing or two about running a successful business.


“Maybe this move will get some of the other companies we have been talking with off the fence about opening in Dawson County.”