Varsity Jr. Closing On Lindbergh

11:50 PM, Aug 12, 2010   |    comments
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  • The Varsity was named Atlanta's best place for cheap eats in 2010, according to AOL readers.
  • The Varsity Jr. opened on Lindbergh Drive in Atlanta 45 years ago.

ATLANTA -- One of Atlanta's best known and best loved institutions is closing its doors after 45 years in the same location.

The family that owns The Varsity has told 11Alive reporter Jeff Hullinger, they will close The Varsity Jr. at Lindbergh and Cheshire Bridge in two weeks.

An emotional Gordon Muir said with voice choking, "I worked here as a young man, this place means so much to us. It's been here a long time."

Gordon Muir is the son of Nancy Gordy Simms, the daughter of Frank Gordy, the founder of The Varsity.

The family has spent months fomulating a plan to build a new Varsity Jr. on the Lindbergh lot. The wanted to demolish the old facility and move it back on the property. Included in the new design, a playground, a green space, bike racks and trees. The new building would also have a circular drive through window.

After months of negotiations with the city of Atlanta, talks broke off.

The city would not issue a permit for the new building. They wanted to offer one driveway for the new building as opposed to the three that currently serve The Varsity Jr.

Gordon Muir said, " I can't speak for the city and I don't want to shed bad light but we had to move on. It wasn't worth it to us to hire attorney's."

Supporters of the Varsity Junior have now started an online petition to try to save the restaurant. You can sign it by clicking here.

Mr. Muir sent communication to the mayor's office trying to resolve the issue but months after their last talks with the city, the family has decided to move it's Varsity Jr. to Dawson County. They will take the same plans that were to be used in Atlanta and instead build across from The North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall.

A sampling of lunchtime diners hearing the news of The Varsity Jr.'s closing were met with shock and dismay.

Calvin King told Hullinger, "This is a landmark in our city, you've got to be kidding."

Scott Foster said, " I own a little plumbing business and this is one of those places I always look forward to having a hot dog, a coke and relaxin."

As for the city,  Director of Planning Charletta Wilson-Jacks e-mailed Hullinger:

"The Varsity is a valued and renowned Atlanta institution. The City of Atlanta considers the restaurant to be a true treasure to citizens and visitors alike and it is not our intention to have the Varsity restaurant close it's doors. The City of Atlanta's Office of Planning received an application regarding the Varsity Jr. on February 18 and staff completed its review and sent comments back within 30 days. In the application, it was proposed to demolish and reconstruct a new restaurant.  As such, new city planning regulations would be in effect and limit the number and size of driveways from the street.  Although the Office of Planning has not received any related correspondence since early April, staff is more than willing to meet with Mr. Muir next week to attempt to reach a viable solution to maintain the Varsity, Jr. business."

Meanwhile, The Varsity Jr. is scheduled to close August 23rd.

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