Varsity under contract to open restaurant in Rome, mayor says

The Varsity is under contract for a parcel of land that could bring the Atlanta favorite to Rome, says the North Georgia city’s mayor.

Craig McDaniel, who also is a commercial agent with the Floyd County city’s Toles, Temple & Wright real estate agency, said he and the Varsity leadership have been in talks about a Rome location for the past three months.

“They have found a location,” the city leader said. “I can’t disclose the location, but it is within the city limits of Rome. And they have a piece of property under contract and are moving forward.”

Founded in 1928, the Varsity is an Atlanta fast-food dining institution that has hosted presidents, sports heroes and movie stars and is known for its colorful “What’ll Ya Have?” greeting. The chain has six locations, including two at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and plans to open two more soon in the Athens area, according to its website.

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A spokeswoman for the chain could not be immediately reached Sunday to verify plans to open in Rome.

McDaniel said the possibility of a Varsity location in Rome comes as the city of roughly 40,000 is growing, with new single-family homes and apartments on the way after years of stagnant housing development. The city also has a low unemployment rate and, like many communities in the nation, is struggling to fill open positions.

A Varsity location in Rome would allow residents to get their fill of the chain’s hot dogs, burgers and frosted orange shakes without having to drive 50 miles south to the nearest site in Kennesaw or 70 miles to the original store on North Avenue.

“When I was growing up, every time we went to Atlanta, we went to the Varsity,” McDaniel said. “For them to come up to Rome ... they are coming to a very vibrant, growing community.”

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