Is The Varsity in Atlanta Home of the Best Burger in the South?

70 burger experts say yes

The Varsity in Atlanta.

The burger is one of the most, if not the most quintessential America dishes. As Hamburger America author George Motz told us, “Americans are intensely proud of their hamburger heritage, probably because it’s widely known that the burger is an American invention. The burger also carries a lot of weight in the nostalgia department and is the ultimate portable comfort food available everywhere.”

We at The Daily Meal recently published our 101 Best Burgers in America for 2015. Building on last year’s list, we assembled a poll that included almost 250 burgers from across the United States, from Hollywood, Florida, to Anchorage, Alaska. 70 burger experts then voted for their favorites, and we published the top 101. A very impressive 21 can be found in the South (about 20 percent of the total list), and the highest-ranking burger from the region can be found in Atlanta.

The Varsity was not included on our list because it claims to be the world’s largest drive-in, or because it’s one of the few restaurants in America that still employs carhops. No, neither is it The Varsity’s staying power (founder Frank Gordy launched it with a $2,000 nest egg and "million dollar taste buds" in 1928) and its expansion to some eight locations in the greater Atlanta and Athens areas. It’s because it sells one of the country’s most idiosyncratic burgers: the double chili cheeseburger. There’s something going on with the buns ‘round these parts — they get condensed and sweeter once find yourself in Atlanta. Make no mistake, this is a greasy cheeseburger, more compact than most double cheeseburgers, but one whose sloppy, cheesy saltiness all comes together in a solid, but proportionately fluid burger, both texturally and flavor-wise. No wonder it’s one of America’s best burgers (and for just $4.08). 


The Varsity’s Double Chili Cheeseburger is so good, it came in at #4 on our list, out-scoring 20 other burgers in the South from Charleston; Miami; Nashville; New Orleans; Washington, D.C.; and various other towns and cities throughout the Carolinas, Florida, and Virginia. This means that, according to our experts, not only is The Varsity’s Double Chili Cheeseburger the fourth-best burger in the country and the very best in the city of Atlanta, it’s also the best to be found in the entire Southern region of the United States.