With a $1,860 nest egg Frank Gordy leased a house at 55 North Avenue, and constructed a small brick building in its front yard. Gordy felt he could take advantage of the foot traffic from the trolley stop at Peachtree Street and North Avenue. The 14-by-35 foot building had a six stool counter inside and a walk up window. With his eyes on the future, Gordy named his restaurant "The Varsity", theorizing that he would eventually use his food formula at other locations. The Day The Varsity opened its doors, it served about 300 customers.
This ledger of accounts from the first four months of The Varsity's operation is a testament to the immediate success of the restaurant. On the first day of business, the restaurant made $47.30. Keep in mind that at that time, hot dogs were just 5 cents each. The most expensive items on the menu cost only 10 cents. Even on October 28, 1929, the day of the stock market crash that began the Great Depression, The Varsity posted $68.30 in receipts.
Gordy opened his second Varsity restaurant at 101 College Avenue in Athens, Georgia, directly across the street from the Arch at the University of Georgia.
John Wesley Raiford began working at The Varsity in 1937, learning quickly that to earn good tips, a carhop had to stand out. His flamboyant mannerisms prompted a customer to call him "Flossie". He began calling himself "Flossie Mae". Hat-wearing Grand Ole Opry star Minnie Pearl bestowed Flossie with a hat, and he soon started decorating them. He also entertained his customers by singing the entire menu.
Clark Gable visits The Varsity and is served by Flossie Mae.