ATLANTA — "What'll ya have? What'll ya have? What'll ya have?" That mantra is as familiar to Georgians as the Pledge of Allegiance, and many have heard it since childhood. Since 1928, The Varsity restaurant has been welcoming diners with that question and serving up fresh, made-from-scratch fare like burgers, dogs, french fries and maybe the world's best onion rings from its landmark location at North Ave. and Spring St. in downtown Atlanta.
Billed as the world's largest drive-in, the downtown Varsity serves as many as 30,000 people per day, dishing up two miles of hot dogs, 300 gallons of chili, a ton of onion rings, 2,500 pounds of potatoes and 5,000 made-from-scratch fruit turnovers daily. The restaurant is the single-largest dispenser of "Coca-Cola" in the world and has been for years.
The two-story building seats 800 diners in a handful of rooms configured to accommodate everyone from singles-on-the-go to large parties. The five-acre lot covers two city blocks, with room to park 600 vehicles. Carhops — comedian Nipsey Russell got his start here — still provide curbside service, and about 10-15 percent of diners take advantage of that.
Entertainers (even Elvis Presley) and a long list of U.S. presidents have long loved The Varsity. It's well worth a visit. Open Sunday to Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Friday to Saturday until 11:30.
FOREST PARK, GA — Congressmen, athletes and entertainers — not to mention a whole lot of produce people — have been flocking to the Oakwood Cafe on the Atlanta State Farmers Market for years for the freshest in authentic downhome Southern fare.
Fresh cornbread, fried pork chops, an array of barbecued meats and the freshest vegetables available (procured from market vendors every morning) from okra to fried green tomatoes provide the lure.
It's nothing fancy, but it's all delicious. if you want a real taste of the South, the Oakwood Cafe is the place to be. Open Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Go to www.oakwoodcafe.net for more information.
FOREST PARK, GA — The 150-acre Atlanta State Farmers Market here pretty much runs as a self-contained town, with 24-hour traffic every day of the year, restaurants, a supermarket, USDA offices and even its own police force.
It also moves about $1 billion worth of produce annually and is one of the shining successes of the Georgia Department of Agriculture's "Georgia Grown" marketing program.
Located in a popular industrial district with easy access to the airport, rails and Atlanta's bustling interstate highway system, the market opened in 1959 and is as relevant and vital to Georgia's produce trade today as it was then.
NORMAN PARK, GA — The Baker family has been farming here in central Georgia for generations. In 1970, Terry Baker planted some cabbage and Southern vegetables. When sons Joe and Richard came of age, they joined the business and soon steered it in a different direction — premium Georgia-grown greens.
While the Bakers still handle other items — from beets to zucchini — they've made greens their primary focus. A new state-of-the-art production facility went online a year ago. And after years of only doing bulk production, the Bakers entered the retail space with their own Baker Farms line of premium greens a year ago.
Here, Joe and Richard talk about their heritage, the new facility and label, and what it takes to keep greens growing in Georgia year-round.
Mucci Farms uses a combination of new technologies and old-world growing techniques to deliver quality produce. Now the company is using some of the best know "Sesame Street" character images to promote its products — and help grow sales.