| 03.24.2018

The shining diner on Jackson and Third — The Varsity diner brings character and delicious flavors to Moscow


Remember when there wasn’t a whole lot stationed at the corner of Jackson and Third Street in Moscow? And then, in just a matter of minutes — OK, maybe overnight — a shiny new building appeared, transforming that little corner of land from a pile of dirt into a glimmering new Moscow eatery.

The Varsity, one of Moscow’s newest restaurants, is a quaint diner straight out of the 1950s. With charm, nostalgia and a whole lot of sparkle, The Varsity is too tempting not to try.

So, just days after it opened, the polished exterior, bright neon lights and temptingly delicious diner smell lured me in. It is exactly as a diner should be — fun, quick and, of course, absolutely tasty.

Moscow is a great town for foodies of all kinds. There are cafes, restaurants, coffee shops and breakfast joints for just about every palate. So, when a new restaurant sets its sights on the town, it has quite a bit of competition to take on, and a lot of interested, hungry people to wow.

Its name for one, works pretty well for our little college town, and brings an air of needed entertainment to Moscow’s restaurant scene. But, beside the great food and entertaining quality, The Varsity stands out well against other establishments.

To say the “shiny diner,” as my friends and I like to call it, sticks out among other Moscow buildings is somewhat of an understatement. It’s a building that looks as though it was taken off the “American Graffitti” film lot. And, it’s pretty hard to keep the tune of “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease out of your head when you step inside. This place has it all — red glittery booths, bright white tables, spotless stainless steel appliances and, most importantly, checkered floors.

But, once newcomers get over the adorably timeless atmosphere of The Varsity, they will realize that the food is pretty great too.

A must-have for any diner is a classic, all-American cheeseburger with a side of fries and a Coke. This meal, although simple, can be difficult to get just right, but The Varsity does just that. A perfectly cooked burger with American cheese, all the suitable toppings and crispy fries are exactly what one will find at this diner for under $10.

While there are few vegetarian options to chose from at The Varsity, the grilled cheese is one of the more traditional and delicious options on the menu. Albeit a little basic and ordinary, there really is nothing like a good grilled cheese and fries or onion rings, especially when it’s from The Varsity.

Even though the menu caters to the traditional diner crowd, with burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and all the usual sides, there are quite a few options I wasn’t expecting to find.

Still, sticking true to good old fashioned comfort food, The Varsity also offers items like meatloaf, chicken-fried steak, turkey and stuffing and a pretty wide array of pastries.

Although The Varsity sells delicious looking cinnamon rolls and slices of pie and cake, the only dessert one really needs is a cold, sweet shake.

The Varsity is just what Moscow needed this summer — something new and exciting. And, with more college students back on campus, I can’t imagine The Varsity not becoming everyone’s go-to place this fall.

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