The Varsity Opens Especially for SU Basketball Fans Ahead of Tonight's NIT Game at the Dome

Mar 15, 2017

Much in the same way Syracuse University never seems to close due to inclement weather, the owner of the Varsity can relate.  In fact, he says they never close, as well.  Until today... or at least part of the day.  After all, there's a basketball game tonight.

The Varsity's Owner, Jerry Dellas.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

“So yesterday, I didn’t want to close at all but, then when they (postponed) the NIT, I thought, you know, maybe we should shut down a little bit.  And I’m glad we did because as it got later in the day (Tuesday) it became more difficult for everybody to get out of here."

So, it has to be a big weather event for Varsity Owner, Jerry Dellas to delay the opening ahead of tonight’s NIT game at the Carrier Dome between the Syracuse University men’s basketball team against UNC-Greensboro at 7 p.m.  The Varsity opened at 3 PM today.  Dellas says he kept an eye on his buildings on the S.U. hill Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and saw how the storm was progressing.

“I kept checking my camera, looking around the area and I could see the snow piling up… I see we weren’t plowed out.  About 6:30 this morning I decided to call the employees and say let’s open at 3 p.m. today.  A lot of the things (businesses) are shut down, the roads they’re digging out.”

A sign at the main entrance of the Varsity informed patrons of the restaurant's delayed opening on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, The Varsity was open but, Dellas explains there was a huge difference between yesterday and today near record setting Blizzard of '93 snowfall.  It’s an odd week to deal with a snowstorm; the university is kind of a ghost town as it is because of spring break.  But will brave Orange Basketball fans bring the hill back to life tonight by venturing out into the left-over snow, wind, and cold?  Dellas admits it’s questionable but, he wants to reward his loyal customers who do make the trek.


“It’s kind of a bonus for us when they’re playing in the Dome.  The weather though is a disappointment; especially this late in the season, we’re ready to head toward spring and we get our worst snowfall of the year.  It definitely affected business. Students aren’t here.  But, like you said, it’s an uptick having them in the Dome but, I don’t know.  How many people are going to go to the game?  The loyal fans will go and the Varsity has a lot of loyal fans.  I think we should do o.k.”

A rare scene... the Varsity completely empty during the lunch hour on Wednesday.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

He adds that 2 to 3 hours before a game the restaurant typically gets busier.  So, making tracks for pizza before or after the fame tonight is possible, after all.  The Varsity opened its doors in 1926.

A view of Marshall Street on Wednesday shows no foot traffic.
Credit John Smith / WAER News