choking down cheese since the truman administration


Wow, so many incredible messages about yesterday’s blog – all for an idea what would never happen in 4.7 million years! I mean, suppose you wanted to save The Rathskellar in its original subterranean location just off Franklin Street. I’m told it has something to do with code, and pipes, and permits.

Are we talking $25,000 that nobody has? Or $1.5 million that nobody has? Forget that you could never hire Squeaky again (is he still among the living?) or that we can’t be 19 again, eating bowls full of cheese. What are the actual brass tacks about getting The Rat online and operational? Given that the restaurant covers alumni from 1948 to 2008, that investment might actually make sense, wouldn’t it?

I mean in the original spot, sewage be damned, not in some bullshit strip mall off Jones Ferry Road that lasts for 18 months before going the way of all things (i.e., yogurt). I want the same tables with our initials scratched into them, with that booth just under the translucent paving glass of the Franklin Street sidewalk.

Because, truly, what’s left that any of us still know?

• Four Corners (not my hangout, but it had its own charm)

• Sutton’s Drug Store (imperative)

• Spanky’s (I know, but, well, it does survive)

• Carolina Coffee Shop (same spot, but bears no resemblance to earlier incarnation)

• Ye Olde Waffle House (I rarely got up in time to actually eat there, since it closed at 11am)

• Mama Dip’s (new location, equally awesome, but a bit far afield)

Is there anything I’m missing, O Ye Heels from the mid-’80s through Dean’s retirement?


at the 2nd of the Cat’s Cradle’s 3 locations, with Chuck B, Nic J, Dave B, Steven C, me, and Pat H… AND MY HAIR WAS AWESOME, HATERS


25 thoughts on “choking down cheese since the truman administration

  1. Kelly in NC

    Varsity Theater
    Light years (jewelry – probably not on your radar)
    The Shrunken Head
    The Cave
    I think these are still there, though none serve bowls of cheese.

  2. Ehren

    The best way to save these places would be for people who like them to eat there. Anything else is just a bandaid.
    Also, I didn’t have a chance to comment yesterday, and maybe this was brought up, but the Rathskeller was an abomination. I feel like people made a fetish out of the terrible, surly service, and treated the crappy food like some kind of badge of honor. It was a crappy restaurant and if I still lived in Chapel Hill I would be relieved its gone.

  3. dan

    The Varsity has already been saved once. He’s Not Here is on its second lease on life with a new owner.
    Julian’s seems to hang on, but it is on like its fourth location since 1996.
    Italian Pizzeria III down Wet Franklin.

  4. roger

    Bub O’Malley’s aka Bub’s! still there, still has shuffleboard, still has Sam Perkins’s shoes still hanging on the wall.

  5. FreshPaul

    Add add Breadmen’s to the list…
    Also: anybody know what happened to Moses at Pepper’s? Was he still working there when they shut down the other day?

  6. Doug Ferguson

    Time-Out Chicken? Although it lost most of its charm for me once Billy left. And I understand that the entire Granville strip (along with Granville Towers) are on schedule for demolition.

  7. erica

    I remember I had a poster titled “Chapel Hill Night Lights” that showed matchbook covers for all the bars/ restaurants. When I searched for it online (to see just how many remained) I only found a more recent version…because Top of the Hill was a gas station back in the day! Does anyone remember/ still have this poster?! Do businesses even print matchbooks anymore?!

  8. Dan

    I think that poster used to hang in Pizza and Pasta (also gone). Well it may have hung in Pepper’s. One of the two.

  9. Heath

    Sadlacks, Henderson St., Hector’s, 4 Cs, Spanks, Molly’s, Franklin St. Bar & Grill, Skylight, Spring Garden, Linda’s, Schoolkids, Golden Dragon, Papa G’s, and on and on and on…

  10. jje

    I would DIE if Breadmen’s ceased to exist. That place means just slightly more to me than Pepper’s. Am I right, Julie P and Diana K? Also love Shrunken Head for its glorious cheeziness (my first time crossing the threshold was a 7th grade Morehead Planetarium field trip). Johnny T-Shirt is a regular stop for needful things. What was the name of the shop that was next to it in the ’90s. Whimsy? I remember buying a lot of posters in there for my dorm room freshman year.
    I had that Chapel Hill Night Lights poster (circa ’90-’94) framed and hanging up for a long time in our first home. Lord knows what we did with it when we moved. Pretty sure most of those business are defunct.
    Saw the comments about class of ’94 in yesterday’s comments. I always tell other alums that my favorite class claim to fame is last class to go through drop-add at Woollen. Ah, memories of Caroline – today’s kids are so lucky not to hear a busy signal or “Request. Denied. The. Section. You. Have. Requested. Is. Full…”

  11. Tanya

    Ha! I remember when the DTH used to run some sort of timely quote on the bottom of the front page, and right around registration time late in 1991 for spring semester is said simply: “Request denied.” —Caroline.
    Shortly after I graduated in 1995, I found a counted cross stitch pattern of the storefronts along East Franklin and West Franklin St. circa 1991. My mom, being the crafty type, spent hours stitching both sides for me. They were so long, I had to order special fabric on which to stitch the scenes and had to have special frames made for them once they were done. They still hang in my house today, and if it catches on fire, I’ll have to decide whether to grab those or the cats on the way out…

  12. Julie

    JJE – aka Blue and one of my dear roommates – Breadman’s is awesome and I will die another death if it goes by the wayside. However, since I view that as a breakfast place and Pepper’s was lunch/dinner, they are a tie for me. My kids have been to both and if they are lucky enough to get in, I will insist on going to Breadman’s whenever I am in town. I am glad 411 West is still there as well. Too much out of my price range while in school, I have had the pleasure of going there many times since graduation.
    I would like to add Papagayo’s and Players’ (roll the guffaws) to the list of woe begones. The former for being the strictest next to Spanky’s for trying to get in underage and the latter for being one of the easiest (aside from Molly’s). I have loads of fond memories and stories from both places. Troll’s too.

  13. jersey

    the fact that cavemen hasn’t chimed in here is very disappointing … i will say that time out at 2:00 a.m. was the BEST

  14. Just Andrew

    I’ll echo the Cave and Crooks as still standing, long running institutions.
    It wasn’t downtown, but I miss the Flying Burrito so much. $3 for a smothered burrito that was as big as your head.
    Have you all seen this gem yet? A 2 minute long flyover of Chapel Hill in the 1940s. Things have changed more than a little bit.

  15. Cindi

    After a good distance from college, when I came back to Chapel Hill, the Rat really was awful in terms of food.
    More recently our family liked Peppers, but it was never quite the same after it moved. I bet we’ll like the new Mellow Mushroom down the street as much if not better.
    It’s human nature to hang on to the places of our youth. But stuffs changes. Just another type of evolution.
    The good news? Great restaurants for grown ups in CH, like Lantern, Kitchen, and and Glass Half Full.

  16. Greg T.

    I also started as c/o ’94 and went through the last drop-add in Woolen. Ended up graduating in ’96, I wonder how others that went through in-person drop-add graduated after me? I might have been one of the last.
    On a first date, had a roach fall from the wall onto our table in the the cavern room (I think) at the Rat. Don’t remember anything else about the date except the cockroach!
    Met my wife at Players. 2 weeks after we met we joked that it was the longest relationship ever to come out of the place… 18.5 years later we are still together!

  17. Jeff Martin

    So glad Bub’s is still there! What is underneath it and again underneath that? Used to shut down Roseys, Trolls and Bubs….then Trolls became Hell… I would park in the lot to go to classes…got blocked in by the beer truck more than I can remember…polished my skills on the shuffleboard though…got to know my wife there…and married her anyway.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.