One off at
By LISA LORENTZ
It's a tradition.
It's a UNC tradition.
It's a Chapel Hill tradition.
It's The Rams Head Rath
skeller, more commonly referred
to as "The Rat."
The Rat, a restaurant with a
dark, earthy atmosphere, opens at
a heavy wooden door in Amber
Alley off of Franklin Street. The
restaurant is as much a part of
Chapel Hill as the Old Well or
Since 1948, people have been
coming to The Rat to leave their
initials in the solid wooden picnic
type tables, see 'their' waiter and
to sink their teeth into The Rat's
specialty, the "Double Gambler,"
a tender, sizzling steak served on
a skillet at 500 degrees.
With its famous Carolina blue
bordered paper menu, The Rat
also offers a patron anything from
a bowl of soup to a double roast
beef dinner, ranging in price from
$2.50 to $8.75. Lasagna, ribs and
barbeque chicken are also popular
items. The Rat's iced tea is a
delightful thirst quencher, and
each table gets its own pitcher, so
waiting for a refill is never a
The most expensive item on the
menu is an around-the-world
pizza at $14.75, containing ham
burger, sausage, onions and sev
eral other delightful toppings. This
is not just any pizza, though, said
Charles Smith, general manager of
By JUDY WILSON
There will several changes in
registration procedures this fall,
according to University officials.
First, seniors and graduate
students will be allowed to register
or drop add after 1 p.m. on August
25, which is the second day of
registration, said University Regis
trar David Lanier. The first day
is still reserved for incoming
freshmen only. In the past, seniors
had to wait until the third day of
registration to make class schedule
"A' senior who preregistered for
the fall shows his schedule at the
gym door to get in," said Lanier.
If a senior did not preregister, he
will need to make an appointment
to register that Tuesday afternoon
and obtain a permit to register at
his dean's office.
"Transfers will be able to reg
ister all day that Tuesday, mostly
Monday, August 24,
The Rat since 1981. "This is the
same pizza served when The Rat
first introduced pizza to the people
of North Carolina."
Although Smith admitted that
there has been some question as
to whether The Rat did serve pizza
first, he says, "As far as we know,
it was first, but if anyone knows
another restaurant that served
pizza earlier, let us know, and we
will gladly concede."
Smith said there are two major
characteristics about The Rat that
make it so unique. "The first is
the staff. Most of the people have
been here for an average of 20 to
25 years. These workers are pro
fessionals. They know what their
job is, and they do it. It makes
my job a lot easier when I don't
have to go behind someone and
tell them what to do. Most of the
waiters have their own 'following.'
Some customers will come in and
ask for 'their waiter.' "
Caricatures of each of these
waiters can be found behind the
fireplace, on the back wall.
The customer, Smith said, is the
next unique characteristic. "There
are so many people that frequent
The Rat three, four and sometimes
five days a week," he said. "These
are the people, along with the
faithful alumni, that have kept The
Rat rolling along for almost 40
years. It's special to me when I can
build friendships with the custo
mers. You get to know them on
a first-name basis and try to make
them feel at home."
made in effort to improve registration
by appointment," said Lanier.
He said these changes were
made after the student govern
ment requested last year that the
registrar's office do something to
alleviate registration problems
that seniors often face.
There will be eight cashiers at
Fetzer Gym during the registration
period this fall. "We hope this will
speed things up," said Lanier. If
a student needs to pay an out
standing bill before he can register,
he can do so without leaving the
room where he picks up his
schedule. Lanier said this should
cut down on the long lines at
Bynum Hall, where there are only
"WeVe done about as much as
we can with the gym," he said. "We
are really looking forward to these
changes. We're excited about
Currently, the University is
trying to fund a totally new and
Serving the students and the University community
So special was that friendship
with one customer, Bill Ludwick,
that the big table in the front room
bears a plaque dedicated to his
memory. The Ludwick family had
been coming to The Rat for years
for food and beer before Carolina
home football games, and they
always sat at the same table.
Ludwick died two years ago, but
the plaque captures his memory:
"To the memory of Bill Ludwick,
who loyally occupied this table
through Tar Heel seasons, both
good and bad, for many faithful
Another impressive group of
unique approach to preregistra
tion. Lanier described it as "a
telephonic registration system,
whereby a student can pick up a
touchtone phone anywhere in the
world and preregister at UNC."
"Of course, the student will still
be required to have his adviser's
approval before he can preregis
ter," Lanier added. "Student
adviser interaction will be a key
to the effectiveness of this system."
To give upperclassmen priority
for class choice, seniors will be able
to "call in" during a certain week,
juniors the next week, and so on.
Upperclassmen will also be able
to call in during the remainder of
the preregistration period.
"We are shooting for spring
1990 for this system to take effect,"
he said. "We are trying to see if
we can afford the one-half million
dollars it will cost to get it. We
wanted to see if there would be
some kind of student registration
fee that could be charged to
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Customers enjoy the atmosphere at
people to visit The Rat, beside the
regulars, includes Andy Griffith,
Ronnie Howard, James Worthy
and Michael Jordan and they
are just a few of the famous people
who frequent The Rat.
It's the regulars, though, who
carve grafitti all over the tables and
walls. There's not a nook or
cranny where a knife or key hasn't
made its imprint. Every accessible
piece of wood in the restaurant
proclaims someone was here and
was in love with someone else who
was also here.
The Rat is not without its own
creativity. The backs of each table
"We have talked to student
leaders about this, and well try
to go to the student government
and make a referendum this fall,"
Lanier said. "The system does
involve quite a bit of overhead. It
would require 32 telephone lines
to the University; four of these
would be toll-free lines."
Lanier said the telephone sys
tem will eliminate his office's
preregistration paperwork, since
there will be no preregistration
"About 10 or 15 other univer
sities in the country have these
systems; most of these are schools
in the Midwest," Lanier said.
"Brigham Young University was
the first to have the system, in
1984, and the enrollment there is
26,000 or 27,000. Students at the
universities that have the system
really like it."
He said departmental members
and faculty members here are
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Tar Heel Laura Patterson
have words of wisdom inscribed
on them. "The more things a man
is ashamed of, the more respec
table he is," says one booth.
"That's the nature of women . . .
not to love when we love them,
and to love when we love them
not," says another.
All the tables are placed uni
formly throughout the dimly-lit
restaurant, so that there is an
emphasis on atmosphere. Art
adorning the old-fashioned walls
is hard to figure out, but adds
greatly to the overall feeling
See THE RATT page 10
willing to try the new method, but
they are somewhat hesitant.
"We'll always have closed
courses. We can't teach everyone
everything they want," Lanier
said. "This new method, though,
gives students time to figure out
what's open and what the alter
natives are. These would be real
registrations, and I hope depart
ments will realize this."
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