“It really just depends," manager Don Pinney said. "We are more likely to photograph people who come in often or athletes because people who come to visit Chapel Hill like to see pictures of them in here.”
Since then over 12,000 pictures have been taken. With 2,000 pictures on display, and 10,000 in storage, there’s a lot of photos for Woodard and Pinney to choose from.
The photos cover every surface available in the store. When the wall space began to fill up, they hung poster boards from the ceiling with more pictures.
“Unfortunately we aren't allowed to put up any more pictures than we have because the fire marshal limited us because the photos are flammable," he said. "That's why we swap some out."
UNC Senior Paula Reyes said she thinks it's unique idea for the restaurant to take pictures of patrons that are hung alongside notable previous students and basketball players.
“I think it’s really cool to be on the wall since it’s such a common bucket list item other students have during their four years here, and I got it crossed off my freshman year," she said.
Pinney calls them “family photos," and said the tradition makes people feel like they're part of the family.
“Every once and awhile we rotate some of the pictures out," Pinney said. "So new photos get a turn to be on the wall, but we only do that when pictures fade out or if we haven't seen the students in a couple of years we assume that they graduated, so then we take them down.”
These photos are memories of Chapel Hill residents, faculty, students and even some Duke students, Pinney joked.
“I think the photos are a visual way to show the Chapel Hill community and it’s exciting to know that my memory at Sutton’s will be there," Andie Migden, senior environmental sciences major, said. "It’s cool to know I can always go back there and relive that moment and memory.”
The Daily Tar Heel will be hosting an event at Sutton's and Rameses on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. Find more information here.