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The Daily Tar Heel

Rathskeller, a Chapel Hill icon, will be remembered


UNC juniors and seniors will remember the Ramshead Rathskeller, which closed two years ago. The “Rat” is among my fondest memories of Chapel Hill.

When I came to UNC in September 1948, I frequently went to Danziger’s Vienna Coffee Shop on Franklin Street, which was also a candy shop.

I started dating Papa Danziger’s niece, Paula, who had recently arrived from Austria. Papa and his oldest son, Ted, finished building the Rathskeller on Amber Alley, just off and below Franklin Street.

Papa approved of my dating Paula because I was a serious young man, just out of the Army. I was invited to the opening party at the Rat with Paula. We were also included in a pre-opening party a day or two before the formal opening.

During my years at UNC (1948-52 and 1953-54), I visited the Rat regularly, though Paula and I stopped dating (I recently learned that, sadly, she died several years ago).

When I returned to Chapel Hill-Carrboro after retirement from the Foreign Service in 1981, I ate at the Rat at least weekly.
I was saddened when it closed in 2008. I could hardly believe that nobody in Chapel Hill was able or willing to save this old icon.

Today’s students don’t know what they are missing.

Ed Williams
Class of ’52

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