The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday May 26th

Pit Talk

UNC-themed tables bring a unique flavor to the dining halls

If you have ever eaten at Top of Lenoir, Lenoir Mainstreet or Rams Head Dining Hall, you may have noticed the unique tables. Some have mosaics of tiny rams; others have icons of UNC athletic programs. Both represent an important part of university life: school pride.

The history of the tables at Lenoir Mainstreet is rooted in the school’s tradition of sports involvement. They are remnants of a former sports restaurant called the End Zone Sports Cafe that used to reside in the Rams Head dining complex, said Brandon Thomas, communications director for auxiliary services. The End Zone was a non-alcoholic sports bar, similar to the ESPN Zone restaurant in Anaheim, CA.

“If you look closely, you can see every single athletic department represented on those tables,” Thomas said. “Michael Jordan is somewhere, too.”

The tables were designed for the sports bar by UNC Printing, another department that has since closed, and then created by an outside company, Thomas said. When the End Zone shut down in 2007, the tables were kept instead of being auctioned off.

“We didn’t want to sell something so specific to UNC and functional,” Thomas said.

The tables were moved to Lenoir Mainstreet, where many students use them on a daily basis.

Anna Griffin, a first-year student, said she eats in the dining halls at least once a day and was struck by the tables' pattern. 

“At first I didn’t notice that it was Tar Heel-themed and I just assumed it was some repetitive pattern," Griffin said. "But then I realized that they’re quite unique.”

She said she had no prior knowledge of the tables’ history, but when asked what she thought UNC’s motivation in having the tables is, she had an interesting observation.

“Maybe the school wanted to try to bring Tar Heel pride into the daily lives of UNC students, even in something as simple as eating lunch,” she said.

Was it worth keeping the tables?

“I think so, yeah. I’m a pretty diehard Tar Heel fan, so it’s nice to see Tar Heels represented everywhere,” Griffin said.

Even if the End Zone is no longer open for sports viewings for enthusiastic students like Griffin, the camaraderie surrounding our athletics department still exists. The tables are a surviving reminder of how important school spirit is to our institution. They demonstrate that our school’s identity is intrinsic to even the most-overlooked aspects of campus, like the tables we barely pay attention to when we grab a quick lunch in between classes.

As for me, I’ll pay more attention to the tables next time I order something from Healthy Bowl or Med Deli. Maybe I’ll even find Michael Jordan.

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