Serving Up Memories

When my Chicago-born, Michigan-bred and Boston-educated wife joined me for our first UNC away football pregame, she eagerly filled her plate, but as she passed by the North Carolina barbecue, a Carolina alumna in line next to her advised: “As the wife of the alumni director, it won’t do for you to not enthusiastically take a heaping portion of barbecue.” Debbie readily obliged and has happily enjoyed North Carolina barbecue whenever she has the opportunity — including at a pregame in Madison, Wis., prior to a football game that kicked off at 11 a.m.

GAA President Doug Dibbert ’70My upscale House Restaurant off what was then Airport Road (and is now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) was completely unplanned. At the conclusion of the ceremony in Carroll Hall for those of us inducted into Phi Beta Kappa near the end of my junior year, my mother and I joined others for a sponsored dinner for inductees and their guests at Chase Cafeteria. However, when we arrived, we learned that our group was not expected — and could not be accommodated. Happily, University officials called the Ranch House, where Mother and I joined others and each had a scrumptious salad and a delicious steak.

Living in Alexander Residence Hall my freshman year and needing to be thrifty, I faithfully ate most dinners in Lenoir Cafeteria where, for a mere 45 cents, I regularly ate the “student special,” which included an entree, two vegetables, a roll (with butter) and iced tea. And when I wanted a break from studying in Wilson Library, like many others, I wandered over to the Pine Room in the basement of Lenoir, where I would enjoy ice cream or french fries — but never both.

When I was really hungry, and as an occasional escape from the monotony of Lenoir Hall, I rode with others living on the third floor of Alexander to the Durham Howard Johnson’s, where on Mondays it provided all-you-can-eat chicken and on Wednesdays all-you-can-eat fish. More than once we heard the manager whisper to a waiter or waitress as we were being seated: “There goes our profit for the night.”

If we were less concerned about consuming unlimited calories and instead wanted to enjoy tasty chicken with all the trappings, there was only one place to go — Brady’s on East Franklin Street. However, not having a car until my senior year, for most of my dinners not consumed in Lenoir I walked to nearby dining spots. The Porthole was a favorite not only because of the incomparable buttery yeast rolls but the unique opportunity to pencil my own menu selections.

Like dozens of others, I stood in line along Amber Alley eagerly awaiting the opportunity to dine in the Rathskeller, where each time I just knew that the awaiting Gambler and sweet iced tea would be the best ever. It saddened me greatly when after my wife and I took our two young sons to the Rat one Saturday, Debbie later volunteered that we would never be returning with Brian ’05 and Michael ’03, and she didn’t think that she would be joining me either. I thought her reason for not returning was because we were seated at a single pedestal table and one of our sons leaned on the table and turned it into a slide, down which all of our food quickly moved. I was wrong. Her reluctance to return was because of her concerns about the Rat’s adherence to the health code.

My “freshman 15” didn’t come until my senior year, when I was a resident adviser on the seventh floor of Granville Towers West. RAs enjoyed all-you-can-eat meals in the cafeteria. It was closed for dinner on Sundays, which prompted me to wander with others to other spots, including the Carolina Coffee Shop, the Zoom Zoom, Leo’s, Harry’s, the Porthole and the Rat.

As this issue of the Carolina Alumni Review reflects, Carolina alumni have lasting memories of where, with whom and what we ate, and some of us can even recall what current events we discussed or the occasion that brought us together. Whenever I want to be reminded of those special student dining moments, I’ll head to Sutton’s or across Franklin to the Carolina Coffee Shop. Where would you go?

Yours at Carolina,

Doug signature





Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

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