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25 January 2012

Rathskeller returns with old favorites

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Photo illustration by Cayla Nimmo//Assistant Photo Editor

As students returned for the start of the spring semester, the Rathskeller returned with a few changes, including two new menu items and Sunday closings.

Despite its change in location, the Rathskeller brought back two menu items reminiscent of its prior years – boneless wings and macaroni and cheese bites.

Everett Price, the general manager of the Rathskeller, said the smaller space made it difficult to know how many of the favorites to bring back to the former Sbarro location. Price decided to incorporate the new items into the menu after hearing students ask about their former favorites.

“We’re constantly looking at things to improve,” Price said.

Boneless wings were part of the Rat’s new menu, but as a topping in a salad. They can now be ordered as a separate item on the menu.

“I didn’t understand how the Rat had the wings in a salad but not as an item,” UM alumna  Meryl Koch said. “I missed them very much.”

Other students, like junior Julia Rubin, are interested in trying the macaroni and cheese bites since she was never able to have them. Though some welcome the new additions, others like graduate students Alex Sall and Gabriel Williams think there should still be more options. Sall said he would like to see healthier items on the menu. As of now, the menu only lists two items as “healthy choices,” a garden burger and a vegetarian pita, not including the salads. Williams hopes to have burritos become a part of the Rat’s selections. He also feels that the food is generally too expensive.

“I have a personal vendetta with the Rat,” Williams said. “Aside from beer, I wasn’t getting what I paid for.”

Most of the current Rat prices range from $5 to $8. There are also $3 daily specials on favorites like the buffalo chicken salad on Tuesdays and the grilled cheese with chips on Fridays. The Rat is also now closed on Sundays. It was open on Sundays during the fall semester because of the weekly NFL football games. It will, however, be open for Super Bowl Sunday, offering beverage specials and 50-cent wings.

Some students don’t think it is a problem for the Rat to close on Sundays.

“Many places are closed on Sundays,” Rubin said. “I think it’s legit.”

Others like Koch feel that being closed on Sunday will result in a loss of business for the Rat. The Rat will move in 2013 with the opening of the Student Activities Center. It will be a similar size than the original Rat and have a larger patio.
Until then, Price will continue to “tinker” with the restaurant’s current situation.

“We try to make the space as lively as possible and a place for students to hang out,” he said. “I thank the students for supporting it and suggestions are always welcome.”

Rubin agrees that the Rat is a popular spot on campus.

“I thought people would go less,” she said. “Everyone is always at the Rat. It’s the place to be.”