7 things you don't know about the Rat

1. It’s called the Welch dining hall.

the rat

Like every dining hall on campus, Welch Dining Hall is not called by its actual name and has been given its own endearing nickname, “The Rat.” How this started and is lost to the generations passed. Perhaps it was named that because it is located in the lower level of Lyons. Or that it used to be a pub (yes, a pub), called "The Rathskellar." Maybe it’s the fact that when it gets crowded, the students flocking to the registers resemble rats scurrying around. Whatever the reason, when asked, most students don’t even know Welch Dining Hall exists.

2. There’s a laundry room.

The Rat isn’t the lowest level of Lyons; there’s actually a basement below what most people think is already the basement. In said basement is a laundry room for the laundry for most dining halls. This includes tablecloths, napkins, and even some uniforms.

3. All refrigerated sandwiches and salads are produced there.


If you’ve ever been in a hurry and grabbed a sandwich on-the-go from one of the refrigerators in any dining hall, then you’ve had a product of the Rat. All sandwiches, salads, and food trays are made daily at the Rat.

4. Production starts on Sunday.

The week starts on Sundays for the Rat. Though the actual location isn’t open to students, workers come in and spend all of Sunday doing production. This means that the workers in the back (which you can see if you peek over the coffee area) are all there for a full day’s work of preparing the fresh food in the refrigerators.

5. The baked goods are fresh.


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The croissants you grab before class, the cookies you have for lunch, and the muffins you’ll munch for breakfast are all made fresh daily. If you see someone restocking, there’s a good chance the food will still be warm.

6. Deliveries are made every day.

The day starts as early as 7:00 am for the workers as deliveries must be made daily by roughly 2:00 pm. The sandwiches and salads (etc.) that were made that day must be delivered to all the dining halls the same day.

7. It’s a lot bigger than you’d think.

Looking at just the dining area of The Rat, especially when it’s crowded, it would seem as if the Rat barely has enough space for anything to get done. This is quite the contrary. In the back, The Rat has two stock rooms, two walk-in refrigerators, five normal sized refrigerators, a manager’s office, a locker room, the laundry room, and two production areas.