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Edward Danziger and Danziger's Old World Restaurant

by Charly Mann

In 1936 Edward Danziger was 43 years old and a highly successful confectioner in Vienna, Austria, and was known as the "Candy King". He was also a Jew and he saw the storm clouds of Adolph Hitler in neighboring Germany. He sought a way out of Austria for himself and his family through a Quaker group in the United States. They brought the Danzigers to New York City where he quickly became one of the city's most respected candy makers.

Mrs Franklin Eleanor Roosevelt visits Chapel Hill and Danziger's in 1943

Eleanor Roosevelt actually had dinner at Danziger's on her visits to Chapel Hill

In 1939 Dudley DeWitt Carroll, the first dean of the UNC School of Commerce (later to become the School of Business), who was also a Quaker, convinced Danziger he should relocate to either Durham or Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Danziger looked at both towns and concluded he could make more money in Durham, but that owning a business in Chapel Hill would give him more pleasure.

Edward Danziger with 1950 UNC couple dating at Danziger's Restaurant Chapel Hill

Edward Danziger especially loved that his restaurant was a favorite spot for UNC Chapel Hill couples to go to on a date in the 1950s

Chapel Hill's first upscale coffee bar Danziger's Candy Shop established 1939

Chapel Hill's first upscale Coffee Bar, Danziger's Candy Shop established 1939

On Sept. 12, 1939 Danziger opened his new business Danziger's Candy Shop at 155 East Franklin Street in the location that had been Gooch's Restaurant. Over the years the business evolved into a restaurant and then a gift shop. By the early 1950's it had become Danziger's Old World Restaurant which was modeled on a tavern from Gudesberg, Austria where Danziger had often taken girlfriends in his youth.

Menu Items from Danziger's Candy Shop Chapel Hill    

Some of the favorite menu items from Danziger's Candy Shop and Restaurant Chapel Hill

He said the purpose of the restaurant was to serve good food and be a place where you could make good friends. It was also probably the first restaurant in North Carolina to have something we now call atmosphere. Much of that atmosphere came from the many photos on the wall. For the most part the pictures were of customers of the restaurant, but to have your photo hung you had to have to done some great work in your field. While many Chapel Hill businesses now display photographs of local celebrities and sports stars, Danziger's walls were covered with pictures of the best writers, professors, and poets of Chapel Hill. There were some famous people on the wall like Eleanor Roosevelt, the black opera singer Marian Anderson, and opera tenor Jan Peerce, but each of these people had actually eaten at Danziger's.


"Papa D"  Danziger in the window of his restaurant and gift shop on Franklin Steet in Chapel Hill 1955

Above the pictures were what Danziger called his wall of mottos, which the public referred to as the quotation wall. He believed the most important thing you can learn in life is a foreign language and his mottos were written in fourteen different languages. He offered 10 pounds of candy to any person who could translate all 14 quotes, but only one person, a UNC professor ever did. Among his mottos on the wall were, "the beauty of your home is not represented by the walls, but by the cooking" which was in Russian; "he who doesn't appreciate coffee, doesn't know how to live," which was in Turkish, and in Greek "recognize yourself".

Danziger's Smorgasbord Chapel Hill 1953 dinner for two and show $2.75

Fancy dinner and a show for two at Danziger's Old World Restaurant March 1953 for $2.75

Throughout the 1950s and early 60s Chapel Hillians made a point of taking their out of town friends and relations to Danziger's Old World Restaurant so they could see what made Chapel Hill so extraordinary and unique. It was also where you went to see friends and have great food.

At this time Danziger was also probably the most loved businessman on Franklin Street and was known affectionately by almost all his customers as "Papa D." Danziger said, "I like people. I like to talk to people. I like people to talk to me." He especially loved female people. He was fond of saying; "there are half as many good men as women - and no man in history did anything worthwhile unless there was a woman behind him."

Edward Danziger's gravestone in the Chapel Hill cemetery

Edward "Papa" Danziger's gravestone Chapel Hill cemetery



Kenny Bauer      4:49 PM Wed 4/16/2014

I have an ashtray from Danzingers must be from years ago....would like to get another one....anyone know where I could find one, Kenny. Bauer. Charlotte, NC

Charlee Smith      12:37 AM Fri 2/28/2014

Nice article about one of the oldest restaurant.. It serves good food and is a great place to make good friends. It was also probably the first restaurant in North Carolina to have something we now call atmosphere. <br \><br \>Best steak restaurant in Singapore <br \>http://www.steakhaus.sg/<br \>

edbremson      3:51 PM Mon 1/17/2011

I have fond memories of Danziger&#39;s. My parents used to take me there in the early 1950s. I was younger than ten years old, so I don&#39;t remember much, but I do remember his little chocolate rum cake pastries. They were soooo good.

Toni Burch      7:56 PM Sat 11/20/2010

I did not attend UNC-Chapel Hill, but I have been a huge tarheel basketball fan since I was about 10 years old (I am now 53). I attended one of the first girl&#39;s basketball camp with Larry Miller in 1969. I have a UNC plate that I received from by brother-in-law many years ago and was looking at it recently. On the front of the plate it has several landmarks on the campus and on the back it has a picture of Danziger (Made expressly for DANZIGER) by Vernon Kilns U.S.A. I&#39;m not sure how old it is, but I love it.

Dennis Looper      9:32 PM Fri 10/22/2010

I went to school in Chapel Hill in the mid 1960&#39;s and my favorite was PAPA&#39;S Ratskeller.Like many patrons two of my most favorite meals were the Gambeler&#39;s Special (tenderized steak),served on a shallow &quot;sizziling&quot; frying pan and lasangna. But the salad dressing was comparable to none!It was like they took French Dressing and added tomatoe sauce and garlic and sweetened it.Oh for the days.

Trish Neubert      4:10 AM Fri 2/5/2010

I remember the feel of the floor boards as I would walk back to the candy area as a little girl. I had my first taste of Rock candy on a string and I’d buy ropes of red string licorice, to share with my sister. <br \><br \>And, of course, looking at every toy and gift from all over the world–fascinating.

Jeremy French      10:43 AM Wed 10/28/2009

Mrs Danziger (Emily Julia), Edward&#39;s wife, died in 1952. I recall her as being even more outgoing than her husand. I think &quot;Papa&quot; lived several decades as a widower.

J West      8:32 PM Tue 10/27/2009

I believe Mrs Danziger&#39;s name was Emily. She was a wonderful lady who I recall being in the store as much as &quot;Papa&quot;. She almost helped me at the candy counter.

Karen O      3:27 PM Tue 10/27/2009

My grandfather was a long time customer to Danziger&#39;s Restaurant and Candy Store. He told me that when Edward first came to Chapel Hill neither he nor his wife and two sons spoke much English.<br \><br \>It is amazing that a middle-aged man who had no money and had to flee his country for his life could come to Chapel Hill and within fifteen years he and his family had created Chapel Hill&#39;s three best restaurants, The Rathskeller, The Ranch House, and The Old World Restaurant, as well as the best gift and candy shop the town has ever had. God bless &quot;Papa&quot; D.

Carla Bogart      10:43 AM Tue 10/27/2009

Thanks for all your articles. You are really bringing a special time in Chapel Hill and my college years back to life. Almost every year I was at UNC I did all my Christmas shopping at Danziger&#39;s.

Laura Dobson      4:33 PM Mon 10/26/2009

I went with my parents to Danziger&#39;s Old World Restaurant several times in the 1950s, and remember the meals being very good and unlike anything else you could get in Chapel Hill. When I saw the price of a special meal and evening for two in 1953 at $2.75 I realized going out to a dinner like this today would cost at least 50 times as much.

Julie Walker      10:29 AM Mon 10/26/2009

I was just searching for information on the Rathskeller and the Danzigers and came across this wonderful site. It is a treasure for people who love and miss Chapel Hill like me.

Jane Andersen      9:24 AM Mon 10/26/2009

I was fairly young when I use to go into Danziger&#39;s Gift Shop in the late 1960s, but I vividly recall Mrs Danziger helping me buy candy and chocolates every time I came in. She was a very warm and outgoging woman.

BeachDoctor      5:39 PM Sun 10/25/2009

This takes me back to the most wonderful years of my life. I was an intern at UNC Memorial and I met the girl of my dreams at the candy counter at Danziger&#39;s in 1954.

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Chapel Hill is located on a hill whose only distinguishing feature in the 18th century was a small chapel on top called New Hope Chapel. This church was built in 1752 and is currently the location of The Carolina Inn. The town was founded in 1819, and chartered in 1851.



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Dark Side of the Hill -- Pink Floyd, the creators of the most popular album in history, Dark Side of the Moon, took the second half of their name from Floyd Council, a Chapel Hill native, and great blues singer and guitarist. He once belonged to a group called "The Chapel Hillbillies".



Check out Charly Mann's other website:
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There would probably be no Chapel Hill if the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees in 1793 had not chosen land across from New Hope Chapel for the location of the university. By 1800 there were about 100 people living in thirty houses surrounding the campus.



The University North Carolina's first student was Hinton James, who enrolled in February, 1795. There is now a dormitory on the campus named in his honor.





The University of North Carolina was closed from 1870 to 1875 because of lack of state funding.





William Ackland left his art collection and $1.25 million to Duke University in 1940 on the condition that he would be buried in the art museum that the University was to build with his bequest. Duke rejected this condition even though members of the Duke Family are buried in Duke Chapel. What followed was a long and acrimonious legal battle between Ackland relatives who now wanted the inheritance, Rollins College, and the University of North Carolina, each attempting to receive the funds. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and in 1949 UNC was awarded the money for the museum. Ackland is buried near the museum's entrance. When the museum first opened, in the early sixties, there were rumors that his remains were leaking out of the mausoleum.



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Chapel Hill High School and Chapel Hill Junior High were on Franklin Street in the same location as University Square until the mid 1960s.



The Colonial Drug Store at 450 West Franklin Street was owned and operated by John Carswell. It was famous for a fresh-squeezed carbonated orange beverage called a "Big O". In the early 1970s, I managed the Record and Tape Center next door, and must have had over 100 of those drinks. The Colonial Drug Store closed in 1996.



Sutton's Drugstore, which opened in 1923, has one of the last soda fountains in the South. It is one of the few businesses remaining on Franklin Street that was in operation when I was growing up in the 1950s.



Future President Gerald Ford lived in Chapel Hill twice. First when he was 24, in 1938, he took a law couse in summer school at UNC. He lived in the Carr Building, which was a law school dormitory. At the same time, Richard Nixon, the man he served under as Vice President, was attending law school at Duke. In 1942, Ford returned to Chapel Hill to attend the U.S. Navy's Pre-Flight School training program. He lived in a rental house on Hidden Hills Drive.



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