Students Who Do Cool Things: Nate Parrott ‘17.5, creator of Ratty App

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Everyone’s been there: you’re painfully, paralyzingly hung over, and you NEED to get to the Ratty for some TLC/CT Crunch. Your laptop is an insurmountable 6 feet way on your desk, but you simply must know what’s at the Ratty. It’s a very specific, yet, for many Brown students, shockingly common crisis.

Enter the Ratty App, the creation of Nate Parrott ‘17.5. Now, iPhone users (sorry, Android et al. owners) can check what’s cooking at the school’s biggest dining hall on a very aesthetically pleasing interface. In addition, you can add the menu to your phone’s Notification Center to check whether or not they’re serving grilled cheese (Ed. – probably.) with a simple downward swipe of a finger.

Even the most hung over Brunonian can figure that one out. That is, unless your phone is dead, in which case God help you and your poor soul.

According to Parrott, the idea for the Ratty App came from his time at Hack@Brown. During the event, he and a couple of his friends tried “to make a Brown menu ‘API’ — a server that sends eatery menus in a format that’s easy for computers to understand. I spend way too much time at Ratty, so I begged a bunch of people to make me an app for browsing the menu. No one ended up doing it, so I did it myself.”


The rest is history. After working out a few bugs, Parrott launched Ratty through Apple’s App Store. It has caught on pretty quickly. Fifty people downloaded it on Monday alone, and the people who own the app use it pretty regularly. The people who downloaded the app on Monday looked at 650 pages of menus that day.

Parrott hopes all Ratty-going iPhone owners will start using the app to see if their favorite dish is for lunch. He personally is a big fan of their fried chicken, which was surprisingly “not dry at all. Best day of my life.”

Ratty, of course, does not cover all of Brown’s dining options yet. Pembroke folks and CFF aficionados might have to wait a while for “V-Dub mode” to go live. Though Android users don’t currently have access to Ratty, Parrott says that someone is building one for that operating system. He’s also gotten a few suggestions for how to improve the app, including filters to avoid certain ingredients or an upvote/downvote system. For now, however, Ratty still offers an easy, well-designed alternative to other ways to look at what’s cooking. You can download it here or on the App Store.

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