Ray’s Tavern

Hamburgers | Hot Dog | Tavern
excellent
Worth a detour
Save

“You will never see a restaurant supply truck in my parking lot,” boasts Sammy Ray Thomas, who, along with his wife, Lois, has been running Ray’s Tavern for some forty years. To make the half-pound hamburgers that have put his dark, edge-of-town hideway on the map, Sammy gets his meat from the butcher, ground fresh daily. Garnishes come from produce sellers; condiments are not food-service labels, but name-brands: French’s mustard, Duke’s mayo, Hunt’s ketchup. He makes his own chili for chili dogs and uses nothing but Nathan’s all-beef weenies.

Sammy is a man who is proud of what he does, declaring without equivocation that his half-pounders are the best for miles around. They are dense, hefty rounds of beef, nearly an inch thick, cooked through but good and moist, at their best when served all the way, with lettuce, tomato, chopped onions, mustard, mayo, and ketchup. Singles are big enough; doubles are just short of ridiculous. A worthy off-the-menu option is a Sammyburger. That includes a thick slice of caramelized grilled onion, a tomato slice, and cheese, and arrives in a toasted bun.

Sammy recently lost his potato supplier, so the last time I visited, he and his wife, Lois, both apologized for having to use already-cut potatoes for French fries. Still, they’re decent spuds, served glistening from the fry kettle, soft and spuddy more than crunchy. Add slices of melting American cheese and Sammy’s sweet, slightly-hot chile, and you have a plate of potatoes that could be a meal for two.

Fine tavern fare this is; and make no mistake, Ray’s is a tavern more than it is a restaurant. The food menu is limited to hamburgers, hot dogs, wings, and a fish or chicken sandwich. The bar and tables are outfitted with ash trays for smokers. The kitchen closes at 7pm, but the place stays open for another couple of hours for drinking and shooting pool at the table in back.

What to Eat
Ray’s Tavern, Cheeseburger
Cheeseburger
Must-Try
A single burger is a significant sandwich, especially with its thick-cut tomato and other condiments.
Ray’s Tavern, Chili Dog
Chili Dog
Must-Try
Chili topping on the all-beef dog is sweet and meaty (no beans).
Ray’s Tavern, Double Cheeseburger
Double Cheeseburger
Must-Try
Double cheeseburger, loaded. Multiple napkins required.
Ray’s Tavern, Sammy Burger
Sammy Burger
Must-Try
Grilled onion slice, grilled bun, cheese & tomato = the Sammyburger
Ray’s Tavern, Chili Cheese Fries
Chili Cheese Fries
1 order of chili cheese fries is a large meal for 2.
Directions and Hours
open now
SundayCLOSED
Monday10am - 8pm
Tuesday10am - 8pm
Wednesday10am - 8pm
Thursday10am - 8pm
Friday10am - 8pm
Saturday10am - 8pm
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
No
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Red Shed Diner & Produce

    Graniteville, South Carolina

    A colorful, welcoming roadside restaurant and produce stand, Graniteville’s Red Shed serves great hearty cafe meals and blue ribbon pies & cakes.

  • Knuckle Sandwiches

    Augusta, Georgia

    Knuckle Sandwiches is a hole-in-the-wall on Augusta, Georgia’s Restaurant Row serving spectacular, creative sandwiches and the city’s best French fries.

  • Stone Roastery

    Belvedere, South Carolina

    To accompany exemplary coffees (pourover, brewed, nitro, espresso), Stone Roastery offers a selection of Brad Stone’s mom’s blue-ribbon, from-scratch cakes.

  • Dennis’ BBQ

    Hephzibah, Georgia

    A small, out-of-the-way Augusta BBQ where most business is take-out, Dennis’ makes crisp-skinned chicken, meaty ribs, and aggressively spiced hash on rice.

  • Come N Get It Grill

    Hephzibah, Georgia

    Take-out-only roadside hut is known for burgers, pork chop sandwiches, Philly steaks & family meals — all made to order, all priced right.

  • Belair Donuts

    Augusta, Georgia

    From-scratch donuts, fritters, Bismarcks, and sausage-filled kolaches make Belair Donuts a best-bet early-morning stop off I-20 at the west side of Augusta.