Ray’s Tavern

Hamburgers | Hot Dog | Tavern
excellent
Worth a detour
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“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 and grinds it fresh every morning. For the French fries he makes to order, he buys fifty-pound boxes of potatoes and washes them by hand. Garnishes come from produce sellers; condiments are not food-service labels, but name-brands: French’s mustard, Duke’s mayo, Hunt’s ketchup. Continue reading

“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 and grinds it fresh every morning. For the French fries he makes to order, he buys fifty-pound boxes of potatoes and washes them by hand. 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 fries and 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 hunks 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. A side order of potatoes is abundant and fresh indeed, still glistening from the fry kettle, soft and spuddy more than crunchy.

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. 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, French Fries
French Fries
French fries are made to order and they deliver good potato flavor. But if you like crisp, crunchy ones, these will disappoint. They're soft.
Ray’s Tavern, Ice Tea
Ice Tea
Tea is sweet, but not shockingly so. When you order a glass, you get a pitcher.
Directions and Hours
Information
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
No
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No