Ray's Place  (Second Visit)
Kent, Ohio    Date of Visit:  09/26/15     
 Click Here for Original Visit

Back at Ray’s. Maybe more Kent State than anything actually on campus, the historical landmark soaked with alcohol and ketchup careens through the ever-changing world, changing that world infinitely more than the world has changed it. It’s still dark and you’ll be sitting closer to the other patrons than you will at a small table in a large family at Thanksgiving dinner. No one seems to care…and neither do I. Simple and fresh without flourish or pretense, every page of the menu represents solid chow to be enjoyed with whatever poison the wheel of shots prescribes to lubricate your academic discussion.



We started with the goat cheese marinara with grilled flat bread, perfectly fine. Rings are good, fresh cut fries are great, burgers are flavorful and juicy and topped with a garden of cold and crisp veggies. I had to try the Mofo, championed by Chef Michael Symon, which is really just a towering version of the regular burger, plus bacon and mushrooms. If you don’t enjoy this monstrosity, you shouldn’t be ordering b urgers. If you can finish it you might want to head to Robinson Health Center. The cabbage soup du jour had a nice little spice but much less going on than the wacky cup at Kravitz’s. The Italian sub with salami, pepperoni and capicola does precisely what you would want it to. What more could you want in a local landmark?


Sports & The Wheel Of Drunken Destiny

Marinara & Goat Cheese, Done


Rings Are Really Good

Fresh Cut Fries Even Better


Cabbage Soup Had Warm Spice

Perfectly Acceptable Italian

Seriously Fresh Burger With The Works

Or It's Dangerously Named Monstrous Associate

  Change in Ranking        
  Original Score Which Way? New Score Why For?  
  B B I Think We'll All Be Dead & Gone
Before Anything Significant Changes at Ray's Place
All Restaurants By Ranking Restaurants By Date These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things Steph's Favorite Things
Home List of Restaurants by City The Ratings What's Rated Random Thoughts

Ray's Place 
 Kent, Ohio        Date of Visit  10/02/10            http://raysplacekent.com/

Ray’s is a Kent Institution. Plain Jane looking from the street, it’s much warmer and storied inside. Dark woods and Tomás de Torquemada style booths are juxtaposed by numerous flat screens and shiny happy people. Some might be holding hands. The service is typically friendly and on the mark, although they can get overwhelmed at times. For this lunch we were pretty early and things were just getting started. Sitting in the requisite gloom of a good bar we tea totaled our way through lunch. We ordered the deep fried combo basket, a cup of chili, a burger and the meatloaf sandwich.



Gerty's Famous Homemade Chili


The chili is Gerty’s Homemade Chili, which the menu claims she made famous and they still make the same. Well Gerty made a solid and balanced chili then. Not bland and not overly spicy, it’s a bean and beef chili with plenty of both in a mild and tasty tomato broth. The combo basket is responsible for ruining the nutritional value of mushrooms, onions, zucchini and cauliflower. These are some of my favorite veggies both soiled in oil or au natural. There is nothing wrong with the combo basket, like the chili, it is essentially what you would expect, hot, breaded, good.

I had to order the burger, this is how the menu describes it. The Stuffed Gourmet Burger:  6 ounces of our fresh ground beef stuffed with a mushroom duxelle in the center then topped with caramelized onions, bleu cheese and a balsamic reduction. Served on a bun with lettuce and tomato. This is a really good burger, there is a lot going on but it all seems to come together. The shroom and onion duxelle give the patty a rich and earthy juiciness that stands up to crispy onion straws, pungent cheese, and sweet vinegar. I will definitely destroy more of them in the future. The meatloaf sandwich has potential for greatness but didn’t quite deliver.

Deep Fried Goodness

The Inner Workings of a Delicious Burger

Just a Step from Perfect

The loaf itself is redolent with fresh notes of sweet pepper and other aromatic veggies and spice, the bread is an outstanding sour dough, really good bases. The menu says it can be dressed your way, but I am not sure what the options are or how Steph ordered it, well I guess I do know how she ordered it, plain. It really needs something to step it up a notch, I would imagine the gravy that is served with the entrée would achieve the desired effect, I believe the dinner was the first choice but isn’t available til after 5. I would certainly try it. Oh, bye the bye, the fries are outstanding!

Ray’s Place is quickly approaching 75 years of spilled beer, academic and political debate, burger grease, serious and raucous tables of Kentonians sitting side by side, and the spinning wheel of fortune where the future is always the same…drunk. With great bar food, odd standout menu items that don’t really fit in the bar scene and a steadfast crowd of appreciative fans it seems certain there is still just as much history to be made.

Way Above Average Fries




What's Best

What's Worst

  A- C+ A A N/A B  
        Burger and Fried Stuff No Single Standout    
All Restaurants By Ranking Restaurants By Date These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things Steph's Favorite Things
Home List of Restaurants by City The Ratings What's Rated Random Thoughts