Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ray's Place

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When we moved back to Cleveland we were actually naïve enough to think we would see our friends and family more often. Since just about everyone we know has had kids (and lives on the west side), we’ve found increasing difficult to find people able to go out to dinner with.

Through the magic of Facebook I’ve reconnected with an old friend from high school. Upon finding out he was married with two children, I figured this was going to be another “we can’t go more than 300 feet from our house” situation. To our surprise they both enjoy going out and don’t mind driving if they have to. (The added bonus here is that his wife Paula is really cool, too. What sucks worse than going out with a friend only to have a wet rag spouse come along?)

Since her mother lives in Kent and would watch the children (for the low, low price of free) I suggested Ray’s Place. I had heard nothing but good things and even though I spent a year attending school there – I had never been.

We met there about 7 on a Saturday night and there were tables available. I’m going to foreshadow a little here, but for food that is this good and inexpensive I’m surprised we didn’t have a wait. (I will say that I don’t think the students were back yet.) When school’s in session I imagine the story changes a little.

So we sit down and Jay tells me that draft list actually looks pretty good. Well, actually looking at September’s draft list things look better than good, (Southern Tier Pumpking, Bear Republic Racer X Double IPA). Sign me the hell up. Who’s going with me? So the draft beer list is really good. The happy hour is more like happy dinner service – it runs from 4-9pm!

The food here is high quality (and high fat). If you think you’re going to walk in and eat a bunch of low calorie BS, you’d better think again. That being said, I’m from the school of “I don’t give a damn what the calories are – but they better be worth it!” I can say unequivocally - it is. I ordered the Stuffed Gourmet Burger (6oz. patty, stuffed with mushroom duxelle (a minced mushroom, oniony mixture), topped with caramelized onions, and blue cheese served on a Kaiser roll). I hate stuff that comes on Kaiser rolls – unless it’s a stack of twenties – but the burger was so juicy that the firmer, drier roll actually kept the thing from being a sopping wet mess. A Shake Shack bun would not have been good for this particular burger.

Many a hamburger experience has been ruined by sub par fries – but this is not one of those stories. The fries are of the fresh cut variety and come in potato and sweet potato form. They actually call the sweet potato version “Sun Fries”. All of them were light and crispy. I don’t even think the ones at the bottom were soggy.

Ray’s Place is epic. I hit the trifecta on this visit: draft beer selection, burgers, and fries – all kicked ass. This is the kind of restaurant you can bring anyone in your family, from baby to grandparent. There’s something for everyone here. As I said before, I’m not really sure what the waiting routine is when school is in session so I might call ahead to find out.

Ray's Place
135 Franklin Ave
Kent, OH 44240
(330) 673-2233

Ray's Place on Urbanspoon

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