Ray’s Place Kent, Ohio

Episode 051 of ‘I Can Do Another 12’ features an iconic bar in Kent, Ohio called Ray’s Place.

Ray’s Place, a staple in Kent, Ohio, continues to be the favorite hangout as it celebrates its 85th year. Locals from Kent and students from Kent State University alike gather here to catch up with family and friends. The venue is renowned for its delicious burgers and succulent chicken wings, which are as much a draw as the lively atmosphere. The atmosphere buzzes with lively conversations, complemented by a variety of delicious meals and a wide selection of drinks. This iconic venue consistently offers a warm welcome and a vibrant social scene, making it the perfect backdrop for Episode 051 of the “I Can Do Another 12 Podcast.

First Impressions

Stepping into Ray’s Place, you immediately sense the rich history of the venue intertwined with the vibrant energy of Kent State University students and local businesspeople. This popular hangout spot serves as a perfect gathering place where patrons can unwind and savor an enticing menu. The lively atmosphere, fueled by a mix of generations, creates a unique blend of tradition and contemporary spirit, making it an ideal locale for both relaxation and lively discussions. With its welcoming vibe and a reputation for great food, Ray’s Place continues to be a beloved cornerstone in the community.

The Menu

Ray’s Place has won numerous awards for its Best Beer Selection and Best Burger. They likely boast the most diverse bar menu I’ve ever encountered, and everything on it is delicious. Now, let’s talk about the chicken wings. We opted for the premium “Smoked Wings,” which are slow-smoked over hickory and mesquite, served with celery and a choice of ranch or blue cheese. The available sauces were traditional hot and crazy hot. Overall, the crazy hot scored a high 9.2 out of 10. The flavor was excellent, though surprisingly, it wasn’t actually very hot.

Added Bonus! Poutine Fries

Part of our crew is from Canada, so Jon naturally wanted to try their Poutine. They serve a mountain of homemade French fries, cheese curds, and house-smoked pulled pork, all topped with a rich pork gravy and green onions. Jon was impressed with their version, rating it a 9.0 out of 10.

History of Ray’s

Ray’s Place, a Kent, Ohio institution, has been pouring cold beers and serving up satisfying food since 1937. Founded by Ray Salitore, it started as a humble spot for a parting drink before heading off to fight in World War II. Over the decades, Ray’s wove itself into the fabric of the town, becoming Ohio’s original sports bar and earning a place in local history (as chronicled in the book “Meet Me At Ray’s“). Gerty’s legendary 5-cent chili warmed bellies, and her recipe lives on in the menu today.

Charlie Thomas took the reins in 1978, adding the upstairs concert space, Mother’s Junction, to transform Ray’s into a true entertainment destination. Celebrities like Joe Walsh and Drew Carey graced its halls, and Chef Michael Symon even raved about the Mo-Fo burger on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

Thomas remembers Ray’s as a place to connect – over sizzling burgers, nail-biting games, and ice-cold brews. Evenings and summers hummed with energy, packed with folks drawn to live music that spanned reggae imports and hometown bands. Regulars laugh over stories of being tossed out in their youth, or recall legends like Lou Holtz’s fraternity brother recounting how Lou met his wife right there in a booth. Even Oliver Stone has stopped by!

As Thomas says, Ray’s is “constantly changing but remaining the same.” It’s a place where the spirit of good times and simple pleasures lives on.

Meet Me at Ray's
Hot Sauce on Amazon

Hot Sauce Central:
Shop on Amazon

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!