Okay so I like burgers, and I've had many-a-burger in my time but I have never had a burger as distinctive and wonderful tasting as the burgers at Ray's. For about a year I worked about two blocks away from this place. My boss took me to it when I first started working in the area. It is a dumpy looking strip-mall location that I wouldn't give a second look to under normal circumstances. You know its special though when you see a line of people out the door during lunch time to order a burger.
After going once I was hooked. It is so good that almost every opportunity I got to eat out this would be the place I would go. Every time I would take someone else here who hadn't been before they would leave raving about the burgers and wanted to go back when we'd get together for lunch in the future.
We all know burgers are simple food. Usually there's not much that can be done to make one burger significantly different from another. So what makes Ray's amazing is that they take a simple food and just make it taste gourmet and amazing. The burgers are huge and thick. You would think that it might be hard to get them cooked properly. Despite this, the cooks at Ray's have managed to master cooking them so they turn out exactly as ordered every time whether you asked for rare, medium, or well.
Ray's toppings are what make the burgers so amazing. They have a wide range of toppings from the mundane to the "foo-foo gourmet" but the selection they have works amazingly well when put together into different combinations. They have a number of different pre-configured burgers and they are all excellent. If you really want to though, you can always put together your own combination.
Ray's also stands out for its sides. I am particularly fond of their sweet potato fries and their mac-n-cheese. While their burgers are big and filling I really recommend adding one of their sides to make it a complete meal.
Like every restaurant there are a couple of down-sides to Ray's. The first is that they don't take credit cards. They have an ATM in the restaurant so you can always get cash but your best off coming in the door with cash in your pocket.
The other annoying thing about Ray's is that there are little things about it that are always changing from month to month. I've read the owner is a quite a character in the local restaurant scene and is known for being eccentric. For some reason this guy seems unable to leave a perfect formula alone. Every time I go they seem to have changed something in the menu, the building, or the look of the place. The guy who owns this place needs to just recognize he got it right on the first try and leave it be. Sometimes there really isn't anything that needs to be improved.
Overall Ray's is perfection when it comes to hamburgers. Anyone who lives or visits the DC metro area owes it to themselves to pay this place a visit. There really is nothing else like it and it really shows how even simple foods can be taken to extreme levels of delight.
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