Ray’s Place

135 Franklin Ave.
Kent, OH 44240
330.677.0700
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3 stars

Primarily aimed as a night spot for downtown Kent, Ohio, Ray’s Place is best known as a place with a variety of beers on tap, with a sizable selection of craft beer to appeal to the Kent State University student population and others in the community. Still, while it’s a nightspot for the beer lovers, it’s also a place where you can go to get some good bar food. A ton of wings, burgers, sandwiches and other options await you at this long-standing watering hole, which has been open for more than 75 years.

The food here is very bar-centered, but like many other small-town eateries, it’s also got a laundry-list of dinners like spaghetti, stir fry, barbecue and more. Bar food seems to be what draws people here, so that’s what I thought I would try. The Hot Corned Beef Sandwich on Rye, which was  prepared corned beef on grilled rye with Swiss cheese, is great. It comes with a special mustard that really brings all of the flavor there home.

Also worth noting is a burger they call “The Mofo” — because you may well have seen it on TV. Chef Michael Symon, who is himself  making waves in the burger scene in Ohio, has acclaimed the Mofo for its deliciousness. I’m sorry to say I didn’t try it when I was here, but if it lives up to the hype, a re-review will be a certainty for the place. Ray’s describes it as ” Our true classic; a double cheeseburger with bacon, sautéed mushrooms and the works!!” Which makes it sound pretty simple. But great food often hides in simple places.

The bar has a good reputation in the Cleveland-area dining scene, and even as this city has grown a vibrant atmosphere of restaurants doing big things, Ray’s Place remains one of the older kids on the block, and a reliable option for a good drink or food.

Recommendations

  • The beers on tap make this a popular spot for people to go drinking, because the spot often has a ton of craft beer on tap.
  • The menu is bar food specialties but there are some fancier dinners and Italian food to be tried.
  • The burgers have seen some major national shout-outs, so they’re worth a mention.

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