“The Famous Ray’s Pizza” 465 6th Ave. (Corner of 11th St) Manhattan
The oldest “Ray’s Pizza” to open in Manhattan (Little Italy) did so in 1959 and was headed by Ralph Cuomo of the Lucchese mobster family. Cuomo would continue a prosperous life that would include holding up a Park Avenue restaurant at gunpoint, trafficking heroin, holding heroin purity tests in his establishment’s basement, and serving time in Federal prison. Wikipedia can tell you more about this–I’m just here to tell you, in brief, about my perpetual disappointment with “Ray’s Pizza”.
I know I’ve eaten at other “Ray’s Pizza” joints in the past, and I know the one I recently ate at was not the “original,” but I feel compelled to prevent this site’s vast audience from enduring such a poor dining experience. Even though pizza is intended to be a quick, cheap, and ultimately unimportant meal, it’s nice to see businesses follow through with baseline expectations.
Having eaten at the Greenwich Village location this past Saturday night, I can confidently say this eatery is a sad excuse for a pizzeria, and an incredibly misleading/effective tourist trap–and has been for years. Wiki wiki tells me that as of 2009, there were at least 46 restaurants with some type of variation of “Ray’s Pizza” in Manhattan, with the most clever one being “Not Ray’s Pizza”.
And onto the review:
Customer Service: Letting a suit (most likely a regular) get his pizza and pay before I do, despite the “line,” is a big no-no. Tip jars will never fill this way.
Pizza Quality: Terrible crust–something akin to a thin paperback novel, not to mention the disgusting abundance of cheese (couldn’t even taste the sauce)
Choices: Limited. Also worth noting: there was only one spinach roll behind the display case, an abominably measly showing for a Saturday night, the second busiest of the week
When we actively seek out the “official” or the “first” something, we set up our experience to be a more rewarding one, for whatever reason, but that shouldn’t mean we should be complacent or quiet about it. So in the end, I say “eat somewhere else.”