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Original Rays Pizza 6th Ave @ 11th

  • m

I'm visiting and was here in the late 70's early 80's when Original Rays was the king of slices in manhattan. Times change, where are the better spots now for a slice in manhattan?

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  1. Bleecker St Pizza, where Bleecker hits 7th Ave, or commit to a whole pie at John's (Bleecker St loc. only). Don't even THINK of trying Ray's on 11th st...it's disgusting. At Bl. St Pizza, wait til the mozzarella & tomato has JUST come out of the oven, it's worth it. I usually hang to the side until I see it come out fresh.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sing me a bar

      Joe's is close by, too, just off 6th and Carmine/Bleecker. It's pretty good but not as good as it used to be.

      1. re: kathryn

        Joe's is still the best, tho I can't go as far back as the 70s, I can say since at least the mid 90s.

        I agree with Sing me, Rays on 6th is gross. The Rays on Prince is pretty good, but go on weeknights when the skinny gray haired guy is working, tho it's not a destination spot.

        I also like Sacco's on 9th and 54th. Used to go there after 18 hr days at sony studios. Maybe it was just exhaustion but I thought it was good for the neighborhood. Tho I don't go up there just to get one.

      1. I haven't been able to get a good slice from Ray's since the 1970's- no exaggeration. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

        1. The funny thing is this Ray's and the Ray's on Prince Street were duking it out for best pizza awards well into the late 90's. I think the Prince Street location is the better of the two but New York used to be very divided on that and each shop had their loyalists. I don't see anyone going to the 6th Ave. location these days, but I question how much better it ever was to be truthful. You might take a look and see if it looks the same to you, just for the sake of a craving.

          10 Replies
          1. re: sugartoof

            i did exactly that about three months ago -- go to the 6th ave location, that is -- and it's the same as it ever was. it's just that when i was 17, three-quarters of an inch of goo piled onto that crust seemed like a good idea, in part 'cause i was always broke and working crappy sub-minimum wage jobs and in part because at that age quantity often trumps quality -- which explains why the words 'all you can drink miller lite" won't draw anyone of legal drinking age....

            1. re: david sprague

              Insightful post about how our food memory tricks us, but I could swear Rays was really better once than it is now. Maybe the goo didn't taste as "stabilized".

              1. re: addictedtolunch

                I think that location was always known for setting itself apart by mass quantities of cheese stuff globbed on.... where the other Ray's doing battle was known for burning the roof of your mouth.

                1. re: sugartoof

                  Interesting post I think I'll give Rays on 6th a try for old time sakes and see what i think. What should I try by the slice these days and if it has to be a whole pie are there 1 0r 2 places that should be on the top of my list. I've been to John's,Lombardis and Grimaldis.

                  1. re: mick

                    Mick, I think you've got some serious pizza eating to do...

                    The usual suspects for best pizza in NYC are typically: Lucali, Franny's, Di Fara, Totonno's of Coney Island, Una Pizza Napoletana, John's of Bleecker, Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, Patsy's of East Harlem and Artichoke. I would also add the newly opened Co. to this list. (I have been to all of these but Lucali and Franny's.)

                    Unfortunately, Totonno's of Coney Island just suffered a fire but they hope to be back in operating condition 6 weeks. Meanwhile, I would try to get out to UPN or Co. for pies (they are pies only) and Di Fara and Patsy's (for slices).

                    Check out this awesome trip that someone did in only a few days where they hit up 7 of the greats:
                    http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                    1. re: mick

                      Well trying to think of something that might give you a fill of old New York, here are some thoughts. I'd say Artichoke is worth a try. It's not cheap, but you'll get your pizza cravings in and it's better then a Ray's slice. The Prince Street Ray's has a following for it's white pie, with ricotta. Again, not the cheapest quickie slice. The Italian Food Center in Little Italy has reinvented itself again as a pizza/pasta place, with more emphasis on the slices in the front. A lot of people swear by Joe's...I don't get it, but if you ever thought a cheapie Ray's slice just needed some low rent fresh mozz on it, well there you go. Stromboli's has two locations, and they've been around since the 60's, so that might also fit some cravings if you like a sweeter sauce.

                      If you have time for a day trip into Brooklyn, DiFaras is the place with the biggest following of die hards these days.

                      Of the other old timers you mentioned, which did you like the best? That might help us direct you to some new suggestions.

                      1. re: sugartoof

                        Going way back I'd rank it Johns, Lombardis,Grimaldis. But on my upcoming food junkit I need to limit it to slices so I'll try Artichoke,Patsy's,De Fara,Joes and open to 1 or 2 others. I would like to try UPN, although aren't they open only at night and pie only?

                        1. re: mick

                          Here's their site:
                          http://www.unapizza.com/

                          And yes, dinner, and pies ($21 each) only:

                          OPEN THURSDAY THROUGH SUNDAY
                          FROM 5:00 PM UNTIL SOLD OUT OF FRESH DOUGH

                          The pies are on the small side, if you are a big eater, you can probably eat 2.

                          1. re: mick

                            John's huh? You really might like Prince St. Ray's or Italian Food Center for the greasy slice craving, actually. Arturo's if you're in the market for a full pie. Artichoke will probably be too crusty for you, but try the square. Sounds like you have a full schedule, since DiFara's and Patsy's are both hikes in their own right.

                            1. re: mick

                              John's used to be great, I mean really great...however, over the years (as they have expanded) their ingredient quality has suffered significantly, now it is only passable and very touristy.....for example they used to get the sausage and peperoni from Fiacco's, but that stopped years ago, it's really a shame as I have such fond memories...

                              UPN is neopolitan pie, a whole different genre than NYC pie, I prefer Co. for that style (UPN is a bit dogmatic for my taste) ....

                              Artichoke is the best slice place in the manhattan imo, Di Fara is the best in the world (just set aside most of a day to get out there, wait forever, and get back)...

                              http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/co/

                              Oh, and every Ray's pizza place in manhattan sucks and should be avoided and unless you are completely hammered out of your tree drunk and have no other options...

                  1. I'll never forget my first time at The Original Famous Ray's of Greenwich Village when my Dad took me from Queens to see the "Village". I decided to live there and never left. Two subsequent memories from Ray's-1. the day I met my future wife at NYU orientation-took her to Ray's where she spit out the sicilian slice because it was (and still is) layered with onions under the cheese (what's up with that?). I married her anyway. 2. my childhood friend "Fuzzo" and I while attending NYU decided to share a large sausage pie, just the two of us, to the amazement and what we mistook as admiration of the elementary school kids from P.S. 41 across the street. After staring at us and finishing their pizza, they all stood in the doorway and yelled "pigs!" and ran away. We didn't bother to chase them as there was still plenty of pizza left to consume as befitting our new nickname.

                    1. OK, folks, so take your best shot, but only AFTER trying this - order up the "Meat Slice" at Ray's and ask for it well done - it should take close to five minutes to work up a bit of char and get all the inside stuff steaming - but it's not so much the meat, as the savory that comes from the red peppers and onions combo, then the pepperoni/sausage as complement. Still devouring one at least monthly, after all these years. Joe's square ain't bad, either.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bob192

                        Eeek. Really? Well I do think well done on any greasy slice helps somewhat. It takes care of the doughey glob problem. Kind of.

                      2. for a slice in the hood, i'll always go to joe's. i rate john's more, for a whole pie. my favourite in nyc is franny's on flatbush in bklyn (and one of my favourite resautants, period) though it is not "new york style" per se. famous ben's on prince and thompson is ok too, for a greasy sicilian slice with an onion/breadcrumb topping. like many of you, i'm sure, if i see stuff piled in a glass display case with diced chicken, steamed broccoli florets, or can't see the tomato sauce for a thick layer of cheese, i'll keep going. lately i've been making killer pies at home, and as long as i'm not trying to address a sudden craving, that's the way i'll go ...