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Jul 24, 2010 05:05 AM

Frustration with Ray's Hell Burger.

Look - I love Michael Landrum's restaurants. And I love his dedication to food. But Ray's Hell Burger is over-rated and the people who fill its sidewalks like clogged arteries need to go back home to Ballston and Fairfax.

What was supposed to be a top-grade burger join for folks from the neighborhood has turned into a must-eat destination for everyone who read that Obama recently wen there with some Russian dude.

He's not coming back. At least not while you're there. And frankly, a better burger can be had at Five Guy's.

The sooner Hell Burger stops attracting the Cheesecake Factory crowd, the sooner he opens his long-anticipated Ray's the Game, and we'll all be better for it.

That is all. Good day.

Ray's Hell Burger
1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

Ballston Cafe
4601 Fairfax Dr Lbby 2, Arlington, VA 22203

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  1. right. ca, we'll just let you have "your" restaurant back. but, why aren't you over at five guys?

    """""The sooner Hell Burger stops attracting the Cheesecake Factory crowd, the sooner he opens his long-anticipated Ray's the Game, and we'll all be better for it.""""
    what's the logic?

    9 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      Very fair point, alkapal. My main reason for annoyance is that I'm a regular at Guajillo, next door, and the crowd is often times a real inconvenience. Even though I prefer the Five Guys burger, I like Hell Burger's options of bone marrow, cheeses, and other additions that you can't get elsewhere, and hate having to wait in line for 30 minutes behind the person who is there for no other reason than it's the cool place to be.

      Re-reading my post, it sounds a bit jackass-ish, which I didn't intend.

      1. re: carmstrong07

        ok, fair enough, you responded. but don't you think the rage will die down after a while? or is it going to be a forever thing?

        i have no idea, but i STILL haven't been there! (i was down in florida when he took medvedev there, and my family was asking me how a president would take a state leader to a hamburger place?!? and i said to myself, yeah, and i'll never be able to eat there now because of the publicity -- the SECOND time. (guess michelle ma belle aka food enforcer doesn't allow too many burgers and fries at the white house).

        we used to frequent that strip mall back in the day when there was a dynamite thai place, and our favorite little red-sauce italian. long before the days of ray's. but we did enjoy his steaks over there, and at the new spot, too. the waits at the old spot were indeed a hassle.

        1. re: alkapal

          You should give the new spot a try - they take reservations now, which has good and bad results, but still worth it.

          1. re: alkapal

            Sounds like ca and the guy in DC should get together to monitor the bridges and tunnels.

          2. re: carmstrong07

            I've been there around 1:30 on weekdays and even around 7 on a Sunday and have never encountered a line that took me as much as 10 minutes before ordering. I've waited as long at Five Guys, though Ray's has always felt more "busy."

            Wanna complain about a long wait to order? Try The Italian Store at lunch hour. But there, you can check out BGR next door and pick the one with the shorter wait if you're in a hurry.

            Italian Store
            3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

            1. re: MikeR

              mike, order ahead at italian store. then just go to the cashier, and she gets your order. bada-bing!

              1. re: alkapal

                That never occurred to me. Often, though, I don't decide where I'm heading for lunch until I start driving, though. I suppose I could call from the parking lot after running in and taking a look at the menu, since I can never remember which sub is which. Then just look around the store until the time they tell me my order will be ready.

                1. re: MikeR

                  That's a really good suggestion. I've used my cell to queue jump at busy places before, esp. if they have a separate line for phone ahead orders.

                  1. re: MikeR

                    Grab a Milano on the counter top-they're always stocked up. I prefer the Philly, but the Milano hits the spot when I don't want to wait.

          3. The original comment has been removed
            1. I finally made it to Hellburger Too.

              They have 2 game burgers on the menu - venison and wild boar, plus turkey and veggie. I had the boar. I liked it, although I think I may stick with a hamburger next time. They also have a smaller burger.

              The really nice thing about Hellburger Too is that there is table service, and there were actually a couple of empty tables when I was there (about 5:00 p.m. yesterday). I poked my head into Hellburger after eating, and, even with free tables at Hellburger Too, there was a line almost to the door at Hellburger. This despite the sign reminding patrons of the existence of Hellburger Too. I really appreciated not having to stand in line and feel rushed.

              I believe the burgers are $1.00 more at Hellburger Too. For me, it's worth it for the less frantic atmosphere.

              1. re: Lori D

                Are all the basic burgers the same price, regardless of animal? How much were the venison or boar? And what does a boar burger taste like, anyway?

                1. re: Steve

                  The burgers that are the same as served at Hell Burger (most of the menu) are all, IIRC, $1.00 over the Hell Burger price.

                  The turkey burger was $7.99, I think. Don't remember the price of the veggie burger.

                  The venison and boar burgers were $11.95. The boar burger was smaller than the normal burger. It was done "Hanoi Style" - which meant a topping of carrot and daikon. It was coated in applesauce before cooking. I expected a more assertive taste than it had; it was pretty subtle. Not gamey at all. .

                  The venison burger also was cooked in a set way - some kind of cherry coating, I think..

                  I got the boar burger mainly because I decided to try something different, and the description of the venison burger didn't appeal to me. However, even though the boar burger was fine, I think I would prefer the stronger taste of a beef burger. However, if HB Too starts serving bison burgers, I would be all over that.

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              1. The original comment has been removed
                1. I did'nt get all the Ray's hoopla, either...
                  I reported on my visit there in my "burgers/beef ribs" thread...

                  I visited DC from AC, and my burger was way undercooked, and I prefer a softer type roll..
                  ...I enjoyed my BIG BUNS burger and my Glory Days Grill burger, AND my BGR, the burger joint burger much, much more...

                  For what it's worth ......