By Popular Demand, Ray’s Hell Burger Too Returns

by ARLnow.com December 1, 2011 at 9:58 am 9,435 43 Comments

One month after opening, “Ray’s Steak and Cheese” (1713 Wilson Blvd) is no more.

The eatery, which featured a $10.99 half-pound steak and cheese sandwich, has been replaced by its predecessor, Ray’s Hell Burger Too. Owner Michael Landrum said the table service version of his famous Ray’s Hell Burger is back by popular demand.

A sign on the door (pictured) summed it up this way: “Oops, we goofed. You let us know how much you wanted Ray’s Hell Burger Too back and we listened!”

“People don’t like change,” Landrum lamented over the phone this morning, while acknowledging that the surreptitious switch to “steak and cheese” was “a little more confusing in reality than was warranted.” Although he felt that the steak and cheese sandwich was so good that it “deserved and needed its own showcase,” Landrum admitted to having some doubts when making the switch last month.

“Why mess with something that works?” he asked, rhetorically.

Landrum said the hefty steak and cheese sandwich will now be permanently placed on the menu of Ray’s to the Third, located across the street at 1650 Wilson Boulevard. In the meantime, he hopes that his loyal Ray’s Hell Burger Too customers don’t hold the ordeal against him.

“We’ve restored order and natural harmony,” he said. “Over the holiday season you hope that people have a little forgiveness in their hearts.”

  • CW

    The original RHB is still enough for me. He should open a taqueria in that spot! Yum!!!

  • Jeff

    It was a good sandwich, but it’s not like I’d be eating them regularly so I’m not going to cry.

  • Aaron

    Aargh, now it’s going to be even more difficult to select an entree at Ray’s to the Third. Darn you Michael and your making everything so darn tasty!!!

    I could see him putting in some version of a kabob shop going there before a taqueria.

  • meh..

    If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it.

  • OX4

    I am so confused by this Hellburger-2-Rays-the-Third-Steak-and-Cheese-the-first-hellburger-and-steak-but-only-across-the-street-but-next-door-if-you-want-a-beer-and-if-the-lines-are-long-go-to-hellburger-the-fourth-but-only-if-you-have-cash.

    I’ll stick to the steaks, thanks.

  • UnlimitedCustoms

    They raised the prices (or would drax say lowered) but having two sizes now at RHB. Either you go with a burger too small or one too big. The one before was the correct size. Why not keep that option as well?

    • CW

      The “big” size is the original RHB size. It got more expensive because he had to give in to rising meat prices. The small one is the “little devil” that had been on the RHB2 menu from the start.

    • KalashniKEV

      LOL @ Drax math… I must have failed “ECON 101.”

      (Oh, wait… I didn’t)

    • LOL

  • This is a good move. I had their steak sandwich on Monday night (had to go over to the new “Ray’s the Third” to get it), and thought it was good, but not great. I love their burgers and “real” steak entrees. Glad they’re sticking to what they do really well.

  • RJ

    Sorry, but that steak and cheese was the best I’ve ever had. Not sure how you can base a dedicated restaurant on a single excellent sandwich, but at least it’s still available across the street.

    • KalashniKEV

      Now when I want to stop in quick and get one I’ll just head across the street and not tip.

    • SomeGuy

      RJ, what’s your apology for?

  • Frivolous

    I gave it a shot and liked it, but it wasn’t a to-die-for must come back and tell everyone like I get when I’m at “The Steaks”. I did however get the meat-sweats, and they were wonderful… I love Ray’s

  • Garden City

    Good decision. I’ll be back.

  • Scoot Scoot

    Bring back the onion rings!

  • Zach

    Ugh. I support bringing back Ray’s Hell Burger Too in general, but I was JUST about to try the steak and cheese today at lunch for the first time. I don’t really have time to go sit down for lunch.


  • KalashniKEV

    I went there once-per-week it was open and loved it. I have never been to HB2 and never will go. I like counter service- something seriously lacking in the corridor.

    • Zach

      99% of the time I agree re: counter service, but in the case of Ray’s, I think my dislike of the compete-for-an-open-table chaos was greater than my preference for counter service at lunch. I went to Ray’s Too almost exclusively after it opened.

      Plus – those onion rings…

    • Mustard Gas Mike

      Too cheap to tip, eh?

      • KalashniKEV

        How do you think I became so wealthy?

        • You’ll need to save what normally would be tips to pay the additional “rich boy” tax.

  • MikeinDC

    So the “original” is a couple doors down, and “Too” is back to sit down, and if I want a “not Philly” cheesesteak, I mean, steak and cheese, I can go across the street. Got it. maybe. You know, 5 Guys, though not as good, is, also, not as confusing. There may be a lesson there.

    • DykeInRosslyn

      If you’re that easily confused, stay in DC.

  • Novanglus

    “Back by popular demand”! I guess closing a popular restaurant can really Ray’s a Ruckus.

    • CrystalMikey


  • Pingback: » Return of Hell Burger Too | Burger Days()

  • Matt

    NOOOOOOO! I loved Ray’s steak and cheese sandwich, and I loved eating it in a place that wasn’t fancy. How can I eat such a messy but spectacular sandwich in a restaurant with a hostess and wine list? Argh. I’ll have to ask for a table in the back corner.

    • CW

      Most table service restaurants around here will let you phone in to go orders. Not sure if Rays to the Third does or not, but you could look into it.

      • Aaron

        I’ve seen people get carryout from Ray’s^3, but I don’t recall whether I’ve even seen someone call their order in first.

  • cahill22201

    Cool- glad to see this. Frankly, it’s kind of fun to have this kind of dynamic in the hood. Never know what you’ll get. Speaking of, I am afraid my first and only trip to Ray’s^3 was a bust. I went to Real Ray’s on a Wednesday and then Ray’s^3 on Saturday, (out of town guests- I do not typically visit with this frequency) and ordered the exact same steak- their special ‘collette’. This was other worldly at Ray’s and I sent it back at Ray’s^3- a first for me and Ray of any kind. I think the kitchen staff needs a bit more supervision as it was clearly a preparation issue.

  • MichaelLandrum

    Matt and KalashniKEV:
    Your concerns are exactly why I chose to attempt The Steak and Cheese as a stand alone, counter-service joint.
    It may help you to know (and/or further confuse the already irritated) that except peak LUNCH hours, the steak and cheese will be available at the more casual setting of RHB2 and that except peak DINNER hours, we will offer a discounted TO GO only price for the steak and cheese (ordered from the bar or hostess stand).
    Phone orders are for large, pre-arranged, pre-paid orders at this point, but that may evolve.
    MikeInDC: 5 Guys is a fantastic company with a great product. It takes a small, growing company a lot of trial and error, with many mistakes and growing pains along the way, to get to be as good as them. Confusing, yes, and my apologies. But since they are all practically next door to each other, and since any member of the staff would be more than happy to guide you to the right place, it becomes pretty clear after the first visit. I remember my first visit to PHO 75 as very disorienting and confusing, even a bit scary.
    Thanks for your patience,
    Michael Landrum

    • Lyon Village Speedbump

      Bring Back the onion rings!!!! I was disappointed they aren’t on the menu anymore!

    • Ray’s newbie

      I’ve been raised in Arlington and yet I’ve STILL never been to any of the Rays locations! I’m sorry that I haven’t 1) because I hear it is tasty and I’m not sure why I’ve never gone in and 2) because I LOVE that you come on these sites and read the comments and post. You’re polite and although you have reason to defend against nay-sayers you’re never rude or harsh and often give props to other well qualified companies and yummy restaurants. That’s awesome, and in my book it not only makes you a good human being but a smart business owner. You can appreciate other businesses AND support your own at the same time! 🙂

    • KalashniKEV


      Thank you for the response! I usually stop by late in the day and live almost across the street, so I’ll definitely take advantage of the grab and go after peak dinner.

      I also have to thank you for the excellent dinner I enjoyed at Ray’s to the Third last night and look forward to many more! All of the offerings there have been great. (That’s my new favorite)


      • Madam Mao

        Wait until the staff learns you don’t leave a tip.

    • JR

      Michael, for what it is worth, I though your Steak & Cheese was fantastic. I’m glad it’s still available across the street and at RHBB2 at dinner. You are a great American.

  • Kristen

    We had the steak and cheese twice in one month. By far – best ever steak and cheese! I hope it can make a comeback for the lunch crowd!

  • Piet

    The burgers really aren’t all that people…there are many other options just as good, if not better, in both Arlington and DC. Had the WORST customer experience ever at Ray’s Too. Never stepped foot in any of his joints since, and don’t plan to again.

  • Zimmerman’s Hat

    I love the burgers!

  • Rob

    The elephant in the room that nobody is addressing is where can we get the tater-tots? If they’re gone forever, I will cry.

    • charlie

      No, the elephant is the burgers at H3 aren’t flame broiled.

  • Ray’s ing a Stink

    Piet….nothing like providing details of your WORST customer experience. It is kind of hard to fix something when people don’t know what’s broken. But then again, of all these post, you are the only one making such a claim so I am not convinced it was the customer service that stunk. Sounds more like it was the customer.


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