Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Before McDonalds

Rays Restaurant  - next to Radford Brothers on North Main Street

Before Ronald McDonald rolled into town there was Ray's.  In fact, there were two of them..... one on North Main and one on South Main.  Ray's served yummy charbroiled burgers and plump roast beef sandwiches, french fries, and other delicious fast food treats.

I need help from my readers out there who remember Ray's.  The one on South Main was up in the vicinity of what was then the Blacksburg High School.  It seems that particular restaurant either BECAME a Hardees, or WAS a Hardees and changed to Ray's.  Or were they two separate places?  See what 40 years does to your memory!!!!

I just remember, being a teenager, how much I liked the food.  By the way, they also went by the name of Ray's Kingburgers.

15 comments:

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  2. Dennis,

    The one on South Main was across from 1st and Main. It is now the AAMCO Transmission place. The Hardees, which is now Clay Court (or something like that) was always a Hardees (as best I can remember).
    I actually worked at the Ray's next to Radford Brothers when I was in High School in the early 70's.
    I don't remember the Roast Beef, but I remember the 15 cent Queenburger and 45 cent Kingburger deals. Those really sucked because we didn't have a limit on the number you could order. One time a guy ordered 100 Queenburgers and said he was going to freeze them.
    Fried chicken and hotdogs were sold there also.
    Ray's also started selling breakfast when I worked there and I really liked the sausage and egg sandwich.
    We had a streaker come thru the lobby one night back when when that was a big fad.

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  3. Hey, thanks SO much for clearing that up. Someone else had told me that the southernmost Ray's was in the area you described too. I remember the Hardee's near the old high school quite well ... you could see the burgers being cooked on an open flame broiler. It was nice to hear from someone who actually worked at Ray's, so thanks again.

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  4. Wow - in regards to the one that's now the dealership, I have always wondered what that building was originally! I thought it looked like it could've been a restaurant. Great to finally find out that it was.

    I remember that old Hardee's building. I think the last building in there was a travel agency. I took a picture of it not long before it was demolished in the mid-00s. I recognized it for being an old Hardee's, because there is a similar-shaped building in Fredericksburg that my mother had remarked was originally a Hardee's. She told me that was their basic building shape at one time. That building is still in Fredericksburg; current owners changed the edges of the roof a little, but the basic shape is the same. The Blacksburg and Fredericksburg examples are the only ones I have seen.

    I wish there were more funky-shaped buildings like that around today; I love creative architecture!

    ~Martha

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  5. Hey Martha, I used to live in Fredericksburg ... which building or business there are you talking about? Not "Carl's" is it?

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  6. It's the one right next door to Carl's on Princess Anne Street. If you walked across Hunter Street (residential side street next to Carl's) it's the next building over - think it's a seafood restaurant right now - Captain Sid's, maybe? I just looked it up on Google Maps (2100 Princess Anne Street) and you can see a nice satellite view of the roof on there :)

    The roof edging has changed a little but is still distinctive. The "spike" coming out of the top is long gone, though.

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  7. My recollection was the same as your original post. I remember the middle school/high school Rays converting to Hardeee.

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  8. My parents divorced in the early 60's, but my father remained in Blacksburg and I would see him drive by on occassion. If I was lucky, he'd be on the way to the Sportsman's Center and I would be able to run fast enough to catch him as he parked his car. It was always good for a burger and coke and a couple of dimes to play the pinball machine. I had gotten pretty good on one of those machines and used to beat the college kids on a regular basis. Getting free games was a piece of cake for me. At that point in time my father worked at ElectroTech and I guess this must have been one of his lunch time stomping grounds. The only time I remember eating there was with my father. I can also remember stopping for a quick bite on the walk home a few times - but I just really didn't care for charbroiled burgers. I stuck with the ones from Corner Drug with the soft steamed rolls and pickles!

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  9. Susan, I liked the charbroiled burgers myself but also liked the food at Corner Drug too.

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  10. I recall the Ray's on North Main sitting up on a hill. The restaurant building became a cleaner's at one time. Maybe back in the late '80's?

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  11. I worked at the Ray's on North Main for a couple of years also, trying to replace the legendary Brian MacInnis after he graduated from high school. John Fowler was the manager, and he remains one of the best bosses I ever had. I kind of liked the 15-cent Queenburger specials, because I got super fast and assembling and wrapping them. Occasionally, however, a customer would return with a bun and no burger, so I may have been going a little TOO fast.
    Speaking of that Hardee's, every kid who went to the "old" BHS knew it well. Probably none more than Stanley Smith. He was approaching the high school from the north (Hardee's) side of the building, and a guy tossed a Hardee's vanilla milkshake out of a second story window that landed right smack on Stanley's head. Stanley is known to all as "Milkshake" to this day. Somebody please tell me who threw that milkshake, because as a high school culinary arts teacher, these are among the stories that I often recite to my students, and I want to be sure that I have my facts straight :-)

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  12. There was also a Ray's in Christiansburg.

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  13. I recall Ray's well, we would dash across from the dorms when they had their Queenburger specials (10c as I recall) and buy bagfulls, never thinking of the workload on the staff, just gutsing out on the things.

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  14. I grew up near the Rays on S. Main. The burgers were awesome as I recall. I got a Kingburger once and it had a bloody band aid in it, apparently falling off of one of the worker's fingers. I took it back in to complain and some old bag took the band aid out, threw it in the trash, wrapped the burger back up and handed it back to me, nuff said.

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  15. Before it was Ray's (or am I confusing locations) wasn't there a drive in there with great milkshakes? And the sign was a lady in white boots and tight pants with a busty profile holding a tray? A giant, larger than life woman...what was that called?

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