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Ray's the Steaks and Retro Ray's (Next Door) - Michael Landrum's Steakhouses in Courthouse - Closed


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One of my most memorable dates with my then-fling, now-wife was the DR.com dinner at Ray's original Courthouse location, when Mr. Landrum did all the cooking and the serving I believe almost completel

Seventeen years in business hardly seems like a failed concept.

Matt and I had a date very early on in our relationship at the old, old RTS location in Rosslyn, and he had told me he had eaten there many times, I was so impressed.  I remember seeing people interac

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On 6/5/2019 at 12:55 PM, BookGuy said:

To be honest, I was never impressed by Landrum’s restaurants, all good concepts that faded away.  At Rsy’s And at Hellburger, I always felt that there was something missing.  People who I took to Ray's complained that there was a strong feeling of being rushed.  Considering the failed businesses, good for a bit and then gone, there needs to be a fuller analysis of why these concepts failed.

A lot to unpack here.  The Courthouse/Clarendon area of today isn't comparable to the business environment 17, and even 7 years ago.  Rents have skyrocketed while numerous businesses have been forced to close.  I would also suggest we need to separate East River - what many of us would consider to be a noble, albeit risky venture.  

I've never personally experienced the rushed service, but its a common enough refrain that it must've been present.  But I do have to ask, are expectations the same for Rays the Steaks as they are for The Palm/Bourbon Steak etc. in terms of service and time spent?  Landrum's intention appeared to be to cater to a different diner, with different expectations.  It may be worth noting that another steakhouse down the street - Harry's Tap Room, which was more traditional, lasted only 5-6 years.

I'm not defending Landrum's business acumen, but suggesting that his product was good enough to carry this restaurant far beyond that of many in the area, but ultimately succumbed to the dramatically changing dynamics of the neighborhood.

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i·ro·ny1
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noun
 
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    • a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.
      noun: dramatic irony; plural noun: tragic irony
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Matt and I had a date very early on in our relationship at the old, old RTS location in Rosslyn, and he had told me he had eaten there many times, I was so impressed.  I remember seeing people interact with ML and having no idea it was him, he would be at the host stand, or etc, and he might say something sarcastic and they had no idea.  I recall someone being mad about no reservations and he offered to call up (insert fancy steak house) and get them a table while they got a taxi.  I am a very sarcastic person, I always kind of enjoyed those moments.  Since then we had date nights, anniversary dinners, birthday dinners, family dinners, burgers with friends with sleeves rolled up, consolation dinners when we just needed a pick me up and a good steak that wasn't super expensive.  Hubby would always have guys' night there and all his friends would drive from all over Northern Virginia to get there, if he came home with any leftover steak, I would have a late night bite of his leftovers.  It was a refuge in Arlington from all the new concepts and bros, and just in some way modernity of what is now Arlington. Anyway, I can see why it would not be some peoples taste, and that is ok, but I am happy there are a lot of people that are having a chance of one last moment to relive, to me, what was a past essence of Arlington before brown flip flops, scooters, turning every church into a condo and the Don Taco empire.

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From a quick look it appears there are about 40 people lined up to get into Ray's at about 5:35 with some already sitting.  It looks too crowded for me to get into there tonight.  I'd suggest getting into line early for those that wish to have a farewell dinner Saturday or next week.

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3 hours ago, DaveO said:

From a quick look it appears there are about 40 people lined up to get into Ray's at about 5:35 with some already sitting.  It looks too crowded for me to get into there tonight.  I'd suggest getting into line early for those that wish to have a farewell dinner Saturday or next week.

I had planned on going on the late side.

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We were young, poor, and clueless, but still had access to great steak, because we fortunate enough to work in Rosslyn at just the right time. I learned about my love of the hanger; he, for Chateaubriand. Some have noted over the years that RTS & co. didn't appeal to everyone.  Since we cut our baby steak teeth at the original RTS, we didn't see the appeal in stuffier, more expensive places that dominated pre-food-renaissance DC (and if you want something a bit nicer, just go to the RTClassics!).  Thank you, Michael, for a great run. Since we moved away years ago, we've been missing the Rays restaurants forever, and now everyone else can too.

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14 minutes ago, cuisine soignee said:

Full menu still available? Trying to arrive tonight right as doors open, for one last dinner.

It was on Monday. Note that while doors officially open at 5:30p, they have been opening doors at 5p.

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I’m very sad to see Ray’s close, as I’ve long considered Ray’s my favorite restaurant in Arlington. 

It’s rare that any restaurant can be so consistently good for 17 years. I don’t ever remember having a bad or unsatisfying meal there. I know of few restaurants (at any price) I could say that about.

What makes this closure personally more poignant, however, is the lack of “substitutes” - especially in Arlington.

I wish the restaurant’s team best wishes and good luck moving forward.

.

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As I walked by Ray's this morning (6/17) every table setting was set --as if they will be serving dinner tonight. 

A little later I ran into someone who was there during the "havoc" of the last two weeks.  He loved the restaurant and said the last meal might have been the best.  Upon finishing they gave the customers a small free dessert but also "rushed them out" to get another couple at the table.  He hopes they survive.

Edited by DaveO
ran into a commentator a little later
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6 hours ago, DaveO said:

As I walked by Ray's this morning (6/17) every table setting was set --as if they will be serving dinner tonight. 

A little later I ran into someone who was there during the "havoc" of the last two weeks.  He loved the restaurant and said the last meal might have been the best.  Upon finishing they gave the customers a small free dessert but also "rushed them out" to get another couple at the table.  He hopes they survive.

A little after 5PM I walked by again.  The place is dark; there is no FOH staff.  Meanwhile every table remains set with plate, silverware and a drinking glass.  The setting includes a napkin and Ray's type silverware with a knife and steak fork.   My gut is that "something is occurring" though I don't know what.  I wouldn't be shocked if something occurs...though what and when is above my "payscale".  

My gut is that "something" is occurring....but what is .....to be determined...............

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1 hour ago, DaveO said:

A little after 5PM I walked by again.  The place is dark; there is no FOH staff.  Meanwhile every table remains set with plate, silverware and a drinking glass.  The setting includes a napkin and Ray's type silverware with a knife and steak fork.   My gut is that "something is occurring" though I don't know what.  I wouldn't be shocked if something occurs...though what and when is above my "payscale".  

My gut is that "something" is occurring....but what is .....to be determined...............

Maybe a last staff dinner or something? I don’t even know if that’s a thing.

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13 hours ago, DaveO said:

A little after 5PM I walked by again.  The place is dark; there is no FOH staff.  Meanwhile every table remains set with plate, silverware and a drinking glass.  The setting includes a napkin and Ray's type silverware with a knife and steak fork.   My gut is that "something is occurring" though I don't know what.  I wouldn't be shocked if something occurs...though what and when is above my "payscale".  

My gut is that "something" is occurring....but what is .....to be determined...............

It could be Michael with one last mind fuck (don’t forget, Ray’s “closed” about 10-12 years ago - if you go back far enough in this thread, you’ll find it).

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This morning a staffer from the building was covering up the canopy at the entrance. The Rays the Steaks printing is no longer visible. 

Boy:   I ate at Rays and at Arlington Hellburger during their heyday and during their decline; the decline represented by a thinning of the crowds.  It was apparent to me as a diner over time; it must have been far more apparent to Michael.  It was far more apparent at HellBurger than at Rays.   The meals were virtually always excellent.  At one point at Ray's they missed my order while I sat there for a relatively long time.  When I made them aware of the mistake they corrected it so automatically and with such ferver--it was impressive.  The steaks, the burgers, some of the other dishes were invariably superb.  

Got to admit that it pisses me off and  disappoints me.  The damn restaurant business is freaking tough.  Hope he walked away with a hidden stash of cash because he sure created and caused a wave for probably most of a decade before the volume started to decrease.

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3 hours ago, deangold said:

Don't know what the bidding will be like or the condition of the equipment, but $900 current bid for a shoot ton of equipment seems like a steal. 

Less than 2 hours left. Up to $2k. They just added wine inventory as well.

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That was Friday.   Today the buyers were picking up the equipment.  The landlord is pushing this.  I strongly suspect the landlord was owed a healthy amount of money...pushed the closing and now pushed this auction, sale and removal of equipment.  In fact there is a new large "for lease" sign on the Wilson Blvd side of the street.  The landlord is not wasting time.....now.  

Meanwhile I sooooo miss both Ray's and HellBurger. 

What the hell happened?????

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On ‎8‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 4:13 PM, deangold said:

Equipment went for almost 9K.  

That was a ton of equipment.  Enough for several restaurants.  Seems parts of the place were used as storage for equipment from other Rays.

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34 minutes ago, MarkS said:

That was a ton of equipment.  Enough for several restaurants.  Seems parts of the place were used as storage for equipment from other Rays.

I spoke to the guys loading the tables chairs, and non BOH equipment.  They bought a "ton" of stuff--enough for several restaurants, or so they claimed.

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