Ray's Hell-Burger

So you read this and then that and collectively almost peed yourself because you could NOT wait to visit Michael Landrum's latest maneuver? Us too!

We DID wait until Thursday, its third day of business, to make our appearance...after all, we don't want to wait on line. We're too cool for that (Disclaimer: We are not too cool for waiting on line at Dairy Godmother, where we have recently done some serious waiting...that's what we get for not checking the CustardCam).

In case you don't already know, Michael Landrum (proprietor of Ray's the Steaks/Bar/Classics) opened a new joint called Ray's Hell-Burger (officially Butcher Burgers, but that's because the government doesn't like H-E-double hockey sticks in a name) a few doors down in the same shopping center as Ray's the Steaks, my favorite stop when I'm seriously craving fluffy blackened salmon and to-die-for mashed tatoes. J tells me we can thank the recession for the recent explosion of new burger places--burgers are cheap, so people who have stopped going out for more expensive dinners will still plunk down $8-15 for a good one. It's kind of like why I've been to Tackle Box 6 times and Citronelle just once.

You can get a bunch of toppings for free (grilled red onions, mushrooms, etc), others for a small fee (avocado, fancy and not-as-fancy cheeses...), and delicious it will be.

All rhyming aside, I loved watching the meat being cut and then grinded/ground (I can't decide) before my eyes. No frozen dehydrated backdoor nonsense there. The burger was huge (they suggest cutting it in half) and delicious, I got it cooked "Recommended." There are no fries, which I consider to be a positive--if you are eating a 10 oz burger, twice the suggested serving of meat for one meal, you do not need any french fries. Eat a vegetable, people. All burgers at Ray's (at least this summer) come with a slice of watermelon and a piece of corn on the cob. My corn could have used another few days to ripen, but I ate it anyway and it was tasty for what it was. Watermelon was good, and the best part was I didn't have to slice it myself. Yes!

We always have great service at Ray's (including complimentary dessert on J's birthday...even though we didn't tell them it was his birthday), and RHB was no different. When Tiny didn't eat half her burger and a staff member asked if she liked it, she honestly replied "no." She ordered medium rare and probably should have gotten medium--it was pretty rare. The staff member gently chided her for not asking them to throw it back on for a few minutes (don't be shy, folks! They've opened the door to it now!) and escorted her to the ice cream area to get a big free waffle cone of her choice. Tiny was sad no longer.

Best thing about Ray's I haven't said yet: Cheerwine (tastes kind of like cherry root beerish...sorta) and root beer on tap (although I'd prefer a larger pitcher)

Worst thing about Ray's I haven't said yet: OK, it's not horrible, but out of all the lovely things I have to say about Ray's, I'll tell you what could be better. A home-made bun. A fresh home-made bun would bring this burger and this place to a new level of fab.

Ray's Hell-Burger aka Butcher Burgers (for the feds)
1725 Wilson Boulevard, or near there (that's officially the RTS address) - there's no sign yet, but if you are facing the shopping center, RHB is almost all the way to the right
Arlington, VA
Metro: Orange Line to Court House, or an uphill walk from Orange or Blue Lines to Rosslyn.


  1. I had the Cheerwine too, evidently a southern specialty (via Food Network's Unwrapped). Good stuff...

  2. I didn't have it at Ray's, but tried it the next week down in Washington, VA--a bottle was $.99 and I enjoyed it sitting on the porch. Next time at Ray's I'll probably get one, but I doubt it will be $.99.