Joshua Henninger

Ray’s Place is hidden away on the Hill at Ayres Hall, but it is not a place you should forget about. The atmosphere is very family-like with the entire staff walking in and out of the kitchen, which is right in front of you when you walk in. Most of the food was great, and the price was very affordable for the typical college student.

It was a short walk around Circle Drive to reach Ray’s, and when I got there I was shocked by the size of the menu. They had five or six main items you can get or a cold deli sandwich. There were numerous enticing options on the menu all the way from the classic BBQ chicken or pork to things such as fired lasagna or pepperoni pizza, among others.

A great bonus is almost all the items come with one or two sides options depending on how much you want. There was a nice selection of sides, such as greens and baked beans.

They also have tons of different sauces and condiments you can get with your meal after you order on the counter. They have a selection of breakfast items as well if you get there a little early, and they have candy if that is what you’re craving.

I got the buffalo chicken tenders with the baked beans and a drink. The buffalo chicken tenders were very tasty, but they felt like they may have been overcooked a little. The breading on the chicken came off very easily and the chicken was hard to cut up. It was still very tender and good chicken, but it could have been a little better.

Furthermore, there was little to no buffalo taste on the chicken. I could not taste any spice on the chicken. It felt like just a regular chicken tender. The tenders overall were solid.

The baked beans were excellent. It was clear that they took time making the beans and that they were not just scooped out of the can. They had a very nice underlying BBQ taste to them, but the flavor was not too strong.

Another big plus for me personally was the lack of a Coke freestyle machine, so I could get my beloved Diet Coke in all of its glory. Overall, considering the price, I was very satisfied with the meal.

The real star of the show for me was the environment. It was so laid back and relaxing. It was the perfect break from the stress of classes. Another huge bonus is its secluded location. It makes it feel like an exclusive and almost luxury spot.

Ray and all the people also create such a welcoming feeling when you arrive there. I had no idea where to order or even where the menu was, but the staff were all very helpful and nice. The ladies at the register were very courteous, and we struck up a small conversation before I got my food and sat down.

Without any hesitation I would say that Ray’s slaps. The location and atmosphere are perfect. The food was great, although the buffalo chicken tenders could have been better. The price is a real lifesaver for any college student as well.

I would definitely recommend visiting there when you have a little extra time during the school day. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be coming back to try out more of the menu.

Joshua Henninger is a freshman majoring in supply chain management. He can be reached at jhennin5@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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