As a New Yorker, I am incredibly picky when it comes to pizza. Born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, I can argue that I am an expert on knowing when I have tasted a great slice of pizza. Of course, I’m not alone as I share that expertise with millions of other New Yorkers who have been raised on New York Pizza. For the most part, the best pizza that you are going to find in New York is on Long Island and in the boroughs of the city like the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and certain places in Manhattan. I use the term certain places in Manhattan because sadly, there are a lot of tourist trap pizzerias in Manhahhatt. These are pizzerias that overcharge and focus on selling pizza to tourists who at times may not know better. Of course, rents are extremely high in Manhattan and many of these pizzerias, especially around Midtown and Times Square, have no choice but to keep their costs low. These places focus on selling a lot of pizza to pay the rent. Do these issues have an effect on the quality of the pizza? The answer is absolutely yes.
Ray’s Pizza name is somewhat famous in New York City. In fact, some of the pizzerias actually use the famous part in their name as many of them are called “Famous Ray’s Pizza. There are also other Ray’s Pizzerias called “World-Famous Original Ray’s Pizza” or simply just Ray’s Pizza. There is a long history behind the name Ray’s Pizza going back to the late 1950s in the city. However, the history of Ray’s Pizza is not the focal point of this article. In this review, we look at one particular Rays Pizza. That one would be called Famous Original Ray’s Pizza which is located in Times Square in New York City’s borough of Manhattan. The pizzeria is situated just on the edge of Times Square on Seventh Ave just south of 48th Street.
Famous Original Ray’s Pizza is a small pizzeria. There are some tables inside, but most people just grab a slice and go. On my visit, I sat outside even though it was pretty cold out. I had covid and I don’t want it again, so I am pretty careful now. Inside, the counter was lined with many pizza varieties including Margarita Pizza, Taco Pizza, Ceasar Salad Pizza, Pene Alla Vodka Pizza, and many other varieties that just about covered every standard Italian dish that you could throw on a pizza. Nonetheless, we judge pizzerias by one item alone, and that is the standard cheese slice of pizza.
In Midtown, pizzerias that are pretty busy, the workers are not always that friendly, as they are doing so much business they are just trying to keep up with demand. However, it was a little slow when I visited Famous Original Ray’s Pizza and the server was very friendly.
I ordered one slice of cheese pizza. The first thing I noticed was that it was a very small slice. Like I said before, Times Square pizzerias are looking to maximize profit in the wake of high expenses. One way to do that is to sell smaller slices at higher prices. That type of business will work on tourists, but it’s not going to fly with anyone living or working in the area as no one is going to go back to a pizzeria on a steady basis in which the slices are just way too small. There is just too much competition as there is basically a pizzeria on almost every block in the city in certain places. You can judge for yourself as the slices is in the video below.
Serving a small slice to a New Yorker reviewing pizza is not a good way to start out. However, I made sure to focus on the taste that this review is really all about. Was it specials was it a real New York slice, or just a suburban mall imitation? The answer only took one bite to know what I was eating. I gave it two bites to be certain, but I knew in the first bite. This was pretty much tourist pizza. On the positive side, it had just the right amount of cheese and sauce. The crust was clean, which proved that they clean their overns. It wasn’t bad, but it lacked any sort of definite taste that would separate this pizza from the rest.
To someone who had never tasted New York pizza before, it would probably win them over right away. Yet, there was a real lack of any spices or oil that would take it to the neighborhood level of a pizza maker that had been doing it for years. This was corporate pizza made with a corporate recipe fueled by owning a name that many people think offers something special. Well, maybe it did in another place and time, but definitely not on Seventh Ave and 49th Street.
Ray’s Pizza Review In New York City’s Times Square article published on BigCityReview.com© 2022
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