Cheap Eats 2010: Ray’s Hell-Burger

100 places that offer great food at low prices.

Why go: The lines at this burger joint—now in the bigger space that used to house sibling Ray’s the Steaks—are holding strong since last year’s Obama/Biden lunch visit. But rather than coasting, owner Michael Landrum has made his burgers better. Much of the fun comes from his high-end/lowbrow idiosyncrasies: Where else can you down a foie gras burger and a Cheerwine at the same meal?

What to get: The basic burger, which can be topped with a wide range of cheeses, from American to Époisses, and dressed with such free toppings as roasted garlic and sautéed mushrooms with sherry; the fiery New Jack burger, a Cajun-spiced patty with pepperjack, jalapeños, and grilled onions; B.I.G. Poppa, a black-peppered burger with blue cheese and mushrooms; mac and cheese; coleslaw.

Best for: Burger connoisseurs (locally, this is Mecca); dinner on the later side when the crowds thin.

Insider tip: Bring cash (no credit cards accepted) and be prepared to move in and out quickly if you’re eating here—usually lots of people are jockeying for a spot. If it’s a nice day, get a burger to go and stand at one of the tall tables outside.

>> See all 2010 Cheap Eats restaurants here 

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.