Best Place to Take Your Family to Eat


A Saturday evening crowd occupies the first floor of Ray’s Place in downtown Kent on April 8, 2017.

Dylan Reynolds

Best of Kent 2019

Winner: Ray’s Place

Ray’s Place won the award for Best Place to Take Your Family to Eat, but it’s highly likely your family will ask you to take them to Ray’s. Known for generations as the place where the college crowd meets the townie crowd, Ray’s is also beloved by the parent and grandparent crowd.

From the critically acclaimed burgers to the fresh wings and salads, owner Charlie Thomas said everything on the menu sells well and tastes good. If your family likes beer, there are 64 options on tap as well as a wide selection of wines and liquors.

Beyond the food, the restaurant has a rich history going back more than 80 years. Many former Kent State students will remember Mother’s Junction, a one-time concert venue in the upstairs of the restaurant. Thomas said he inherited Mother’s Junction, which is now part of Ray’s, when he purchased the property in 1978.

“On a Wednesday night, we’d have (Cleveland country-rock band) Buckeye Biscuit Band and quarter draft beers and what have you,” he said. “And we’d put four to five hundred people up there on a Wednesday night. And you couldn’t find four to five hundred kids out in this town on

a Wednesday night anymore.”

That’s just one part of the history that makes Ray’s Place the perfect place to take your folks when they come visit.

Second: Mike’s Place

If you want to confuse and disorient your family when they come to visit (but in a good way), take them to Mike’s Place. Known for its eccentric decoration and jaw-droppingly long menu, this Kent establishment has been cooking since 1987.

You can eat your meal in a variety of exciting environments, including an Elvis booth, a bus, a boat and a booth loaded with stuff from Mr. Bilbo’s, a now-closed bar in Akron.

Third: Bricco

If you want to show your family one of the nicest restaurants in town, take them to Bricco. Its lunch and dinner menus feature a range of options for any taste or price range, such as spinach rotini for $9 all the way up to strip steak for $30.

Your family will love the heated outdoor patio, and if you have a really big family, check out the party room that can accommodate groups of up to 50.