A downtown Kent staple will be getting a new look this summer.
Designs for a new patio as well as first floor renovations are in the works for Ray’s Place.
Owner Charlie Thomas said he is unsure of the total cost and square footage because Kent City Council has yet to approve the plans. However, Thomas said the cost of the renovations would not be passed on to the patrons.
“No way,” Thomas said of the possibility of a cover charge. “That’s not Ray’s.”
Once approved, construction will probably start in June. Thomas said the upstairs of Ray’s will stay open while the first floor is closed for renovations, which should take about two months.
“We would love it if the upstairs and patio were open while the downstairs is being redone,” Thomas said.
The elevated patio will connect to the second floor of Ray’s and overlook the river. Thomas said it can be accessed from both the first and second floors, but customers must go inside the bar to get to the patio. He added that he plans for the patio to be non-smoking, but at this point, it’s “subject to change.”
Thomas said the patio would help Ray’s keep up with competition because more restaurants and bars have outdoor seating.
City Manager Dave Ruller agreed.
“People like the outdoor seating right now,” Ruller said. “It’s very trendy.”
The first floor will be remodeled in order to “correct a few things and spruce it up,” Thomas said. He said he plans on adding windows and more tables in front as part of the renovation. He said he had been considering the upgrade for the past five years.
“Ray’s is an icon here in Kent,” Ruller said. “I love the fact that he’s taking advantage of the space.”
Originally, Thomas said he and Glory Day’s owner Mike Beder had talked about building a two-level patio. Beder would own the second level and Thomas would own the first. Plans changed when Beder bought a neighboring property, as reported in the Daily Kent Stater.