Best of Kent: best restaurant


The outside of Ray’s Place in Kent, Ohio. 

First place: Ray’s Place 

If you’re looking for a good place to eat that can only be found in Kent, Ray’s Place is the restaurant to go to. 

Having won first place in four different categories in last year’s Best of Kent, Ray’s Place has become a go to restaurant for many since it opened in 1937. 

The menu offers several bar food classics like wings, onion rings and burgers. It is also the home of the infamous Mo-Fo burger, which appeared on the Food Network’s TV show “Best Thing I Ever Ate!” where Michael Symon listed it as one of his favorites. 

“Meet Me at Ray’s” is a book written by Patrick O’Connor that shares the history of Ray’s Place. The book can be bought online but it is also available in the restaurant so all customers have the opportunity to read it. 

Ray’s Place offers a scholarship through the Kent State College of Business Administration. Originally named the Ray’s Place Entrepreneurship Scholarship, the award mainly focuses on helping juniors or seniors who work at least 15 hours a week and are entrepreneurship majors. The scholarship was created after owner Charlie Thomas wanted to help students trying to put themselves through college the way he had to, according to its website

Whether people suggest Ray’s Place for the food or the community around the food, you are sure to leave Ray’s with a full belly and some good laughs.

Second place: Erie Street Kitchen

Located at 163 W. Erie Street at the Venice Cafe, Erie Street Kitchen is known for its southern food made from fresh, local produce from places like Brimfield Bread Oven, Avant Gardens and Lucky Penny Creamery. 

Erie Street Kitchen creates dishes such as the Nashville hot and spicy chicken, hush puppies and country style shrimp and cheesy grits. 

Jeff Crowe, owner and chef at Erie Street Kitchen, has been in the Kent area for 17 years with his family. Crowe owned several restaurants and catering businesses in other cities like Atlanta, Nashville and Akron before coming to Kent. 

Customers not only get fresh food, but they are also able to experience regional bands and musicians in the area along with a weekly open mic night. The restaurant is open until 10 p.m. during the weekdays and the bar is open until 2 a.m. throughout the weekend.

Third place: Bricco

Having been in Kent since 2014, Bricco has been serving Italian food to the people of Kent for lunch and dinner, seven days a week since it opened. 

Bricco offers a range of different Italian dishes including pasta, pizza and several Italian inspired appetizers and entrees. For pizzas and pasta dishes, there is a gluten free and vegan cauliflower crust and vegan mozzarella as substitutes. 

The restaurant has space for large and small groups ranging anywhere from 10 to 250, according to its website. While the main part of the restaurant is only open until 11 p.m. and 12 a.m. on the weekends, the bar remains open until last 2 a.m.

Known for its 12 oz. martinis, Bricco offers a wide range of drinks depending on the season and location but some drinks, such as the pink elephant, espresso and patronarita, are available at every Bricco location. 

Customers are able to get carry out bottles of wine at any venue and can even make reservations in advance to ensure they get a table.

Contact Rachel Karas at [email protected].