Rays Pizza serves up a genuine taste of New York. The pizza pie that has become famous around the world. Since the first Rays Pizza opened in the 1950s, naming a NYC pizza establishment Rays has become a tradition. There's Famous Rays, the World-Famous Original Famous Rays, and other variations on the name for these New York City pizza places. It seems like every local New Yorker has a favorite, and many of them are eager to share their opinion. While it's nice to get some recommendations, nothing beats trying this New York tradition for yourself.
No matter which one of the New York City pizza places you choose, you can expect to find Manhattan's signature pie. Most of the pizzas features hand-tossed thin crusts, light on the sauce and with a little crisp to the crust. Often the pizzas are quickly cooked in wood-fired ovens, and sold by the slice. This is a nod to bakers from Naples who came to New York and brought the food to Coney Island at the beginning of the 19th century. Still today, the large, gooey pizzas of Rays Pizza are good for folding—a portable meal perfect for enjoying on the go. After throwing back a slice or two, you'll have plenty of time to explore Manhattan's best neighborhoods.
While there are Rays Pizza locations all around the world, it all started in Little Italy in 1959 according to some keepers of the pizza legend. As the story goes, restauranteur Ralph Cuomo opened the first location on Prince Street in the Lower Manhattan restaurant. This location has since closed, but the Rays name lives on.
Even though Ray's Pizza locations share a name and a common heritage, each one is different. Many of the locations are independently owned, with their own menus and specials. The Famous Original Ray's Pizza even has online ordering. This particular pizza place has many locations throughout Manhattan, close to the top things to do. There's two pizzerias in Uptown, one at Second Avenue at 94th Street and one at Columbus Avenue at 82nd. In Midtown, Famous Ray's has two locations on Seventh Avenue (at 54th or 49th) plus Broadway at 55 Street. The downtown locations are nestled at Houston at Orchard and Ninth Avenue and 24rd Street. The one location outside of Manhattan can be found in Westbury, on Long Island.
Confused about what makes one Ray's Pizza different from the other? Consider booking one of the NYC pizza tours. A good guide will know the best places to grab some New York pizza, and they'll have plenty of stories to swap as you're sampling the goods. Several companies offer tours of several New York City pizza places, giving the chance to eat your way from one to the next. And plus, they can explain the whole story of how New York pizza came to be a legend, starting as an exotic food imported from Italy. Many different tours are available, ranging from an hour-long jaunt to a few spots to an extensive tour that will have you visiting every legendary pizza spot all over Manhattan and beyond.