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Meet Me at Ray's

A Celebration of Ray's Place in Kent, Ohio

Patrick J. O'Connor

104 pages
The Kent State University Press
Stories and trivia from a beloved Kent Institution

Meet Me at Ray’s celebrates more than seventy-five successful years (and counting) of Ray’s Place, a restaurant and bar located near the Kent State University campus in Kent, Ohio. Once referred to as the place “where the hustlers meet to hustle the hustlers,” Ray’s Place has survived decades of trends, changes, and events. Hundreds of students have worked there, thousands of customers have dined there, and millions of glasses have been raised there.

In Meet Me at Ray’s, author Patrick O’Connor features the stories, memories, and experiences of the legions of customers and employees who have made Ray’s Place what it’s been since 1937. Rooted in the hearts, minds, and experiences of the people who know it best, it is an “organic” story. Through humorous and poignant personal anecdotes, readers will come to know what makes Ray’s Place special and how important that is to the surrounding community. O’Connor has collected stories dating from 1943 to the present, including one declaring Ray’s Place the first sports bar in the United States. This book features the history of the eatery and its owners, including Charlie Thomas, the owner since 1978.

Through the long history of the restaurant, four different owners have sustained the connections between local residents and Kent State University employees, students, and alumni. For literally thousands, Ray’s Place is synonymous with Kent State University and Kent, Ohio.

A wealth of Ray’s Place trivia, traditions, and fun facts are complemented by photographs and original artwork that help tell the unique story of this Northeast Ohio institution.

Author Bio
Patrick J. O’Connor teaches at Kent State University in the College of Education, Health, and Human Services. He has authored collegiate-level marketing textbooks, monographs, and several articles in professional journals. He is also the author of the YouKnowAmerica book series.

The cover art and “Charlie says” illustration were created by Patrick A. O’Connor. The son of author Patrick J., Patrick A. is a cartoonist and animator based in Burbank, California. He has received numerous awards over the years, especially for his work as a political cartoonist. Patrick was the editorial cartoonist for the Daily Kent Stater from 1994 through 2000. He also created the original artwork for the YouKnowAmerica series.