Ray’s Hell-Burger

Ray’s Hell-Burger, 1713 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA, 703-841-0001, open for lunch only on weekends, I believe 5 p.m. dinner on weekdays. (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Washingtonian | WaPo | menuism | Don Rockwell | Yelp]

Update February 2013: CLOSED

All they have is hamburgers and they don’t even have a side of French fries (you can get corn on the cob or potato chip or potato salad). It’s the best hamburger around by an order of magnitude. Yes, it is worth paying a $4 or $5 supplement for the specialty cheeses on the cheeseburger. I like the Amish cheddar but consider the Epoisses as well. The quality of the burger and the cheese here really just stunned me. By 12:15 on a Saturday the place is already chaos but somehow it seems to work. Order your burger at the counter and then be prepared to stand at a table (of sorts) and eat it. Not a place to sit and chat but who needs social pleasantries when the burger is so good? The ice cream is first-rate as well.

Update February, 2009: Ray’s Hell-Burger is still at 1713 Wilson, but Ray’s the Steaks has moved a few blocks west to 2300 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA, 703-841-7297. They take reservations at the new location.


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11 Responses to Ray’s Hell-Burger

  1. Kristen says:

    I second the quality of the meat and cheeses at Ray’s. If they would just frost the root beer mugs though…

  2. Jeff says:

    Agreed – the best burger. A bit too big and messy, but delicious. I would an easier seating process, but hey, the burgers and toppings are great!

  3. Derek Hughey says:

    I’d heard some great comments about this place, but I was underwhelmed. I thought the quality of the beef was good (but not outstanding) and the choice of toppings/cheese fantastic, but the bun was a real downer. To me, a burger can really set itself apart by having a good bun. Mine was too crunchy and almost stale.
    And – why don’t they have french fries? Sure, I respect them for deciding that the burgers are their focus – but I would definitely have liked some fries to scoop up some of the sauces that fell off my burger!
    Hats off to the root beer, though.

  4. Nicole says:

    I went here for lunch today, first time for me. For me, it lived up to the hype. They seem to have altered the strategy a bit though– they now offer quite a few sides, including fries and sweet potato fries, and you can sit down instead of standing an eating like many told me you have to.
    You have to go VERY hungry though, the burger is huge. I do agree with the comment on the buns though. The brioche they use isn’t substantial enough to hold up to the burger they fill it with, especially if you order your burger rare like I do. It just kind of… melted.
    This will definitely be the place I bring every twenty something male I have to entertain though!

  5. Daniel S. says:

    Just went to Ray’s Hell Burger tonight. I really enjoyed the “no frills” atmosphere, paired with incredible food. The ingredients were high quality and cooked perfectly, however I think I order too many toppings because of the novelty of it.
    In terms of seating, we didn’t have any problems at all. (it was a Thursday night)
    The only downside is the bread. I have to agree with the other critics of the buns. The bread completely melted by the end, making the last bites less satisfying than they should have been.

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  9. Daniel says:

    I prefer The Counter at Reston Towncenter over Ray’s Hell Burger. Try it out if you haven’t.

  10. AJ says:

    As an Arlington declined, Ray’s has been my go-to burger joint since it opened. Lately, however, the quality has suffered. and despite the variety of toppings and styles, I think they’re now inferior to 5 guys. The last two burgers I had at Ray’s were overcooked, dry, and unappealing. I occasionally get the foie gras as a treat, and it was dry, crumbly, and generally unpleasant. No longer worth the hype.

    • Jason Greaves says:

      Unfortunately, I have to agree with AJ that the quality has suffered (although not quite to the degree that he described it). The meat was still perfectly cooked the last few times I have been, but the cheese choices have gone down, and the prices have gone up, so it’s not the spectacular bargain it used to be.

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