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Ray's Tavern is the Youngstown Business of the Year

by jpauly
Mon, Mar 14th 2016 03:00 pm
Ken and Diane
Ken and Diane

The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Ray's Tavern as the recipient of the Youngstown Business of the Year Award. The Youngstown Business and Professional Association assist the chamber in providing a business nomination that has showed dedication and service to the Youngstown community.

Ray's Tavern, owned by Diane Eckert along with her husband Ken for the past twenty six years, is located at 1698 Lake Road in the Town of Porter between the Village of Youngstown and Ransomville.  It is a favorite among locals, but many visitors driving along Rt. 18 on the Seaway Trail happen to find Ray's and are glad they did! The building is quite unique, built in 1929 with bricks brought in by horse and buggy from an old high school being demolished at the time in Lockport.  At one time, a chicken coop was kept on the 2nd floor, where Ken and Diane now reside. A beacon, long ago destroyed by a wind storm, used to adorn the top of the building, signaling when the dining establishment was open, used as a signal for those on Lake Ontario,  and also as a way to communicate during prohibition when it was safe to smuggle in alcohol.

The location has been a dining establishment for a long time.  Diane's mother and father purchased the building in 1957 operating it as well as leasing it out.  Ray's Tavern is named after Dian's father and was also known as "Ray's Rendezvous".  Diane was in the restaurant business and Ken was working in the electrical field when they decided to move from Florida to Western New York.   Now Ken and Diane have ten employees as well as the help of their sons Ken and Nick who have grown up working just about any job that needed to be done at Ray's Tavern from busing tables to mowing the grass.

Open six days a week (closed on Tuesdays) for lunch and dinner, Ray's Tavern caters to a good mix of local residents and visitors.  Friday is the busiest night of the week and the crowds are heaviest during the summer tourist months.   Several notable events are held throughout the year that pack the house, including St. Patrick's Day with a special buffet served as well as Super Bowl Sunday, complete with giveaways.  The building is unique with the outdoor wood boiler helping to keep the building warm paired with the gas stove in the dining room, helps to create a cozy atmosphere.  Over the years updates have been made to the dining room and restrooms using local contractors to help make improvements. 

The menu contains a variety of options but customer favorites include the Fish Fry, Beef on Weck and Burgers as well as a bar menu.  Lottery, pool table, music box and darts give a variety to the tavern as a casual bar with a dining room off to the side.  Diane likes to add to the menu, working with what customers want and ask for.  Word of Mouth has been the best form of advertising and according to Diane - her youngest son has one of the biggest! With good homemade food and a great atmosphere, Ray's may be off the beaten path on Lake Road, but it is one not to be missed. 

Many organizations host their meetings and get togethers at Ray's Tavern including the Daughters of the American Revolution, Red Hat Ladies, Youngstown Exempts (meet monthly) and Youngstown Business & Professional Association.  Ray's Tavern supports many organizations including events at the Ransomville Speedway, Festival of Wreaths, and Ransomville and Youngstown Fire Halls to name a few.  The community is what drives Diane and Ken to enjoy what they do.  As Diane says "99% of all people are wonderful"!

The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce along with the Youngstown Business and Professional Association proudly congratulate Ray's Tavern as the 2016 Youngstown Business of the Year.

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