Quick review of Rayya: great food while you're on the go, probably not the best sit-in locale, but a fabulous little family-owned diner to run in and run out of.
I was wandering around the city today, in desperate search for last minute items for Cool Summer this evening, and I got a fit of the hungries on the way to the bus. My first thought? Skyline, though I knew it would leave my stomach churning in the hot sun and with the long evening ahead. I needed something else, and I've always thought it might be nice to try something new amongst the little shops downtown.
Thank god I was on Court Street.
When I walked into Rayya Restaurant (29 E. Court Street), my first thought was, "Oh my god, I've walked into My Big Fat Greek Wedding." From the little old Greek man sitting out front, to the pretty late 20s/early 30s Greek daughter helping mom behind the counter, to the drawing of the Parthenon on the front of the menu, I might as well have been in Dancing Zorba's on that movie, though much smaller. The layout is like any other quick service locale downtown -- a couple of tables, a bar from which everything is served, and the kitchen in the back. Very informal. So informal, in fact, mom walked back to grab my cheeseburger and walked it back out in her hand (gloves on), slid the fries on my table, and unobtrusively shouted, "What you want on it?"
I got it to go and walked it down to the busstop in front of the court house, and pulled it out, where I promptly took a picture, much to the amusement of my fellow bus riders.
As for the food: it's blandish and will remind you of an improved version of your high school's half-assed attempts at palatable beef. If you're going for the burger of the year award, Rayya is not the winner. It's juicy, the add-ons were good, and the fries -- lightly salted -- were acceptable. You will not leave this burger thinking, "I must have another one tomorrow!" Rather, for $5, you'll think, "That was a pretty decent meal." And, even better, it's perfect while you're running. Their menu is long and littered with classic diner fair to gyros and a handful of Greek items I had never heard of. All of it, I'm assuming, are hand-held delights that you can run off in the paper bag back to your office. Total time waiting on my meal? 5 minutes. And it was made fresh. The fries were steaming and the burger was hot off the grill.
Cheap, decent fair. Completely worth a check-in if you happen to be in the area and hit the hungries.