As if things weren't confusing enough when it comes to the name Ray's and the world of pizza. The New York Times chronicles the move of Ray's Real Pizza, once a Times Square pizzeria whose customers included (at some time or other) Alec Baldwin, Puff Daddy Diddy Dude, and Dom DeLuise.
The story mostly details how the former Times Square location attracted celebs and how the new Hazlet digs are devoid of famous eaters: "The Russo brothers keep a camera under the counter just in case a celebrity happens to stumble in. Some customers claim they’ve seen Jon Bon Jovi, the drummer Max Weinberg and Bruce Springsteen drive by."
Given the way that most pizzerias (and restaurants in general) seem to exaggerate star appearances, it's hard to tell if Ray's Real Pizza was ever a celeb magnet, but when you're touting a Max Weinberg drive-by, things have definitely slowed down in the limelight department.
Truth Hammer: The First Ray's
Also, I've gotta bring out the Truth Hammer here. You may see some other websites (ahem, Grub Street) getting confused and dubbing Ray's Real Pizza "the actual original Ray's Pizza," but that is far from the case. Ray's Real is said to have opened "in the late 1970s," according to today's Times story. Compare that to this nugget from the Times archives:
Documents gathered during the Rays' legal battle show that there was no Ray's Pizza listed in the 1959 Manhattan telephone book. That was the year Ralph Cuomo, the 22-year-old son of immigrants from southern Italy, opened a pizzeria in Little Italy, using his mother's recipe.
It was at 27 Prince Street, between Mott and Elizabeth Streets, on the first floor of a building that his family lived in and owned. The next year's telephone book listed the name: Ray's Pizza.
Ray's Real Pizza
3429 State Route 35, Hazlet NJ 07730 732-203-1600