While campus can be an enjoyable place, I often find that there are few special events to distinguish Friday nights from any other night of the week here. Fridays are meant to be not just enjoyable, but a blast. However, the closest larger towns are Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Ann Arbor.
Those places have clubs, nice restaurants, and museums, but sometimes all you need is a great hamburger.
And I found the perfect place: Ray’s Tavern in Reading, Mich. Serving up wonderful burgers, Ray’s is a small, hole-in-the wall restaurant on South Main Street, founded by Ray Rudelier and his wife Rosa.
This restaurant provides just as much enjoyment as one in the city, and with a unique feel: drinks are served in pink cups and old-style lanterns adorn the lights. On Friday nights, customers from Reading and elsewhere flood the restaurant.
Sherryl, a waitress at Ray’s commented on the diversity of the people who visit.
“You get all sorts of people here. You get the hometown ones, the people who own property on the lake, you get a lot of those, and the people just passing through,” she said.
From burgers, to fries, to specialty onion rings, Ray’s offers these customers a variety of wonderful foods.
In April of 1989, USA Today published a search of the perfect burger, and Ray’s Tavern won first place in a nation-wide search. By the taste of things, Ray’s has continued to make their burgers to perfection. With fresh bread for the bun, plenty of toppings, and delicious, juicy meat, a Ray’s burger is not an average burger.
The USA Today article is one of two articles on the wall at Ray’s. The other article is about a Hillsdale student named Tim Van Nuys. Ray’s showed their support for Van Nuys work as a constant attendee of the tavern by putting the article on their wall.
The restaurant has a welcoming and casual feel. Many customers are on a first name basis. With just a short drive, you can escape usual campus life and experience a new community.
Ray’s is just one example in a long line of interesting weekend opportunities available to students who are willing to search. So next time you are tempted to simply complain about the lack of local night life, open up your laptop and Google what’s in your neck of the woods. You just might find the “world’s perfect burger.”