Ray's Hell Burger

1725 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209
Ray's Hell Burger on Urbanspoon

As you can tell from my weekend in North Cackalackey, I've been eating pretty good and unfortunately, pretty heavy.  So, for today at lunch, I was thinking that I want something healthy to eat.  (Eyes on the post, please.  I see you suspiciously looking up at the title of the post).  I looked around to see what was close and decided that Ray's Hell Burger was the place to go for some healthy goodness.  Okay, okay, so I didn't find any of the healthier options appealing today so I made a beeline for perhaps (you'll see later) the most unhealthy option of all.  Don't judge.

If you don't already know, Ray's Hell-Burger is pretty effin' famous.  It may be the pre-eminent burger joint in DC and the omnipresent crowds are proof positive of that.  I've tried to go on previous occasions and I've always just driven into the crowded parking lot, waited about five minutes for traffic to clear so I could actually get through, and then zoomed right out wondering why no one knows how to drive in Northern Virginia.  This time, I went for a pretty late lunch and the dining room and patio seating were still packed with people.  Thankfully, there was no line.

The other thing you notice besides the crowd is that it really is a no frills type of place.  I mean you hear about restaurants being no frills all the time but sometimes that's just code for trying to be hip.  Ray's has plastic patio chairs, cafeteria tables and paper signs.  Heck, the front signage is like a tarp with Ray's Hell Burger on it.  To me, this kind of approach is great if the food speaks for itself and I was about to find out if the burger lived up to the hype.

The menu gives you about 8 different choices for burgers or you can make your own.  They had all the usual suspects from a bacon, swiss cheese, and mushroom burger to peppercorn crust burger with blue cheese, mushrooms, and grilled onions.  You can order either a big devil (10 oz) or a little devil (1/3 of a pound).  I grew up metric but intuitively I went with the little devil size because I wanted a smaller burger.  I also felt like I wanted something different so I chose the Dogcatcher Burger.  What's that you say....


It's a burger with roasted bone marrow, persillade, lettuce, tomato and cheese.  The menu doesn't mention cheese but mine sure as hell had provolone or swiss on it.

Um, did I just say bone marrow.  Yes, I really did have good intentions about eating healthy earlier today.

F*ck yeah I did.  I expected the bone marrow to come already on top of the burger which had me perplexed since I couldn't figure out how it could come already garnishing the burger without it dissolving.  Au contraire mon frere.  They serve you the burger with just cheese and a toasted bun and then right beside it on a plate is a big ass piece of bone marrow still in bone sprinkled with seasoning and still glistening.  They had the lettuce and tomato on the side too but I didn't even glance at them and scooped out almost all the bone marrow and plopped it on the burger.  And by "almost all" I mean I ate a huge chunk of just bone marrow goodness all by itself.  The burger was rich on rich.  The bone marrow was roasted just enough for the fat to render and the juices to start oozing.  The burger was cooked just right to medium rare and the meat was flavorful and juicy with nice seasoning.  If I had one thing to nit pick, it's that I found myself wanting the bun to be more toasted.  But, that's a small nit.

I feel a little guilty about writing a post about Ray's Hell Burger after just one visit and I thought about going back to try one of their more traditional burgers but my expanding waistline and heart told me that one visit is enough for now and I won't be going back this week for sure.  I can tell you though that the burger itself was well cooked, juicy and delicious and I can see why the joint is so popular.  The bone marrow was ridiculously over the top for a burger but was also ridiculously good.  For some reason, I thought I'd be disappointed about all the hype.  It turns out that you probably can't hype it enough.

The Dogcatcher


  1. That has got to be among the most cholesterol I've seen in one place for the past few years. I wouldn't be surprised if there are more fats in there than any 2 or 3 menu items of our caterer sydney put together.

  2. That. Looks. So. GOOD!! We're hitting D.C. this weekend and Hell Burger is on the list of stops....

  3. I can see you enjoyed the bone marrow, while I, felt afraid because of the "glistening" marrow you mentioned. Is the place that big? Looking forward to visit this. The wide map on the wall caught my attention, pretty wise for marketing.


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