Ray's Pizza, and its many variations such as "Ray's Original Pizza", "Famous Ray's Pizza" and "World-Famous Original Ray's Pizza", are the names of dozens of pizzerias in the New York City area that are generally completely independent (a few have multiple locations) but may have similar menus, signs, and logos.
Ralph Cuomo opened the first Ray's Pizza, at 27 Prince Street in Little Italy, in 1959, named after his nickname "Raffie". In the 1960s he briefly owned a second Ray's Pizza, but sold it to Rosolino Mangano in 1964. Mangano kept the name and later falsely claimed that his was the first. In 1973, Mario Di Rienzo named his new pizzeria Ray's Pizza (which is now closed) after, he claimed, the nickname for his family in Italy. Also that year, Joseph Bari purchased a pizzeria from Mangano and renamed it, and several others, as Ray Bari Pizza. By 1991, dozens of pizzerias in New York City had "Ray's" in their name, as well as those in other American states and Teheran, Iran.
In 1981, Gary Esposito purchased a pizzeria from Mangano. After opening several more "Original Ray's" restaurants, he partnered with Cuomo and Mangano to combine independent "Ray's" restaurants into an official franchise chain. As of 2011[update] there were at least 49 restaurants by some variant of that name in the New York City telephone directory, including one named Not Ray's Pizza.
The first Ray's Pizza closed its doors on Sunday, October 30, 2011, following a legal dispute over rent and a lease that followed its owner’s death in 2008. It has since reopened as The Famous Roio's Pizza.
- Tierney, John (March 25, 1991). "In a Pizza War, It's 3 Rays Against the Rest". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
- Wilson, Michael (September 17, 2011). "Ray’s Pizza, the First of Many, Counts Down to Its Last Slice". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
- Lurio, Eric (May 11, 2009). "Fifty Years: The Legend of Ray's Pizza". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
- "Pizza ray" in the New York, NY area YellowPages.com
- Wilson, Michael (October 24, 2011). "Ray's Pizza, ‘the' Ray's Pizza, Will Close on Sunday". The New York Times.
- Swalec, Andrea (December 5, 2011). "Famous Ray's Pizza in Village to Be Taken Over By Another Ray's". DNA Info.
- Official website
- "The Next Big Thing: Cats, Dogs and...Pizza (December 15, 2002)". WNYC. December 15, 2002. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
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