Best New Restaurants 2022: Ray Ray's Meat + Three

At this Granville spot, barbecue purist James Anderson and chef Bill Glover present a modern take on the Southern meat-and-three restaurant, featuring Ray Ray's smoked meats and scratch-made sides.

G.A. Benton
Three dishes from Ray Ray's Meat + Three: sausage, beans, coleslaw and Cheddar Cornbread Puddin'; Cuban sandwich; and chopped whole hog with mac'n'cheese, greens and German potato salad.

What do you get when the top local barbecue artist (James Anderson of Ray Ray’s Hog Pit) hooks up with a top local chef (Bill Glover, former executive chef at Hilton Columbus Downtown)? As Ray Ray’s Meat + Three demonstrates, you get a marriage made in hog heaven.

Make that “hawg” heaven—as in the outstanding Anderson Farms whole “hawg” offered at the small barbecue chain’s most ambitious place to date. Prepared with swine raised on Anderson’s Licking County farm, the long-smoldered whole hog meat is one of many game-changing reasons why this singular eatery has Columbusites making pilgrimages to Granville.

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Another reason: The handsome establishment is the area’s first standalone restaurant patterned after meat-and-three establishments popular in the South. At Ray Ray’s, ordering meat-and-three style means partnering a barbecue choice with three proprietary sides chosen from a buffet-line setup. It also means a great deal for a great meal in which the sides hold their own alongside marvelous smoked meats.

In addition to whole hog, there are flavor-bomb house-made sausages and top-notch ribs. Side stars include sweet-and-sour German potato salad, killer collard greens and perky coleslaw.

There’s so much more—like excellent sandwiches, great specials and, well, see you in Granville.

Mural outside Ray Ray's Meat + Three in Granville

Side Dishes

House Pour: Love Southern food and barbecue but find the beverage usually featured with them—sweet tea—pairs better with your dentist’s wallet than your palate? If so (guilty), you’ll find the Jimmy Ray—the house special cocktail of Nocterra Brewing’s fruited gose mixed with DankHouse Brewing’s IPA—refreshing on multiple levels.

’Wich Craft: The area’s best Cuban sandwich comes from this barbecue-centric eatery. Lusty smoked pork and serious ham—not flimsy deli stuff—join house pickles, brown mustard and Swiss in a bolillo roll that’s griddled and compressed until the cheese melts, the flattened bread becomes crunchy, and you have a stacked-and-smashed masterpiece.

Save Room: Cheffy desserts are another way Ray Ray’s separates itself from the Southern-cuisine and smoked-meat packs. While down-home treats are offered—various kinds of “puddin’” are regularly available—specials here can range from cake enhanced with lemon curd, candied pistachios and smoked meringue to s’mores-inspired, stout-spiked brownie trifles with salted tahini buttercream.

Ray Ray’s Meat + Three

1256 Columbus Road, Granville


This story is from the February 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.