12ozProphet Photo Of The Day: Last Call for the Original Ray's Pizza
Here is our 12ozProphet Photo of the Day. Today is the last day of business for the actual original Ray’s Pizza on Prince Street, which does not have either the word “original” or “famous” in its moniker. The closing is due to a complicated family real estate battle that resulted in lawsuits, and when the Ray in Ray’s, one of the owners of the building, died in 2008, a row arose over whether the restaurant’s lease was valid and whether it should pay rent.
The pizzeria was founded in 1959 by Ralph Cuomo, who also owned the building, and he named it Ray’s because he thought Ralph’s sounded “I don’t know, maybe too feminine.” Cuomo, who yes, had mob ties and spent time in prison, briefly expanded to a second outpost uptown in 1960 and the subsequent owner decided to keep the name. Other, unrelated Ray’s popped up after that.
The 79 year-old manager of Ray’s and a cousin of Ralph’s, Helen Mistretta, is looking for a new restaurant space for the business.