Restaurateur known for heart, humor as big as portions he served
Restaurateur Ray LeMay — a huge man with a sense of humor to match who once agreed that the three basic food groups were meat, gravy and cocktails — died Thursday night at Georgetown Hospital. He was 59.
LeMay opened Ray’s Steakhouse at 3010 Guadalupe St. in 1999 and kept it hopping for 4½ years.
Born Raymond George LeMay Jr., LeMay joked about his weight.
The 6-foot-4-inch LeMay weighed 380 to 400 pounds and once ran a promotion at his restaurant giving extra food to the hefty. He bought some fancy glass scales and kept them in the restaurant. LeMay used the scales to weigh men who wanted to play along.
Guys who weighed 250 and up could get a double-size chicken-fried steak or prime rib for the price of a single size, two kabobs for the price of one or a free baked potato. Women got the same deal if they weighed 200 pounds or more.
But LeMay never weighed the women, said Raymond George LeMay III, his son and the restaurant’s general manager.
“The women, he would never ask them to jump on the scale, but he’d just take their word for it,” LeMay III recalled.
Ray LeMay would take pictures of the people he weighed and post them on a bulletin board toward the back of the restaurant.
Ray’s Steakhouse was known for its extra large serving sizes, including a 41-ounce T-bone. LeMay III said University of Texas football strength coach Jeff “Mad Dog” Madden would come in and eat two of the 41ounce steaks.
LeMay III said his father loved football. He had been an offensive lineman in high school out in California.
“He always used to challenge any of the football players that came in,” LeMay III said. One day his dad “got down in a three-point stance” and ended up “blowing through” a player and knocking over a table.
Before owning Ray’s Steakhouse, LeMay did catering and concessions for Erwin Center for nearly 20 years, LeMay III said. “He said, ‘It’s all about the food.’ That was his big thing.”
LeMay once claimed to have eaten eight plates of ahi tuna and a gallon of soy sauce.
“The sashimi meister had to go to the hospital after that, he was working so fast,” LeMay quipped.
Services for LeMay are set for 10 a.m. today at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Corn Hill, near Walburg in Williamson County.
He is survived by his wife, Susan LeMay; son Raymond George LeMay III of Monrovia, Calif.; sisters Maureen Urban of Buena Park, Calif., and Patricia Dragovich of Round Rock; and brother Michael LeMay of Garden Ridge.
Ray LeMay Once ran a steakhouse promotion giving hefty diners free extra food.