Restau­ra­teur known for heart, hu­mor as big as por­tions he served

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By John Kelso jkelso@states­; 445-3606

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.

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