My air conditioner wheezed as it attempted to combat the thick Central Florida air. Heat radiated off the black top in waves, and I watched a woman with an umbrella shuffle towards and unknown destination. Traffic on North Main Street was as sluggish as the breeze.
A collection of Osceola Sheriff’s deputies were parked in front of Ray’s Steaks & Subs. I watched as they filed out the front door with thin parcels wrapped in white butcher paper, and decided to follow their lead. Avoiding a taxi, I pulled into the small side parking hungry for lunch.
Ray’s is located at 708 N. Main Street and claimed to offer a “taste of Philly n Jersey.” I walked in and moved towards the front counter. Through a doorway I watched a large man with a backwards Phillies cap chop meat on a flat top with two large silver spatulas.
There was no question about what I was ordering, and I asked the smiling girl behind the counter for a cheese steak. She responded by holding up a large stick of bread. A large was the whole piece, while a regular was half of the loaf. I was torn and she chimed in that I should get the large with American cheese. I deferred to her recommendation and waited for my sandwich.
A racket from the kitchen announced my cheese steak was being prepared. Metal clacked on metal and I could hear the sizzle. Moments later the cashier walked to my table with the sub wrapped in white paper and a handful of napkins.
It had been years since I had a proper cheese steak, and I unwrapped the sandwich like an excited child on Christmas. The soft bread was split in half and half-full of steak draped in melted white American cheese. I took a bite. The steak was tender, juicy and drips fell onto the white paper. The American cheese paired with the meat perfectly, and the cheese steak was delicious. My only complaint is that I wished they had packed more meat into the bread.
I devoured half of the sandwich and nodded with approval when the cashier checked up on me. With a four plus hour ride ahead of me I wrapped the other half back up in the paper. When I arrived in Monticello that evening I half-heartedly offered a piece to the kids, then ate it for dinner.
Ray’s is open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. The restaurant can be found on Facebook, and contacted by telephone at (407) 530-5527.
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