Celebrate the Legacy of Ray’s Co-owner Elizabeth Gingrich Sept. 25

Please join us at Ray’s Café on Tuesday, September 25 as we celebrate the legacy and contributions of our beloved co-owner Elizabeth Gingrich who recently passed.

We will be offering a special a la carte menu of her favorite Ray’s dishes, dessert and cocktail from 11:30am to 9pm in the Cafe.

All proceeds from Elizabeth’s menu on this date will be donated to MultiCare Hospice of Tacoma where she was president of the board for five years and instrumental in establishing the program. We can also accept monetary donations to the hospice in the form of checks. Ray’s will match 100% of donations from the day!

Ray’s alumni will receive 10% off their Cafe bill that day (discount excludes the special menu), and are encouraged to share stories about Elizabeth and bring photos of her!

Elizabeth Gingrich Menu
Dungeness Crab Salad
King Salmon
Mixed Nut Tart
Bombay Sapphire Martini

Reservations strongly recommended. Contact the Cafe at 206.789.3770 or online to reserve today.

Retired Ray’s Owner Elizabeth Gingrich Passes

elizabeth gingrich

We are extremely saddened by the passing of our longtime co-owner Elizabeth Gingrich, who died peacefully with her family by her side. She lived a long and beautiful life and we feel so lucky to have been a part of it. Elizabeth became an owner of Ray’s in 1975, and was also a bookkeeper here for a few years. She loved being at the restaurant and working side-by-side with the staff during that time.

Elizabeth was often behind the scenes at Ray’s but the impact she made during her years as an owner shaped the core values of what Ray’s embodies and is what continues to guide us today. She was the person who instilled Ray’s with the family atmosphere and it was very important to her that everyone who worked at Ray’s was treated like family. The legacy she created has been practiced and carried on ever since, and it is the sole reason we’ve had countless loyal team members with us for more than 20 years.

Elizabeth retired her ownership from Ray’s last year and we had a wonderful send off with her and her daughter Jane, reminiscing about all of the fond memories from the last 43 years! Elizabeth, you will be greatly missed and Ray’s is forever shaped by your vision, hard work and passion.

Thank you Phil Mottet & Elizabeth Gingrich!

Phil + Elizabeth
Elizabeth is second in on the left and Phil is to her left.

Throughout our history at Ray’s we have been blessed with an incredible ownership team and a hardworking staff. The servers, bussers, bartenders, hosts, cooks, and dishwashers are the foundation of who we are and make each day at Ray’s possible.

We want to recognize Phil Mottet, a server of 36 years, and thank him for his incredible hard work and dedication to Ray’s. You will be missed by all, Phil! Enjoy retirement!

We honor Elizabeth Gingrich, an owner of Ray’s since 1975, as she retires her role. Elizabeth spent 42 years helping to guide Ray’s and celebrate both the hard working team and the loyal guest with much enthusiasm. She was our book keeper for a few years and still speaks of how much she enjoyed being in touch with the day to day staff. Thank you for your unique vision, hard work and care, Elizabeth!!

Ray’s at the Copper River

Cordova Harbor
Ray’s team in the background of Cordova Harbor, Alaska.

Our team had the exciting opportunity to visit the Copper River in Cordova, Alaska this May for the start of the Copper River salmon fishing season! Our GM Douglas Zellers, one of our owners and Ray’s Founding Partner Russ Wohlers, Executive Chef Paul Duncan and Executive Sous Chef Steve Hauch spent a week delving into the ins and outs of the fishing industry, talking with multi-generational Cordova fishermen and exploring the gorgeous local scenery.

A big thank you to Ocean Beauty Seafoods who were wonderful hosts to our team! They enjoyed a flyover of the Copper River and a tour of their processing facility.

Here are some highlights and insights from Alaska by our team, and a short video by our Executive Sous Chef Steve Hauch of the first Copper River catch!

Protect Your Environment: “You’re not just buying fish, you’re buying the life of a fisherman – Bill Webber Jr., Fisherman. ” Being immersed in a community that is 99.9% dependent on fishing is an eye opener. These fisherman are dependent on catching enough fish to pay their mortgage or buy clothes for their children. There was a real sense of anxiety as 500+ boats left the harbor, an air of anticipation as the reports trickled back in, and disappointment as they unloaded what was a very small catch even for an opener. However, the captains we spoke with were optimistic and in it for the long haul. They know the fish will hit, they just don’t know when. But the immediate impact of not catching fish is real.

Fresh and Safe Fish:  Watching the entire process from an aerial flight over the fleet on the morning of the first opener, to watching the fish arrive via video at Rays in less than 18 hours was impressive.  When we say we have fresh fish – we really have fresh fish.  The Ocean Beauty supply chain was very well managed. The facilities and boats were all very clean and organized. The crews were all very friendly.  It is a symbiotic relationship, we need each other to perform well. After all, what is Copper River Salmon without the story or the restaurant guests who are willing to pay for quality fresh fish.

Time Tested yet Looking Forward:  Fishing in some fashion is as old as perhaps man himself.  Some boats, captains, and crew certainly looked that part. However, without leaving that salty realm, other captains are deeply immersed in innovation. On one of his walks Russ made conversation with a gentleman named Bill Webber Sr. who was mending his nets in a parking lot. Low and behold he was the fisherman that worked with Jon Rowley back in the late 70’s and he caught and transported the Copper River Salmon to Rays for the ‘big show and tell’ in the early 80’s.  As big as that state is, it still remains a close knit small community.

Bill Sr. Suggested we visit his sons boat “Paradigm Shift” and hear about the advances he is making in how the fish are cared for until they are delivered to your door. Bill Jr. gave us a short tour of his boat and explained some of the things that he is doing that should change the industry over time as people adopt them.  Bill Jr. is an independent fisherman who sells his own catch via his website.

He told a tale that sounds like one you may read in a book: He is the son of a man who has lived and fished in Cordova for 60 years, he has been fishing since he could see over the rail, his wife does the books, he builds boats and fishing gear. But Bill Jr. is taking it forward. He has bar code tags for each fish he catches that links that fish through the supply chain and directly connects it to his on board inventory management spreadsheets. He has innovated an intravenous pressure bleeding system that removes all blood from the fish in about 20 seconds thus dramatically stalling the onset of deterioration, and he is working with transportation companies to get the product to the destination faster.

If you read his website you will notice phrases like lead by examplechange the industry, and total quality.  This is similar to the shift that Bruce Gore created in the late 70’s when he pioneered frozen at sea. Once we had that product we never looked at frozen fish the same again, and it eventually became standard.  We can see the same thing happening with Bill Webber Jr.’s operation.

Tom Olsson Celebrates 20 Years at Ray’s!

Tom Olsson2005

 

Tom Olsson, Controller at Ray’s, started with us in 1995 as a banquet cook, he progressed to Chef Charles Ramsayers’ right hand man, and then to Food Purchaser. During his time as Food Purchaser he attended night school and earned an accounting certificate from City University of Seattle and was promoted to Controller.  Tom is an avid cyclist and competes in several local events including RAMROD.  He is a ‘retired’ race car driver and is currently Track Chief Driving Instructor at BMW CCA Puget Sound.

In Tom’s 20 year tenure he has seen many people, trends, and economic environments come and go. Tom has been instrumental in ensuring that Ray’s seafood restaurant has stayed the course and remained profitable, true to our brand, our guests, our team, and our purveyors. Thank you Tom for a great 20 years and all the best to you as we move forward together.

Cheers to you!

– Team Rays